Helleborus 'Ice Follies'
  Series Name: WINTER THRILLER™ Series
Common Name: Lenten Rose
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Photo Courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.

The most floriferous and robust member of the series, this cultivar was nicknamed “Major Stud” by the breeder.  Mature specimens of ‘Ice Follies’ are extraordinarily heavy flowering, producing upwards of 100 flowers per plant.  What a showstopper!

The large 3”, cream to light yellow flowers are heavily splashed with strawberry to burgundy red flecks on each petal. 

Hellebores are the harbingers of spring, blooming for six weeks or more beginning in late winter. They are often flowering during the Christian season of Lent, from which they get their common name, Lenten Rose. This is the perfect plant for naturalizing in moist, woodland areas where its extensive root system will spread as far as it is allowed.

Breeder: Chris Hansen

Origin: Not Native to North America

Characteristics:



Height:
  18-22 Inches
Spread:
  24 Inches
Flower Color:
  Yellow Shades
Foliage Color:
  Green shades
Hardiness Zone:
4,5,6,7,8,9
Find Your Zone
Sun or Shade?:
  Part shade (4-6 hrs. direct sun)
  Full shade (< 4 hrs. direct sun)
Wet or dry?:
  Low water needs
  Average water needs
Need critter resistant plants?:
  Deer resistant
  Rabbit resistant
How fast should it grow?:
  Slow
When should it bloom?:
  Early Spring
  Mid-spring
Looking for seasonal interest?:
  Evergreen (in some or all zones)
How's your soil?:
  Average Soil
  Fertile Soil
Sweet or Sour Soil?:
  Neutral Soil (pH = 7.0)
  Alkaline Soil (pH > 7.0)
What's your garden style?:
  Container/Patio
  Woodland/Shade
  Eclectic

  Click here to view the Grower Cultural Sheet

Size(s) Offered:

  Plugs: 30ct

Attributes:

Border plants
Container
Cut flower or foliage
Drought Tolerant
Evergreen
Mass Planting
Salt Tolerant
Easy to grow

Grower Note:

Helleborus WINTER THRILLER™ Series from hybridizer Chris Hansen

Chris began his passion for hybridizing Hellebores while living in hot, humid, and deer-infested South Carolina.  He began by searching out the most vigorous, largest flowering Hellebores and started breeding for pure color strains.  After more than 15 years of careful hand-crosses and record keeping, we are proud to offer his new Winter Thriller™ Hellebores to our customers.

Chris is constantly striving to improve flower color, flower size, plant vigor, and foliage.  Individual colors in the WINTER THRILLER™ series range from the heavily spotted ‘Ice Follies’ (everyone’s favorite of the series) to the rich garnet red of ‘Red Racer’ with its gigantic 3.75” flowers!  Since the seed is the F3 generation, all of the named varieties come true to color. 10--15% will bloom the first year, followed by 100% bloom the second year.

Immense flower size is a major goal of Chris’ breeding program and we were simply amazed that he has managed to breed giant 3-4” flowering Hellebores when we visited his breeding greenhouses right here in Michigan!  ‘Pink Parachutes’ flowers routinely measured 3 ¾” across!  And they are held atop very strong, non-flopping, flower stems that can reach 18” tall and appear well above the foliage.

Tremendous plant vigor is essential in Chris’ breeding program and he continuously rogues his Hellebore stock block to destroy any plants which have the slightest weakness in growth habit.  The day we visited, he had already set aside several immense flowering stock plants that didn’t meet his rigid vigor standards and were headed for the dumpster.  And no dumpster-diving is allowed!

Homeowner Growing & Maintenance Tips:

Hellebores are enjoyable to grow because they are low-maintenance and disease/pest-free.  Simply trim back last year's foliage in the spring.  They can adapt to almost any growing conditions.  Though they prefer rich, moist, organic soil, they will also grow in sandy or clay soil.  They can even tolerate short periods of drought.  The soil pH can range anywhere from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. 

Hellebores are shade plants that need to be protected from the hot afternoon sun.  They will grow in full shade under large deciduous trees as long as they receive full sun from winter to spring before the trees get their leaves. 

WARNING: Hellebores are poisonous. Do not consume any part of this plant.


Companions:

Common/Botanical Name
Zones  
Galium odoratum
Common Name: Sweet Woodruff
4,5,6,7,8
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Dicentra spectabilis
Common Name: Bleeding Heart-Old-Fashioned
3,4,5,6,7,8,9
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Pulmonaria 'Raspberry Splash' PP12138
Common Name: Lungwort
3,4,5,6,7,8,9
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Liriope muscari 'Big Blue'
Common Name: Lily-turf-Blue
5,6,7,8,9,10
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Fun Facts:

In popular legend, Lenten Rose were blooming outside the stable in Bethlehem, hence the name "Lenten" rose. However, Hellebores aren't native to that area.

While every effort has been made to describe this plant accurately, please keep in mind that the height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates throughout the country. The description of this plant was written based on our experience growing it in Michigan (USDA hardiness zone 5) and on numerous outside resources.