Using Hellebore for cut flowers

Curlew Country farm - Hellebore detail

Hellebore's are such lovely late winter flowering plants with delicate long lasting flowers that can last up to ten days.  They are available in many colours, including, white, pink, yellow and black. 

Hellebore are perennial plants belonging to the family Ranunculaceae and are native to Europe and Asia.

Curlew Country Farm - Hellebore

Growing

If you are interested in buying and growing hellebore's in Australia,  the post office farm nursery is a good place to start. 

Cutting

We pick our Hellebore's with and without stamens and find that they usually hold well when conditioned in cool water with flower food but sometimes they are temperamental and wilt prematurely.   To avoid wilting we recommend picking your hellebore's when the stamens have dropped and a seed pod is forming, as they tend to be sturdier than blooms with stamens intact.

Take a bucket of water with you when picking and put the flowers in water as soon as they are picked.  This will minimise the risk of air bubbles forming in the stems and blocking the ability to draw up water.

Curlew Country Farm - Hellebore

Treatment

Remove the foliage on the bottom two thirds of the stem, or enough to make sure no foliage will be below the water level.  Make a fresh angled cut before placing in water in a cool dark place for a few hours or preferably overnight. arranging.

Additional tips specifically to prevent wilting of hellebore's that you can try include:

  1. Pour about 2cm of freshly boiled water into a heatproof vessel, and then place the stems in the water for 30 seconds. This helps to force air out of the stems and allow better uptake of water.  Take them out of the hot water, and place in cool water.  This is how we teat our hellebore stems.

  2. Add 2 tablespoons of vodka and a sachet of flower food per litre of water.

  3. Gently score down the length of the stem with a knife or make a 2-3cm slit up the base of the stem to help facilitate water absorption.

Curlew Country Farm - Hellebore jug arrangement

Arranging

Hellebore's are stunning alone or  mixed with other flowers. Try mixing them with roses, freesias, ranunculus, anemone, spirea or plum blossom.  Here are three ideas for designing with Hellebore's.

  1. As most hellebore's have a drooping habit, take take advantage of this when designing and place the blooms low in an arrangement, overhanging the edge of a vase or container

  2. Use other flowers or foliage to support the flowers in the arrangement

  3. Arrange en-mass in a jug or bowl

  4. Cut the flowers just below the blossom and float in bowl of water
Curlew Country Farm - Hellebore

Meaning

Mental healing, insanity cure, protection, invisibility, plant alchemy, banishing, exorcism, increased intelligence.  Flowerpaedia (Cheralyn Darcey 177).

Drying 

A lot of references suggest using silica gel or borax to dry hellebore's but I really couldn't be bothered.  All we do is bunch them up and hang them upside down in a dry dark place for a week or two - too easy.  Once dry they are stored in cardboard boxes nestled in between sheets of tissue paper.