Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 6:23 PM by Newark Ohio Garden Club

Hellebores are a group of several species (20 plus) of the family Helleborus an evergreen perennial flowering plant of the family Ranunculaceae (buttercup family). Most are poisonous, and some people need to take extra care when handling the roots of the plant due to the allergic reaction to the sap. The word hellebores may derive from the Greek “helein” which means “kill”, and “bore” which means “food” or “food that kills”. This family of plants is not related to the rose.

Otherwise, the plant has many wonderful attributes. It is deer resistant, has evergreen foliage (although a few are deciduous), and is extremely hardy and long-lived once established, with few pests or diseases. It blooms when few other plant are in bloom. Which for Helleborus niger is as early as Halloween, or as late a Valentine’s Day, depending on weather, planting zone, or the location and soil where it is planted? It is most often called the Christmas rose, snow rose, or black hellebore. Although hard to find and to get established, the old white-blooming Hellebores niger can still be found and ordered online at certain times of the year. It is a species Alpine plant somewhat harder to permanently establish. Make sure it is a plant you are ordering not seeds … unless you want to start from seed.




Helleborus orientalis is in bloom from mid-February to late-April. Both Hellebores orientalis and H. X hybridus are referred to as the Lenten rose. Planting several different varieties and hybrids can extent the bloom time for several months. Who is to say you cannot cut a bouquet of fresh flowers from the garden, in the dead of winter, when snow is on the ground? Finding some of the species varieties even online can be very hard.


Most varieties of Hellebores in today’s garden centers are actually Helleborus X hybridus they are hybrid crosses created from several species. Many are mass produced via tissue culture. They come in a wide range of bloom color; some have double blooms. Individual blooms can last on the plant for up to a month. Foliage can vary from wide palmate to very narrow lancelet, in various shades of green from dark to almost lime/yellow, and some foliage can be spotted or striped. Some are grown not for their bloom, but for their interesting seed pod.
Hellebores are originally native to England and Europe as far south as Spain, Portugal, and Corsica and as far east as the Balkans and Turkey. Helleborus thibetanus is native to China. In history, the hellebores have been associated with having medicinal qualities, with witchcraft, and with Christmas legends in ancient times it was referred to as Christ’s herb. In some old French stories ancient French sorcerers thought they could make themselves invisible by sprinkling hellebore dust in the air where they walked.
Hellebores are great additions to the semi-shade garden. They adapt well as a ground cover under dappled shade trees or shrubbery edges where they get some shade, or on the north side of a building that gets some morning or afternoon summer sun, where they will get bright light. They do not like
dense shade but do not want long periods of sun especially during the summer they do require more sun or bright light during the winter months from November to January.
I would suggest wearing gloves when planting hellebores. They have fleshy, tuberous, roots which spread by rhizomes. The sap can cause itching.

They can be grown in good friable garden soil, a few varieties prefer a rich loamy soil of part peat, part composted material, or well composted manure. A well-drained soil base with plenty of organic matter would be the best description of the ideal planting site. They do not like stagnant wet roots, but they do need moisture especially for the first year or two until they are established. If you buy a plant that is root-bound, try soaking the excess dirt from the root ball in a pail of water. So, the roots can be separated and not be planted in a clump.
It takes a non-mature seedling plant about 3 years to produce blooms. The best time to divide, separate and transplant is in July.

Posted on January 10th, 2012 at 7:26 PM by Newark Ohio Garden Club

Those of us with houseplants feed our need to be gardening during the cold, winter months, right?  Being aware of natural changes in the plant’s environment will aid us in achieving peace and tranquility as we wait for spring!

Since the angle between the earth and sun changes during winter, so might the need for our plants to change positions. Some may need to be closer to a window. That pleases plants and keeps us excited as we watch them flourish!

Winter plant life is somewhat like a bear hibernating. He sleeps for long hours and as he sleeps some body functions still occur. Plants like to rest, also.  Less fertilizer is needed in the winter months. (Remember, placement of the plants nearer a light source is needed if you usually place them farther away from light.)

Be alert to avoid placing plants near hot air vents, cold drafts and radiators.  Home daytime temperature range of 65-75 is favorable. Our green friends like 60-65 degrees at night. Some plants tolerate less heat, but less than 50 may cause damage.

Be sure placement of plants does not interfere with closing of drapes or other window treatments.

40-50% humidity is ideal. In our homes, however, many times it’s only 10-20%. Not to worry. If we group plants closer together, they benefit from evaporation of potting soil and transpiration of water from one another’s leaves.  If there is room, place plants in a saucer with tiny gravel or rock and add water. Viola, instant humidity.  Household humidifiers are also helpful.

While some people love misting, it does little good.  Plants would need misting several times a day to raise humidity to desired levels.

Most houseplants should be watered when the soil is barely moist or almost dry to the touch. Know your plants. Ferns require more than succulents.

When watering , do it thoroughly. Water should freely drain out of the bottoms of the pots. If excess water drains into saucers, discard the water and replace the saucer beneath the pot.

If you would like a visual tutorial, click on the YouTube link –

Carolyn Hearing

February 11

Posted on February 11th, 2011 at 10:02 AM by Newark Ohio Garden Club

The Cyclamen is a small plant that has sweet scented, small (1/2 to ¾ inch) flowers  on long stems.  The flowers can be pink, red or white.  It is a tuberous perennial with heart shaped leaves.  When in flower, the entire plant is only about 8 inches high.

Plant the Cyclamen in a good soil-based potting mix with the top of the tuber just above the soil line. Put the pot in bright light but not in direct sunlight. Cyclamen do not like heat but should not be exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees F.  Keep the plant out of drafts and hot, dry air.

While leaves are present keep the soil moist at all times. During this stage the plant can be fertilized with a high phosphorus fertilizer.

Cyclamen go dormant for the summer.  By April the plant begins losing leaves and flowers. Stop watering when the leaves turn yellow and wither. Allow the soil to dry out.  Remove dead flowers and leaves. Water sparingly during the dormant stage Excess water will cause the tuber to rot and may trigger new growth prematurely. During this stage it can be repotted using fresh potting soil and a pot one inch larger in diameter than the existing pot.

Begin watering again around September. With proper care your Cyclamen should last year after year.

Follow these steps to make your cut flowers last as long as possible.

1. Be sure that the vase for your cut flowers, as well as the scissors or sharp knife used to cut the stems, are clean.  Wash them in warm water with dish soap and bleach.  Use a solution of 9 parts water to one part bleach.  Be sure to rinse thoroughly.

2. Re-cut the stems of the flowers on a slant approximately 1” from the bottom of the stem or any length that is appropriate for the vase that will hold your flowers.  This will allow the stem to take in more water.  Make this cut while the stem is under water.  Use a bowl or your kitchen sink to do this.

3. Remove any leaves that will be under water in the vase.

4. Keep flowers as cool as possible, away from direct sunlight, drafts, air-conditioning vents and heaters.

5. It is a good idea to change the water in the vase every two days and make fresh slanted cuts on the stem of your flowers.  When you change the water be sure to clean the vase and scissors or sharp knife as indicated in step #1.

6. Remove any dead stems, leaves or flowers.

Posted on December 14th, 2010 at 7:28 AM by Newark Ohio Garden Club

Some tips on keeping your new pointsettia healthy and beautiful:

Remember that pointsettias are a tropical plant. If purchasing your pointsettia on a frigid day, remember to protect your plant from the cold by covering it well with paper or plastic, and getting it home as soon as possible.

LIGHT: Once home, place the pointsettia near a sunny window. As a tropical plant, your pointsettia will appreciate as much sunlight as possible. A south, east or west facing windows is preferable to a north facing window.

HEAT : Maintain a temperature of 65-75 degrees to keep the pointsettia in bloom as long as possible.  Dropping the temperature to about 60 degrees at night will not harm your plant. Keep your plant out of cold drafts. Be sure that the leaves of your plant do not touch a cold window.  Temperatures that are too cold or cold drafts can cause your plant’s leaves to drop prematurely.

WATER: Water your pointsettia whenever the surface feels dry to the touch. Water until it drains from the bottom but do not let your plant sit in water.  If your home is very dry in the winter, you may need to water frequently, possibly every day.

Keeping your pointsettia for next Christmas:

Your plant should provide beautiful color during this holiday season and hopefully into the winter. If you are interested in learning all the exacting steps necessary to care for your pointsettia  over the year so that it will be-bloom next December, refer to a website such as ; the garden/a/Pointsettia.htm

November 28

DECEMBER Garden Tips
Posted on November 28th, 2010 at 9:08 PM by Newark Ohio Garden Club

Holiday flowers and plants add festive beauty to our homes, but some pose danger to household pets. You may want to avoid the following plants
in your home and avoid giving these plants as gifts to family and friends who own a cat or dog .

Remember if pets ingest bulb plants, they may become severely ill or even die. The following lists plants to avoid if you have cats or dogs:

1. Holly -this plant commonly found at Christmas time can cause intense vomiting and diarrhea. Mental depression may also occur.

2. Amaryllis-pets ingesting this plant can have vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lack of appetite, tremors, drooling, and abdominal pain.

3. Mistletoe -This plant found in many homes at holiday time can also cause significant vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, pets eating mistletoe may have difficulty breathing, and slowed heart rate. The pet may collapse. If enough is eaten, the mistletoe may cause death.

Avoiding these holiday plants may save heartbreak. If your pet does ingest holly, amaryllis or mistletoe, call your vet .