Earlier this year, I bought some hellebores (Helleborus niger hybrids) to plant in a shady spot near my Magnolia tree. I promptly forgot them, partly because of being ill for a couple of weeks, partly because of other plants growing up and around where I'd left the pots by the time I'd recovered.

With things dying back for winter, I've rediscovered the hellebores still in their 6" (15cm) nursery pots and wonder what I should do with them. I live in Portland, Oregon (USDA zone 8b) and we've already had our first frosts. The winter weather here is usually wet rather than cold, but we frequently have stretches where the temperature doesn't get above freezing for several days at a time.

Is the end of November too late to plant them in the ground? Should I bring them indoors for the winter? If I leave them outdoors, what should I do with them during cold snaps?

1 Answer 1


Go ahead and plant them now. In your area, there is no concern whatsoever of winter damage, as the temperatures don't even get close to damaging for these plants in your area (they can withstand down to -30 under average conditions).

Make sure the area they're going into has good drainage, though, as these don't like wet feet, especially when cold. I've actually done this exact same thing here in zone 6b. I had a few of them in 2 liter nursery pots behind the machine shed, which is up against a wooded slope, and they sat there all summer, through the winter, and were halfway into the ground and rooted in hard by the next November. Then I finally cut them out and planted them. That's not ideal, of course, but they (along with some Liriopes and other plants back there) didn't suffer at all during the winter, and after planting, they did fine, like a normal planting.


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