Tuesday 8 April 2014

Are these Hellebores?

This time last year, a blogging friend (Elaine from "Ramblings at Rosebank") kindly gave me some seeds from a beautiful Hellebore plant whose deep purple flowers I had admired. I sowed half of the seeds in two little pots and kept them indoors hoping they would germinate. After several months had elapsed without any sign of seedlings emerging, I lost patience and gave up. I tipped the compost from the pots onto my flower border. It was only later that someone told me that Hellebore seeds require vernalization before they will germinate! That first batch of seeds had been sown in the Spring and was discarded in the Autumn, so it had never experienced any cold weather.

Now the good news. I think some of the seeds from the discarded pots have germinated! I'm not sure, but I think these might be Hellebore seedlings:

There were six seeds in the discarded batch. At present I see only two seedlings that appear to be likely candidates for Hellebores, but they are in just the place where I tipped out those two pots last Autumn

What do you think? Can anyone give me a positive identification?

Meanwhile, having appreciated the requirement for vernalization, I sowed the other Hellebore seeds in a terracotta pot and put them out in the garden to take their chances.

No sign of any germination yet, but now I'm hopeful of a good result.

Thanks, Elaine! (I hope you read this).


  1. They look like it to me, but I'm not expert on hellebores.

  2. Mark. I've just looked at the ones self seeding at the top of my garden.
    The seed leaves on yours seem quite large compared to the true leaves so perhaps you'll get a better idea in another week or two?

    It must be time for some serious sowing as the weeds are starting to grow!

  3. I'm hopeless at recognising seedlings. I must have weeded all sorts of things out of my garden just because I don't know what they are at such an early stage.

  4. I would say 'yes' to the one on the first photo. The first pair of leaves (cotyledon) looks the same in almost all plants, wait for the true leaves and see what it is. I too have plenty of Helleborus seedlings in my garden. I have planted some of them in pots and will get them back when I finish tiding up the beds.

  5. Now the first true leaves have appeared I would say yes definitely - I remember telling you at the time that mine took two years to germinate - you naughty boy - fancy tipping them out. Good luck with the next batch.

    1. Yes, sorry, Elaine, I was too impatient! I think you only told me about the long germination period after the deed had been done though. Nonetheless, I'm really glad these seeds have germinated, and I look forward to having some beautiful Hellebores like yours.

  6. Ahh, now you mention it.... is that what I have coming up, not far from one of my hellebores? I saw something coming up that I wasn't too sure about so have potted one of them up to see what it grows into. So, even if yours isn't hellebore, you have given me food for thought!
    (I think yours probably are hellbores though - too much of a coincidence that they are coming up where you chucked the seeds)


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