Helleborus niger ‘Double’ has amazing, double pure white, bowl-shaped double flowers from January to February, occasionally earlier and clumps of leathery, dark green leaves. This pretty Christmas Rose looks great planted in bold groups towards the front of a partially shady mixed border. Although it prefers a heavy, neutral to alkaline soil, once established it will tolerate drier conditions.
In its natural habitat Helleborus niger enjoys well-drained conditions in limestone soil but with ample moisture during spring. Such conditions partly explain why Helleborus niger looks so wonderful in the wild but can at times be less than magnificent in the garden. Still, it is a worthy garden plant and is one of the showiest of all hellebores, even more so in this form.
Helleborus niger ‘Double’ likes evenly moist, yet perfectly drained soil and dislikes soggy or over-wet conditions. Once established, it is extremely tolerant of drought and indeed prefers it to being over watered. Best flowering occurs in light and not heavy shade. A woodland edge is a good situation. The large leathery-looking, evergreen foliage persists throughout the year but should be cut back in the spring, just before the flowers and new foliage emerge. This will help to prevent the spread of unsightly fungal diseases. Add lots of well-rotted leaf mould or organic matter to the planting hole. Apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted organic matter around the base of the plant in autumn and provide atop-dressing of general fertiliser each spring.
Uses: Provides valuable winter interest. Produces winter flowers.Christmas Roses are best planted near to where you pass frequently in winter and where they will not be overwhelmed by nearby plantings. Perhaps the best companions for Helleborus niger are bulbs such as Snowdrops, Scillas, Crocus tomassinianus and Winter Aconites. Cyclamen coum is ideal, flowering at the same time in mid-winter and all associate well on chalky soils.
Pruning \ Aftercare : Remove faded flowers. Remove old foliage in January.