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How to Grow Roses in the Winter

By: Arlene Wright Correll

Christmas Winter Rose

As someone who loves and grows a few roses I miss them in the winter. I recently heard about a rose that grows through the snow and blooms for about 10 weeks each winter and that plant is called the Lenten Rose some times called the Christmas Rose. Its Latin name is Helleborus orientalis and it will bloom from Midwinter until early spring providing you plant it in well-drained soil with neutral to slightly acid pH of about 7.

It is deer resistant with no serious pest problems and the Lenten rose will do well in zones 4 to 8 and will grow in shade or partial shade, full morning sun with afternoon shade. To get the best blooms this plant really likes four to six hours of sun in the morning, but once the blooms come out it will require to be planted in an area that also gets afternoon shade or its foliage will start to wither.

Never plant it in heavy clay of soils that stay wet or you can kiss your Lenten Roses goodbye! They like to be planted in compost-enriched well-drained soil.

Some Lenten roses bloom in deep shades of pink to burgundy and some of them open up to a pale green-white and some of them have lots of speckles so this perhaps should be called the surprise plant.

Even though this plant is called the Lenten Rose or Christmas rose it really does not belong to the rose family. It is a valued plant for cottage gardens and will give a good show during the winter as this plant will grow about 18 to 24 inches tall and about 24 to 36 inches wide.

I have learned that this plant is slow to establish and it is suggested if you buy a Lenten rose plant to buy the largest you can find and then give it a year or two to settle in and you will then be rewarded with lots of flowers.

This is a plant you can divide in late August or early September and since it has buds you will probably see flowers the first year on your divisions. Once the flowers are gone you will be rewarded with attractive seed pods.

My research shows that these seeds can be bought on the internet for about $3.99 for 25 seeds.

Author Resource:-> For more gardening or cooking information click To see Arlene’s Gardens and to read her gardening diaries and to take a walk through her pictorial garden or click on Arlene’s Books where you can download or buy her gardening & cook books, including her new book, “The ABC’s of Wine and Beer Making”. Many of her articles written for Greenthumbarticles have paintings she has created of the subject and they can be seen at her “How to Do It” site. Remember to check out her artwork, especially of her fruits and vegetables. Arlene says, “All my royalties from the sale of my books go to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and I thank you for visiting my site.”


"As someone who loves and grows a few roses, I miss them in the winter."

~Arlene Wright Correll


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