Elleboro - Helleborus

Elleboro - Helleborus

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Hellebores in the garden

It is also called Christmas Rose, because the Iheborus blossoms between December and February, as soon as warm days occur during the winter. In reality it is not a rose, but a genus that counts about 25-30 species of perennials, some with an evergreen leaf. The foliage is vigorous, consisting of large palmate leaves, composed of oval segments, dark green; during the late winter months it produces thin, fleshy stems that carry single or cluster flowers, very large, which resemble the flowers of the dog rose; the colors of the hesheborus are generally white and purple, but there are varieties of flowers that are delicately pink, green and cream.
They are plants that can be easily found even in nature, often on the edges of hilly forests, in partially shady and quite humid areas, often on the bed of small seasonal waterways; they can be successfully grown in the garden as long as you follow their needs.

Cultivation techniques

Hellebores are half-shade plants, or complete shade in the hottest areas of the peninsula and during the summer; in general we tend to place them in a place where the foot of the plant is sheltered, while the aerial part is exposed to the sun; in this way the root system does not suffer the summer drought and enjoys almost always fresh and often moist soil.
Watering must be regular, so that the soil is always quite humid, so water is supplied regularly from March to October, then the frequency of watering is reduced during the cold and rainy months; It is however good to watch out that the ground never remains excessively dry for prolonged periods of time, since the hellebores develop especially during the autumn and winter months. In any case, even spring and summer watering are important, because even if not in bloom during the warm months the hellebores produce a lot of foliage, forming small decorative bushes.
They are grown in the common garden soil, lightened with pumice stone and enriched with manure or granular fertilizer; to improve the mixture of the soil and make it soft, before planting a hellebore, let's remember to work the substratum well, mixing also universal soil. Generally a couple of interventions a year with slow release granular fertilizer can supply all the mineral substances necessary for the development of the plant.

The hellebore flowers

Iheborus is also used as a cut flower; given the winter flowering it often happens that the flowers are ruined by the weather; It is therefore advisable to take the flowers when they are still in bud, with the petals intact. They are flowers that are easily seen in the gray winter forest, and often in large numbers, it is advisable to grow them in the garden if you want to enjoy the flowers, leaving in their place the wild hellebores.

Elleboro - Helleborus: The hellebore in herbal medicine

All parts of the plant, including the roots, contain alkaloids that make the plant very toxic, eg to humans and animals; these are highly irritating substances if applied locally, but if ingested they have a strong cardiotonic action, similar to that of digitalis. For centuries these properties of the hellebore have been exploited in herbal medicine, where the hellebore is used as a cardiotonic and as a powerful purgative. In general, there are no problems for those who wish to harvest a hellebore flower, although it is advisable to do so by wearing gloves; at the same time cultivating hellebores in the garden is not dangerous, as the foliage does not have a pleasant taste, and therefore it is very difficult for people or animals to be pushed to consume them.