Virtues: Winter Sunshine hellebores are a great garden plant because they offer flowers in late winter. Unlike many hellebores they flower in their first year of growth. Their flowers face outward rather than drooping down, so you can easily see their ivory faces as well as their pinkish backs. Marketed as a rival to Ivory Prince hellebore for its pure coloration, out-facing flowers, flower size and vigor in growth.
Common name: Winter Sunshine hellebore
Botanical name: Helleborus xericsmithii Winter Sunshine
Flowers: Dark purple stems support 3- to 4-inch wide flowers over a period of months beginning in late winter. Flower buds are purple; open flowers have white to ivory faces with some green freckling and mauve to rose backs. The stems are strongly upright and the flowers do not droop. As the flowers age they turn pink to rose.
Foliage: Circular groups of thick, dark green leaves held by purple stems. Evergreen.
Habit: Mounding evergreen perennial, 12 to 16 inches tall and 18 inches wide.
Season: Year-round for foliage and late winter to early spring for flowers.
Origin: Bred by Roger Harvey of Great Britain.
How to grow Winter Sunshine hellebore: Plant hellebores in full to part shade, in average to rich soil. Keep them watered for their first year, but thereafter they should withstand some drought. Remove any tattered, old leaves in fall, before flower buds appear, so they won’t detract from the floral display. USDA Zones 4–9.
Image courtesy of PerennialResource.com.
Find shade-tolerant, early-blooming bulbs to plant as companions for hellebores in Bulbs for Garden Habitats.
Master the maintenance of hellebores and more with The Well-Tended Perennial Garden.
Find more great plants for the shade, including plants that take dry shade, in Top Ten Lists for Beautiful Shade Gardens.