Helleborus niger Harvington hybrids

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
Christmas rose Harvington hybrids


The Christmas Rose, commonly referred to by its name Helleborus niger Harvington hybrids, is a perennial plant renowned for its early winter or late spring blooms. These flowers showcase a striking simplicity with their large, bowl-shaped petals often colored in a crisp white or sometimes pink that gently matures to a dusky rose. The Harvington hybrids may also bear flowers with hints of green or maroon, especially towards the center or at the petal edges. These blooms are carried on sturdy stems above the foliage, creating a delightful contrast with the dark, leathery green leaves. The foliage of the Christmas Rose is an attribute in itself. The leaves are substantial, consisting of several leaflets with a toothed margin that forms a collective palmate shape. This deep green, glossy foliage retains its allure throughout the growing season, contributing to the plant's aesthetic even when it is not in flower. Moreover, these hybrids often have a richer and more varied bloom color than the species. As a collection, Harvington hybrids show an enchanting diversity, some with stamens pronouncedly contrasted against the petals, adding to the visual interest. Each flower is ensconced within a small whorl of sepals, which persist after the petals have fallen, extending the plant's decorative appeal. Overall, the Christmas Rose has a dignified presence in the garden, bringing beauty during the seasons when most plants are dormant. It combines an elegant floral display with robust, handsome foliage to maintain a continual presence of charm in the outdoor space.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Christmas Rose, Black Hellebore.

    • Common names

      Helleborus niger Harvington hybrids.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Christmas Rose, which refers to Helleborus niger Harvington hybrids, is considered toxic if ingested. All parts of the plant contain compounds that can be poisonous to humans. If someone consumes any part of the Christmas Rose, they may experience symptoms such as burning sensation in the mouth and throat, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, the toxicity can lead to heart problems, muscle weakness, and seizures. It is important to handle the plant with care to avoid skin irritation and to ensure that no part of the plant is ingested.

    • To pets

      Christmas Rose, also known as Helleborus niger Harvington hybrids, is toxic to pets. Ingesting any part of the plant can lead to poisoning. Symptoms in pets may include drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, can progress to depression of the central nervous system, seizures, and cardiac problems. As the entire plant is toxic, it is important to prevent pets from having access to Christmas Roses to avoid potential poisoning incidents.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves

      Dark green

    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-1.5 feet (30-45 cm)

    • Spread

      1-1.5 feet (30-45 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Appeal: Helleborus niger, commonly known as Christmas Rose, features elegant white flowers that add aesthetic value to winter gardens.
    • Winter Blooming: Being one of the few plants to bloom during winter, it provides visual interest during the coldest months.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, the Christmas Rose is relatively drought-tolerant, requiring minimal watering.
    • Shade Tolerance: This plant can thrive in shaded areas where other plants might struggle, making it ideal for woodland gardens.
    • Long-lasting Blooms: The flowers of Helleborus niger typically last for a long period, sometimes even from late fall into early spring.
    • Evergreen Foliage: The plant maintains its foliage throughout the year, providing greenery even when not in bloom.
    • Deer and Rodent Resistant: Christmas Rose is often resistant to damage from deer and rodents, keeping it intact in wildlife-heavy areas.
    • Low Maintenance: Helleborus niger usually requires minimal upkeep, making it a convenient choice for gardeners of all levels.
    • Pollinator Support: While not its main feature, the flowers can provide a food source for early-emerging bees on warmer winter days.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Hellebore in Crafts: The Christmas Rose’s dried flowers can be used in crafts, such as in wreath making or potpourri blends, for ornamental purposes.
    • Photography Subject: The Christmas Rose is a popular subject for botanical photography due to its early blooming and striking flowers against winter backdrops.
    • Religious Symbolism: The flower is often associated with Christian legend and can be used in religious-themed garden designs or during Christmas as a symbol of the season.
    • Education and Research: The Christmas Rose can be used for education in botany and horticulture classes, teaching about winter-flowering plants and their adaptations.
    • Winter Gardens: Planting the Christmas Rose can provide interest and color in winter gardens when other plants are dormant.
    • Floral Arrangements: Although not commonly used in cut flower arrangements due to its toxicity, the Christmas Rose can be used while still attached to the plant to create outdoor floral displays.
    • Nature Conservation: The Christmas Rose can be used in conservation efforts for gardens designed to attract and support pollinators like bees during colder months when food is scarce.
    • Color Dye: Historically, certain parts of plants in the Helleborus genus have been used to produce green dye, though the use of Helleborus niger specifically for this purpose is not well documented.
    • Landscape Photography: The Christmas Rose can be used as a foreground interest in landscape photography, especially in snowy scenes.
    • Cultural Events: The Christmas Rose can be incorporated into winter festivals or cultural events as a symbol of resilience or as part of a floral display marking seasonal celebrations.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Christmas Rose is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Christmas Rose is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Also known as Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger Harvington hybrids often bloom in winter, demonstrating strength and the ability to thrive in harsh conditions.
    • Hope: The early flowering of the Christmas Rose in the cold months symbolizes hope and the anticipation of spring.
    • Purity: The pure white flowers of some cultivars of Christmas Rose are often associated with purity and innocence.
    • Tranquility: The evergreen nature and subtle colors of the Christmas Rose convey a sense of peace and tranquility.
    • Scandal or Controversy: In some myths, Christmas Rose is linked to scandal or controversy, possibly due to its toxic properties and the legend of it being used to poison.
    • New Beginnings: Because it blossoms in late winter, the Christmas Rose is sometimes considered to represent new beginnings or rebirth.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Early Spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Christmas Rose should be watered deeply and thoroughly, ensuring that the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Water the plant approximately once a week, providing about one gallon of water each time. Adjust the watering frequency according to weather conditions: more often during dry spells, and less often when rainfall is adequate. It is important to avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot. In the winter, reduce watering since the plant requires less moisture during its dormancy period.

  • sunLight

    The Christmas Rose thrives best in partial shade to full shade. It should be placed in a spot where it can receive dappled sunlight or light shade throughout the day. Avoid direct sunlight, especially during the hot afternoon hours, as this can scorch the leaves and flowers. A location under a canopy of deciduous trees or on the north side of a building is often ideal.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Christmas Rose prefers cooler temperatures and can tolerate winter conditions well. It is hardy in temperatures as low as 0°F and can survive brief periods slightly below this range. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 35°F and 55°F. Extreme heat above 90°F can stress the plant and should be avoided by providing adequate shade and moisture.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune the Christmas Rose to remove old, damaged, or diseased foliage and to maintain plant health. The best time for pruning is late winter or early spring before the new growth starts. Cut back the previous year's leaves when you notice new growth emerging. This pruning is not only aesthetic but also helps prevent disease by improving air circulation. Pruning should be done annually to keep the plant looking its best.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Christmas Rose thrives in well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil; a mix of one-third each of garden soil, compost, and sharp sand is ideal. The soil pH should be between 7.0 and 8.0 for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Christmas Rose should typically be repotted every 2-3 years to prevent overcrowding and replenish nutrients. It's best done in the late summer or early fall after flowering.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Christmas Rose prefers moderate humidity but is quite adaptable and can tolerate the humidity levels typically found in temperate climates well.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright, indirect light and cool temperatures.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, shelter from harsh winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger Harvington hybrids, begins its life cycle when the seed germinates in late spring, developing into a small seedling. The plant spends the first year or two primarily growing its root system and foliage, usually not flowering during this juvenile phase. Once mature, the Christmas Rose enters a period of vegetative growth each spring, with leathery, dark green leaves emerging from a perennial rhizome. Flower buds develop in late fall to early winter, with the plant's characteristic white blooms opening from midwinter to early spring. After pollination, the flowers develop into capsules containing numerous seeds that, when mature, are dispersed to start new plants. Post-flowering, the plant goes dormant during the summer months, conserving energy to repeat the cycle again the following year.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early Spring

    • The most popular method of propagation for the Helleborus niger, commonly known as the Christmas Rose, is through division. This is best done in late spring after the plant has flowered but before the heat of summer. Propagation by division involves carefully digging up the plant and gently separating the clumps into smaller sections, ensuring that each new section has at least a couple of growth buds. Using a sharp knife or spade can aid in this process. Once divided, the new plants should be replanted promptly at the same soil depth they were growing before and watered thoroughly to help establish their roots. It's important to maintain moist soil while the new divisions are taking root. This method of propagation allows gardeners to quickly increase their stock of Christmas Roses and ensure the health and vitality of their older plants by rejuvenating them.