During winter, most plants go into a dormant phase and will not be seen again until spring or summer. A beautiful pink flower that does bloom in winter is the Helleborus orientalis or the Lenten rose. This winter-blooming perennial adds a soft touch of color among a stark, winter landscape.
The Lenten rose is a herbaceous perennial and is a member of the buttercup family. It is considered to be evergreen in some climates and planting zones. This plant blooms in winter and early spring and will even display beautiful blooms through a bed of snow.
The leaves of the Lenten rose are dark green, shiny and have the appearance of leather--making this flower very attractive. The leaves are compound and large, reaching up to 18 inches in length and 16 inches wide.
The flowers are small--approximately 2 to 3 inches in diameter--and resemble a rose. The petals may be white or a pale green with a soft pink or purple tinge. Certain varieties may be pink, rose or purple in color.
Lenten rose can be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 to 9 and are considered evergreen plants in zones 6 to 9. Lenten rose should be planted in rich, loose, moist but well-drained soil. This plant can adapt to a drier location. Lenten rose prefers heavy to light shade.
Propagation of Lenten rose is by division, with plants being divided and moved in the late summer or fall. A slow-growing plant, the Lenten rose does not like being disturbed or transplanted and will take time recovering from a move. This plant can be grown from seed but the seedlings can take as long as three years to bloom.
Where to Plant
Lenten rose plants add soft and subtle touches of color throughout the season with the dark, vibrant green of the leaves. In the winter, when the flowers bloom, this plant will add a spot of color to a dormant garden or yard. Lenten rose can be planted in a hosta bed for a pleasant array of color, texture and visual interest. Plant Lenten rose in the moist soil surrounding garden ponds for variety. Combine Lenten rose with ferns and other shade plants for borders, shade beds or woodland beds and gardens.
Lenten rose is easy to grow and the blooms are long-lasting and hold their color and beauty even as they fade. Blooms can last for as long as two months. This plant is usually not bothered by pests. The leaves, stems, roots and flowers are highly toxic if ingested. Pets and children should be kept away from Lenten rose because of its toxicity.