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The winter blooming perennial Christmas rose is a popular plant to use in holiday decorations.
The Helleborus niger, commonly known as Christmas rose or Black hellebore, is actually an outdoor perennial and can be fairly difficult to keep as an indoor houseplant. It's generally found in mountainous regions of central and southern Europe. You might find wild varieties in Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia and Italy.
This plant is easily grown as a perennial in your garden or in containers in USDA zones 3-8. If kept outdoors in containers they will be more sensitive to freezing and might not survive the winter in colder climates. If it's going to get too cold, you can provide them some overwintering care or just treat it as an annual plant. They are also very popular as indoor holiday decorations. Even though they prefer to be grown outdoors in the long term, they can be temporarily grown indoors as part of your Holiday decor.
These plants have glossy, dark evergreen leaves and big white flowers with a yellow center. They flower mainly during the winter months.
- Even though they are called Christmas Rose they aren't related to roses at all. They actually belong to the family Ranunculaceae where you can also find Windflowers and Anemones.
As mentioned earlier the Christmas rose prefers to be grown outdoors. If you want to grow yours indoors you can scroll down to the next section for indoor care tips.
The Christmas rose prefers a fertile and well draining soil. Adding some coarse sand and compost to your potting or garden soil can be very helpful to maintain healthy roots. Keep the plant evenly moist and never allow it to dry out completely. If your plant is exposed to drought it will start to droop immediately.
Growing your Christmas rose in a well draining soil will reduce the risk of overwatering the plant.
Christmas roses thrive in semi-shaded locations and need a lot of bright but indirect light. They're perfect for woodlands or semi-shaded balconies.
With good care throughout the warm seasons, they will eventually flower during the end of winter and beginning of spring. Because it blooms so early, the Helleborus niger is very valuable for pollinators. It is also rabbit and deer-resistant.
After flowering, this plant will produce seeds and can slowly spread by self-seeding. If you don't want it to spread, you can deadhead the spent flowers by cutting them down to the base of the plant.
It's important to note that these plants can only be grown indoors temporarily. You'll have to decide if you'll toss the plant or plant it outdoors in the end. Because they'll slowly decline, they'll be more like a long lasting bouquet of cut flowers. If you want to be able to grow it as an outdoor perennial later on, you'll need to minimize the period you have it indoors to ensure that it'll kept healthy enough to plant out.
Until then here's how to care for it to make it last for as long as possible:
Start by choosing a healthy plant with lots of buds. If the plant has a lot of roots that have started to grow out of the drainage holes it might be wise to repot it into a slightly larger pot.
- Some also enjoy using Christmas roses in mixed holiday arrangements together with other wintry plants. Just make sure the plants you choose have somewhat similar watering needs so you don't end up over or under watering any of the plants in the container.
Place it in a bright spot with plenty of light and water it so the soil is kept evenly moist. If possible you should try to place it in a cooler spot. Another option is to move it to a cooler spot during the nights to promote a longer flowering period and healthier plant. Just make sure the temperature difference isn't too drastic.
They like higher humidity so misting the plant carefully can also be a good option to keep your Christmas rose happier indoors.
Sometimes their leaves can start to yellow when they are kept indoors. This is totally natural and you can just trim them off the plant as they start to get discolored. As the flowers die back, deadhead the spent blooms to keep your plant looking clean and tidy.