The Christmas Rose…Helleborus niger

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Helleborus niger growing

It seems very appropriate this month for my blog post to feature the Christmas Rose. Admittedly, it doesn’t always bloom on December 25th, but if you have been organised and bought one a few weeks ago from a garden centre and kept in a warm room, you may be in luck!

Helleborus niger closeup

And it isn’t a rose…it’s a Hellebore. Its Latin name is Helleborous niger, which is a little confusing as the flower is white and ‘niger’ means black or dark.  However, this evergreen perennial plant has black roots which accounts for its name…

Helleborus niger in dark

Its large cup-shaped blooms with golden stamens generally appear in winter and early spring.  They appear at the top of the plant’s fleshy brown stem, which is similar to that of a cyclamen. They generally like to be grow in light shade in a sheltered spot and in well-drained soil. Be aware that Christmas roses do need protection from snails and slugs, as they’re rather partial to the buds.


As well as being a popular garden plant, Helleborous niger  is also used as a cut flower in floristry, for the limited season that it’s available. And as cut flowers, they’re long-lasting and would be perfect for a winter wedding.

Helleborus niger for winter wedding

As an aside, did you know that in the language of flowers, Helleborous niger means ‘tranquilise’ and ‘you relieve my anxiety’. P.S. If you’d like to grow a Christmas Rose, they’re available on Sarah’s website.

(Images : Flickr  - Ghita Katz Olsen, chrsjc, Kevsexotics, Dietmut, Dietmut)

Thanks for reading!