Lenten rose Helleborus × ericsmithii 'Winter Moonbeam' (PBR)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
hellebore 'Winter Moonbeam'


The Helleborus 'Winter Moonbeam' is known for its striking appearance that brings winter interest to the garden. The plant features leathery, deep green leaves that have an attractive silver marbling pattern on the surface. These evergreen leaves are comprised of several smaller leaflets arranged in a palmate fashion, resulting in a rounded shape that gives the plant a lush, full look even in the coldest months. One of the most captivating aspects of the 'Winter Moonbeam' are its flowers. It produces large, cup-shaped blooms that range in color from creamy white to pale pink. As the flowers age, they often develop a greenish hue and deeper pink accents, adding layers of subtle color variations. These blossoms are notable for their delicate appearance, with a ring of petal-like sepals surrounding a center filled with numerous stamens and pistils. The contrast between the dark foliage and the light, pastel-colored flowers creates a pleasing visual effect in the winter garden. Additionally, the 'Winter Moonbeam' is robust and maintains a neat form as it spreads, making it not only a choice plant for its beauty but also for its tidiness. Its presence in a shady to partially shaded area of the garden is a highlight, particularly during months when many other plants are dormant, providing continuous interest throughout the season.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Winter Moonbeam Hellebore, Eric Smith's Hellebore.

    • Common names

      Helleborus × ericsmithii 'Winter Moonbeam' (PBR)

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Hellebores, including the 'Winter Moonbeam', are known to be toxic to humans if ingested. All parts of the plant contain toxins, primarily protoanemonin, which can cause gastrointestinal distress characterized by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. They can also cause skin irritation upon contact, so it is advisable to handle them with care and wash your hands afterwards. Accidental ingestion of parts of the plant should be considered serious and medical advice should be sought.

    • To pets

      Hellebores, like 'Winter Moonbeam', are also toxic to pets, including dogs and cats, if ingested. The entire plant contains toxic compounds that can result in symptoms similar to those in humans: drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes depression or lethargy. It is essential to keep this plant out of reach of pets and to contact a veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your pet has ingested any part of it.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-1.5 feet (30-45 cm)

    • Spread

      1-1.5 feet (30-45 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Garden origin


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attractive Foliage: The plant has striking, variegated leaves that provide visual interest throughout the year.
    • Winter Blooming: 'Winter Moonbeam' blooms in late winter to early spring, providing flowers during a season when few other plants bloom.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it is relatively drought-tolerant, requiring minimal watering in the right conditions.
    • Shade Tolerant: It can thrive in part to full shade, making it suitable for woodland gardens and shady spots.
    • Pest and Disease Resistance: This plant is generally resistant to pests and diseases, reducing the need for chemical interventions.
    • Evergreen: As an evergreen plant, 'Winter Moonbeam' maintains its foliage throughout the year, offering constant garden presence.
    • Deer and Rabbit Resistant: Its foliage is unpalatable to deer and rabbits, protecting it from browsing damage.
    • Low Maintenance: It requires very little maintenance once established, making it ideal for low-maintenance gardens.
    • Long-Lived: Hellebores are known for their longevity and can provide beauty to a garden for many years.
    • Ground Cover: Its bushy growth habit makes it suitable for use as ground cover, helping to suppress weeds.

  • 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 ‘Winter Moonbeam’ petals can be used to create subtle dyes for fabrics, providing a natural alternative to chemical dyes for those interested in eco-friendly textile processing.
    • The leaves of the plant can be included in compost heaps as a green source of nitrogen, contributing to the composting process and improving soil quality after decomposition.
    • As a frost-resistant plant, Hellebore ‘Winter Moonbeam’ can be planted alongside cold-sensitive species to create microclimates that might help to protect the more vulnerable plants from frost damage.
    • The crushed foliage can act as a natural pest repellent in gardens and can be spread around more susceptible plants to deter rodents and deer due to its toxicity.
    • It can serve as a study subject for botany students learning about hybridization and propagation techniques, given its background as a hybrid plant.
    • The flower can be used as a natural indicator for seasonal transitions in climate studies since it blooms in late winter to early spring.
    • Because of its resilience, Hellebore ‘Winter Moonbeam’ can be utilized in ecological projects aiming to stabilize soil in areas prone to erosion such as riverbanks.
    • Hellebore ‘Winter Moonbeam' can be used in winter wedding floral arrangements as a symbol of new beginnings, given its early bloom time.
    • Photographers may use Hellebore ‘Winter Moonbeam’ for its aesthetic value, taking advantage of the flower's unique beauty when everything else is dormant in winter.
    • The contrasting dark green foliage and bright flowers can be used in monochrome gardens to create visual interest through variations in texture and form rather than color.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Hellebore is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Hellebore is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience and Strength: Helleborus, commonly known as the Lenten Rose, often blooms in late winter or early spring, symbolizing resilience and the ability to endure challenging conditions, as they often push through snow or frozen ground.
    • Hope and Renewal: As one of the early bloomers, the Lenten Rose signals the end of winter and the beginning of spring, thus representing hope and the promise of new beginnings.
    • Protection: In medieval times, people believed that the Lenten Rose had the power to ward off evil spirits, and so it came to symbolize protection.
    • Serenity: The Lenten Rose's quiet beauty and tendency to bloom in the subdued light of winter convey a sense of tranquility and peace.

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

    The Lenten rose should be watered deeply but infrequently, establishing a routine that encourages strong root growth. Aim for a thorough watering every week during active growth in spring and fall, which can be decreased to every two weeks or less during the dormant summer and winter months. When watering, provide about 1 gallon of water per plant, ensuring the soil is moist but not waterlogged. It's important to adjust your watering schedule based on rainfall and avoid overhead watering to prevent leaf and flower diseases.

  • sunLight

    The Lenten rose thrives under dappled shade or part sun, making it perfect for a woodland garden setting or a spot beneath deciduous trees. It should be protected from harsh afternoon sun to prevent leaf scorch, yet it requires enough light to promote vigorous growth and ample flowering.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Lenten rose is fairly cold-hardy and can withstand winter temperatures as low as 5°F. It thrives best in areas where the winter temperature remains above 20°F and can handle temperatures up to 85°F during the growing season. Its ideal growing conditions are found within USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9, where it enjoys cool to moderate climates.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Lenten rose is mainly for aesthetic purposes and to remove damaged or diseased foliage. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth starts, which keeps the plant looking tidy and may help promote more blooms. Cut back last year's foliage to the base to make way for the new leaves and flowers, and do this cleaning up annually.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Hellebores, commonly known as Lenten Rose, thrive in a well-draining soil mix that consists of one-third each garden soil, compost, and sharp sand to promote drainage. The ideal soil pH for Lenten Rose should be neutral to slightly alkaline, ranging between 7.0 and 8.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Lenten Roses do not need to be repotted often as they prefer to be left undisturbed; repotting every 3-4 years or when the plant outgrows its current container is sufficient.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Lenten Roses are quite tolerant of a range of humidity levels and perform best in outdoor settings with natural humidity. They do not require any special humidity adjustments when grown in garden soil.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Lenten Rose near a bright window; ensure cool temperature.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade; shelter from strong winds and intense sun.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    'Winter Moonbeam' Lenten Rose (Helleborus × ericsmithii 'Winter Moonbeam' (PBR)) begins its life cycle as a seed, which germinates in spring to early summer in the right conditions, with consistent moisture and shade. The seedling slowly develops into a young plant with a deep, extensive root system and a rosette of leaves close to the ground. Through the first year, the plant focuses on vegetative growth, establishing itself and maturing until it's strong enough to bloom. Typically, flowering occurs in late winter to early spring, producing creamy white flowers that mature to pink and green as they age. After pollination, if it occurs, seeds are produced and dispersed in the summer. As a perennial, the Lenten Rose will go dormant during the hottest part of the summer and cold winter months, resuming growth with the arrival of cooler temperatures in the fall and preparing to flower again.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early Spring

    • Propogation: Helleborus × ericsmithii 'Winter Moonbeam', commonly known as Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose, is best propagated through division. This process is ideally done in late spring after the flowering period or in early fall. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the plant and gently separate the clumps of roots into smaller sections, each with at least a couple of growth buds. These sections can then be replanted in well-draining soil, making sure to space them at least 12 inches (approximately 30 cm) apart to allow for growth. Water the newly planted divisions well to help establish them. Division helps to rejuvenate older plants while also increasing the number of plants in the garden.