When, Where, and How to Plant Christmas Roses?

Always use a sharp tool and prune it during the late winter or early spring

Plant Christmas Rose

Photos from Japan, Asia and othe of the world/gettyimages

Seeds take time mature into plants, but baby plants from nursery bloom soon in moist, well-drained soil and partial shade


For most ornamental gardens, winter blooming can be beneficial. It provides the necessary burst of color in a cool but bare seasonal landscape. One of the most commonly planted trees during this time is the Christmas Rose. Also known as the Black Hellebore, it is the hardiest among the garden plants.


The right way to plant Christmas roses is quite easy. These plants are not very demanding. All you need is well drained moist soil in a partially shaded location.


Many of you might know Christmas rose by its Austrian name, Snow Rose, which indicates that the plant copes well to the harsh growing conditions. It seems unusual because the plant is native to Southeast Asia. But today, the plant grows in many Central European countries, Northern Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia, where it colonizes sparse and bushy forests.


Christmas rose is quite simple to grow. You can simplify the care process by replicating the essentials found in natural settings. Now, the question is how to grow Christmas roses. Let us discuss the planting and growing conditions in detail below.


Planting Christmas Rose

Botanical Name Helleborus niger
Family Crowfoot family or Buttercup family
Genus Helleborus
Height 20-60 cm
Hardiness zone Three through Eight
Best time to sow Spring
Best time to plant October
Soil Well-drained, fertile soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5
Water Enough to keep the soil moist
Sun 3 hours of light a day
Fertilizer Organic or slow-release fertilizers once a year in late summer – half-shady to shady.
Bloom Time November to February (depending on the location)
Color of the flowers White to light pink
Foliage Lance-shaped leaves with serrated and smooth edge in dark green to blue color
Temperature 10 – 15 ℃, but can resist cold down to -35 ℃ degrees in winter


How To Plant Christmas Roses?

Plant Christmas Roses



Not every plant retires to sleep in winter, proven beautifully by the Black hellebore. Unlike the typical plants, the Black Hellebore reveals its white blossoms in December, while in some cases, they show from November to February.


You can grow Christmas roses in pots or on the ground. The plant will take about three to four years to flower from the seed with good care. But before that, you must plant the seeds for sixty days in cold, damp weather to germinate. However, ensure you do not plant it way too deep. Seed transplantation should happen in mid-fall and mist the soil if it is dry.


You must consider growing Christmas roses bought directly from the nursery if you desire immediate flowering. Planting in early summer or late spring is recommended to give the plant ample time to establish before winter. In the case of a pot plantation, ensure there is enough space to accommodate its long roots.


In addition, the soil must be rich in nutrients, moist, and well-drained. Adding lime and clay to the soil can be beneficial. You can also add a phosphorous-rich fertilizer as soon as the plant starts blooming. It helps with flower production.


Because the roots are not hardy and grow downwards, pick a place cautiously to avoid transplanting later. Do not grow Christmas roses in a windy or dry spot. Ensure that it is in a well-ventilated location to prevent pests, diseases, and yellowing of the leaves. Since the Christmas Rose is toxic, wear gloves during transplantation.


Let us explore all the aspects of planting hellebores type at greater length.


A. Where to plant Christmas Roses?

Ideally, Christmas roses cherish a half-shady spot. So, do not plant them under evergreen plants or any other conifers. In addition, avoid a location in the immediate shadow of a building because Christmas roses develop lesser flower buds in full shade. Hence, consider planting them under a deciduous shrub or a tree.


Further, when you plant these roses, ensure that it is at a spot wherein the plant does not get harsh sunlight in the summer, and the fallen leaves carve a protective cover in the winter. However, please note if the chosen spot is sunnier and open, the perennials will demand a greater degree of moisture.


But, too much water is also not recommended for the plants. Waterlogging results in root rot and eventually kills the plant. You can avoid this by creating a drainage layer of limestone graven underneath the root ball.


B. When to plant Christmas roses?

Plant Christmas Roses



A vital question we must address is when to plant these beautiful flowers. Ideally, the most suitable time for planting the Christmas Roses is between September and November when flowers are not on the plant, and the ground is not frozen.



C. How much water does Christmas rose need?

Meeting your plants’ watering requirements is vital for growing Christmas roses. Like the other plants, in Christmas Rose, the idea is to ensure that the root does not dry out completely. So, water your plants in the evening or early morning hours. You do not need to fill the plant soil with water.


When you plant Christmas roses in the decorative bed, their long roots will extract the water from the ground to supply themselves. But, such is not the case with the container plants. So, while regular watering is not mandatory for the ground-planted Christmas rose, we cannot say the same for the potted plants. Hence, before watering, check the top layer. If it feels crumbly and dry, you must water it.


On hot days, the water evaporation rate is high. So, an essential step while planting these flowers is adding mulch bark in the bed to lower the evaporation rate. Also, you may not want to stress the plant during the cold weather. So, during this time, the plants prefer lukewarm water. At any cost, waterlogging should not occur in the plants.


D. Which is the ideal soil to plant Christmas roses?

Christmas rose is a hardy plant that thrives in humus-rich and nutrient-rich soil that does not get waterlogged or dry too easily. It also enjoys neutral to alkaline soil with a heavy lime content. So, if the soil is sandy or poor, you need to take measures to prepare it.


For instance, in autumn, you can better the soil by adding organic fertilizer, compost, or a layer of mulch. Besides hummus, adding limestone gravel into the soil can also help create ideal soil conditions for growing Christmas roses.

E. Does Christmas Rose need fertilizer?

Christmas rose is not a heavy feeder. But, the plant cannot thrive sans nutrients. It holds for potted roses too. Fertilize your Christmas rose between Early March to Late August. Fertilizing later than August is not recommended as it can trigger unnecessary stimulation in Christmas roses.


Hence, you can use liquid or conventional long-term fertilizers after you plant Christmas roses. Horn shavings and compost can also prove beneficial.


F. Planting procedure

Planting Procedure

Jasmin Merdan/gettyimages


After you have found a suitable location for the Christmas rose, you need to plant it there at the earliest between September and November. You can also consider planting them in late spring, between April and May.


Here is a step-by-step guide on how to grow Christmas roses.

  1. Dip the root ball in a bucket full of water.
  2. Dig a hole two times the size of the root ball.
  3. Loosen the soil.
  4. Add mature compost to enrich the soil.
  5. Insert the Christmas rose in the dug spot till the root neck.
  6. Fill the hole back with the soil and press down.
  7. Water it for the soil to settle down.
  8. Add in a layer of leaves or compost.


Since Christmas roses are toxic, an essential tip for growing Christmas roses is wearing gloves. It can help prevent skin irritation from the leaky sap.


More on Hellebores: Growing Guide | Pruning Tips | Ideal Pruning Time

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques 1. Is Christmas Rose perennial?

Ans. Christmas rose is a small, perennial herb from the buttercup family.


Ques 2. Do Christmas roses spread?

Ans. When the conditions are favorable, the Christmas rose likes to spread into large plant groups.


Ques 3. How to plant Christmas roses from cuttings?

Ans. Here is the step-by-step guide to grow Christmas roses from cuttings:

  1. Water the parent plant a day before and ensure that the plant is in good condition across the growing season.
  2. Take the cuttings at least four to eight inches long.
  3. Insert the cuttings in water.
  4. Slice the bottom ends of the cuttings.
  5. Dip them in the rooting hormone.
  6. Remove flowers and some leaves.
  7. Place the cutting in the potting soil.
  8. Add the humidity cover and keep the pot in indirect sunlight.
  9. Keep a check on the cuttings periodically.
  10. New roots will show in a month or two.
  11. Once roots emerge, remove the humidity cover.
  12. Plant the rooted cuttings in the garden.


Ques 4. How do you transplant a Christmas Rose?

Ans. Here are the steps for transplanting a Christian Rose:


  1. Dig around the whole hellebore.
  2. Rinse any extra clumps of soil from the roots.
  3. Use a sharp, clean knife to cut the root mass into two or three sections.
  4. Place the divided section into the fresh soil in the desired location.


Summing Up…

We hope this guide above gives you the necessary knowledge on the correct drill for growing Christmas Roses. All in all, they don’t require anything exclusive to grow and flourish. Just moist well-drained soil and partial shade can do wonders. Here’s more on Hellebores care.