May 10, 2012

Red Hellebore 'Velvet Lips'

My two year old 'Velvet Lips' hellebore from Heronswood has been lovely this year. Eventually it will grow to about 2 feet tall and wide, and it's very happy in mostly shady conditions.

The flower stalks emerged in early spring like hydra heads on deep maroon stalks. Although the leaves are evergreen, by this point last year's set were looking ratty and had been cut off.

Wine-red buds began to show at the tips . . .

. . . and were especially pretty when backlit by the morning sun.

The flowers opened over the next month.

As they aged, the blooms lightened to a rose color and the leaves lost their reddish coloring.

The flowers look down at an angle. This keeps nasty spring weather from damaging the reproductive parts.

After over a month in bloom, the flowers are now turning greenish.

A few of them are producing seed pods. The seedlings may or may not look similar to the parent plant.

New leaves are stretching out and will last through most of next winter here in zone 5.

Since I'm too impatient to wait until summer to take new pictures, I'll end with this photo from last year of mature leaves. Both leaves and flowers are attractive on this great plant for shade.


  1. I'd love to get that one! I finally have a spot of shade where I think hellebores can be grown.

  2. What a beauty. Love the backlit photos-- that red just shines.

  3. You just have to love the name 'Velvet Lips', and it really does describe the flower's look. This was one of the best selling hellebores at my nursery this spring, and I specialize in hellebores and sell a wide selection. You did a great job of profiling it.

  4. Just Beautifully portrayed!! gorgeous photo of one of my all time favorite flowers and plant. Your images are dancing off the screen.

  5. Hi VW,

    Beautiful photos! And a very nice Hellebore too! :D

    I'm amazed that some of mine are still blooming, it must be all the rain we've had for the past month and cool temperatures. Although I can't really complain! Hellebores in May??! Who'd have thought it! I've had these blooming since March? February??!!


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