Hellebore growing tips from Walters Gardens

Helleborus are amazing plants with a long season of spring bloom and evergreen foliage. Unfortunately, they are notoriously temperamental growers, frustrating many growers. These troublesome young plants grow up to be a pretty hardy, low maintenance, and long lived perennial. The challenge for growers is to get them started on the right path. Here are a few things Walters Gardens have learned.

A Hellebore’s first season of growth is the most vital in its development. In their first season, you may see some yellowing (or chlorosis) of the foliage. This doesn’t necessarily mean the plant is unhealthy, but it is an indicator the crop could use a little help. Walters have found the best ways to combat yellowing is with additional iron sprays and higher PPM Nitrogen and Iron drenches. You may have to make an Iron sprays every 2-3 weeks, which typically takes a further 2-3 weeks to see results after spray application. In their second season, chlorosis is much less of an issue.

Another step you can take is to look into the quality of your water. The minerals found in water are very important for plant growth. For example, Walters' water tends to be lower in calcium and magnesium, and they compensate this by using fertilizers that get them to the ideal range for Hellebores for these two elements. They recommend having your water tested and get further advice on how to treat your crops.

When the Hellebores are emerging in late winter/early spring, Hellebores are feeding heavily, so Walters recommend utilizing about 200 ppm Nitrogen every 2-3 weeks or at a lower PPM if you are continuously injecting. During the summer months, these plants are much less active, so you may want to cut fertilizer rates or even stop them altogether.

Walters recommend a low pH around 5.8-6.2 and an EC of 1.5-2.0 using the pour-through method.

Diseases like Botrytis, crown and root rot can become a concern as these plants like to be moist but not wet. Keep your plants well-spaced and the humidity low to ensure a healthy crop.

For more information:
Walters Gardens
P.O. Box 137
Zeeland, MI 49464
Phone: 888-925-8377
Fax: 800-752-1879

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