Helleborus foetidus (Bearsfoot Hellebore) [10 Seeds]


Germination Information: I recommend these only for gardeners who are experienced with handling seeds that have multi-cycle germination patterns (in this case, 70-40: 3 months of warmth and moisture followed by cool temperatures). The germination period takes anywhere from about 5 months to a year or more, and then it may take the plants another 3 or 4 years to reach flowering size. The entire process requires care and patience. If you are hoping to have flowers quickly, you are better off buying started plants.

For best results, purchase these seeds in June or July (maybe to mid August in warm climates). Sow them as soon as you get them, 1/4 to 1/3 inch deep, and leave the pot outdoors so they experience a natural warm-and-moist period before the weather cools. In mild areas, the seeds may sprout in November or December; elsewhere, they should appear in spring.

If you sow from September through May, still plant the seeds immediately and leave them outdoors; they may not sprout until fall of the following year, or the spring after. Or, consider providing an artificial (indoor) warm-then-cool treatment if you are sowing at a non-optimal time.

Whenever you sow, check regularly to make sure the soil does not dry out completely throughout the germination process. Also, protect from mice, which will happily feast on the seeds.

Note that this information will not appear on the seed packet you receive.

Please read the description as well before ordering.

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Bearsfoot hellebore (Helleborus foetidus), also known as stinking hellebore (even though it is not stinky), is a handsome evergreen perennial with upright, 1- to 2-foot-tall stems that carry deeply cut, dark green leaves. Toward the end of each stem’s first—or sometimes second—growing season, light green buds appear at the tip. Through the winter, the buds expand, eventually opening to green bells in late winter to early spring. Once the flowers on a given stem ripen their seed, that stem dies, but new ones rise to take its place. (Technically, bearsfoot hellebore is said to be caulescent—unlike the more common Lenten rose hybrids (Helleborus x hybridus), which are acaulescent, meaning that their leaves and their flowers grow directly from a ground-level crown.)

Bearsfoot hellebore plants tend to be deer-resistant but are not deer-proof. Full sun is ok in winter and spring; in summer to fall, though, either all-day light shade or morning sun and afternoon shade is best. Protection from drying winds in winter is a plus. Usually hardy in USDA Zones 6 to 9.

2023-collected seeds are sold out. I hope to collect again in mid to late June 2024. Each packet contains at least 10 seeds. Shipping to US addresses only.

Please read the Germination Information section of this listing as well before ordering these seeds.

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