Hellebore Red Lady
Helleborus x hybridus 'Red Lady'
Earning the Perennial Plant of the Year award in 2005, this Gisela Schmiemann innovation is renown for its outward facing dusky reddish violet flowers. The alluring dark blooms, heightened by spry light-colored stamens, are clustered above a glossy evergreen bed of thick, toothed and segmented dark green leaves.
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Hellebore Red Lady is one of a number of seed strain hybrid hellebores (known as the Lady series) developed by Gisela Schmiemann of Cologne, Germany (see also H. x hybridus ‘White Lady’). It is a bushy, clump-forming perennial that typically grows to 14-18” tall and is noted for its glossy, leathery, evergreen, dark green leaves and its late winter to early spring bloom of burgundy red flowers. Evergreen leaves are deeply lobed and divided into 7-10, narrow, lance-shaped to elliptic, usually-toothed segments. Hellebore red Lady has Cup-shaped, burgundy red flowers (to 2-3” diameter) with overlapping petals bloom at the tips of leafy stems from late winter to mid-spring.
Easily grown in organically rich, fertile, humusy, alkaline, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers light to moderate shade. Although the foliage is evergreen, it may become scorched and tattered in extremely harsh winters, particularly if not sited in locations protected from cold winter winds and/or insulated by snow cover. Cut back flowering stems after bloom to promote new foliage growth. Established plants that become congested may be divided in late summer to early fall. Hybrid hellebores are often grown from seed (some come true and some don’t), but plants will take two years to bloom when grown from seed.
Hybrid hellebores, sometimes commonly called hybrid Lenten roses or hybrid winter roses, are bushy, clump-forming perennials which typically grow to 12-15” tall. They are noted for producing single, cup-shaped flowers (typically 2-3” diameter) with five showy, usually overlapping petals (technically sepals), but sometimes come in a double flowered form. Flowers bloom in a large variety of colors, including various shades and tints of white, pink, red, purple, and yellow, and sometimes have inside spotting. Bloom typically commences in mid to late winter extending into early spring. Flowers appear at the tips of branched stems clad with evergreen dark green leaves which are divided into glossy, leathery, deeply-lobed, often toothed, lanceolate to elliptic segments.
Genus name comes from the Greek words bora meaning food and helein meaning injures/destroys in reference to the plant’s toxic leaves, stems and roots which are poisonous to humans if ingested.