Perennials & Ornamental Grasses

Cultivating Christmas roses - so you can enjoy your plants for a long time


Christmas roses can give you up to 30 years of pleasure with the right care. We have some tips for you on what to consider with this plant.

© Bill Ernest -

The winter months transform the garden into a drab and monotonous landscape. But there are bright spots. Christmas roses (Helleborus niger) provide vitality in the wintry garden and make you want to start gardening in spring. The flowers of the Christmas rose can also be a nice eye-catcher in the cold season on the balcony or terrace. If the care of the snow lily is not neglected, the plants develop into robust and long-lasting beauties that delight every eye with their white or pink flowers.

Watering Christmas roses properly

Christmas roses are irrigated rather sparingly. The plants do not get too much moisture. The snow lily should be supplied with sufficient moisture during flowering. This means that the hobby gardener must also be active in the winter garden and supply the Christmas rose with water on frost-free days, or check the water balance. If the floor feels dry, it needs to be watered.

For the Christmas rose, summer means a kind of rest. Watering the plants is therefore hardly necessary during the warmer months.

Fertilize Christmas roses properly

The Christmas rose is also fertilized rather sparingly. The first application of fertilizer takes place after the end of flowering, i.e. around the beginning of March.

" Tip: Fertilization should be combined with pruning the leaves. Then the fertilizer can be worked into the soil more easily.

Another fertilizer application is due in midsummer. Then the plants form new roots and gather strength for the upcoming flowering period. Compost, horn shavings or rock flour are recommended as ideal fertilizers.

" Tip: If the Christmas rose produces more leaves, but lacks the flowers, it lacks lime.

What types of Christmas roses are there?

Different types of Christmas roses can diversify the picture in the garden. The natural form shows its flowers in December and is in bloom until April. Some species bloom in autumn. This includes the variety “Praecox”.
The popular new varieties include the richly flowering representatives of the “Helleborus Gold Collection”, which beautify the advent and Christmas season with their bloom. Some varieties are also well suited as cut flowers. These include “Joel” or “Jacob Classic”, which have rather sturdy stems.

" Attention: Christmas roses should not be cut for the vase in frost.

An overview of some Christmas rose species:

Christmas roses Artheydayparticularities
Helleborus Niger praecoxDecember to Februarywhite flowers bloom very early
Helleborus Niger sp. macranthusDecember to Februarywhite inside, pink colored flowers remarkably large
Helleborus Niger Double FashionDecember to Aprilwhite double flowers very long flowering period
rubraDecember to Marchred flowers long flowering

A particularly pretty variety is the Christmas rose “Candy Love”. The strikingly large flowers offer a fascinating play of white and pink colors. The flowers have an impressive size and are also very suitable as cut flowers.

While Christmas roses usually bloom white and only before they fade to a pink color, the related spring roses offer the hobby gardener a varied play of colors. Spring roses bloom a little later than the Christmas rose and surprise with pastel-colored, deep red or almost black flowers.

Can Christmas roses be transplanted?

Christmas roses are easy to care for and manage very well with a minimum of attention. The plants grow comparatively slowly, but continue to reproduce regularly. You can enjoy a Christmas rose for up to 30 years, but not if it is constantly transplanted. Therefore, the choice of location must be made with particular care. Christmas roses should be allowed to remain in their location. Transplanting should only be an issue if circumstances require, the plant cannot cope with the chosen location, is infected by pests or atrophies.

" Tip: When choosing a location, it should be borne in mind that Christmas roses look very good in the company of other early bloomers such as witch hazel or winter aconite.

Christmas roses in a pot - care tips

© Natalia Greeske -

Christmas roses can be cultivated well in pots and thus beautify the balcony and terrace or the apartment. When choosing the planter, it should be noted that the snow rose can reach a proud height of 30 centimeters and the planter should be of an appropriate size. It is also important to ensure that the liquid can drain away easily and that the plant in the pot does not suffer from waterlogging. Sufficiently large drain holes are just as important as drainage in the bottom of the pot. This can consist of gravel or shards of clay and ensures that the irrigation water can drain off easily and does not accumulate in the planter.

With regard to the substrate, the snow lilies make some demands. The soil should be permeable, calcareous, loamy and humus. Good results can be achieved with garden soil, which is upgraded with high-quality potting soil and horn meal.

Cut Christmas roses

Faded is removed regularly. So that the flowers catch the eye, it is not a problem to remove the surrounding leaves. The hobby gardener does not have to carry out any other cutting work. Wilted leaves should not remain on the plant. In old leaves, fungi and bacteria prefer to multiply. A radical leaf cut too early should be avoided. This weakens the plant, which supplies the leaves with important nutrients that are needed for the next flowering period.

Multiply Christmas roses - what should be considered?

With sufficient care and an ideal choice of location, the Christmas rose takes care of the propagation itself. If you want to help something, there are a number of things to consider.

The increase by division

The division of the Christmas rose can be done after the flowering period. The prerequisite for this type of propagation is the presence of a sufficiently developed plant that can easily survive the division.

Step by step instructions

❶ Dig up the plant
❷ Divide the plant in the middle
Einsetzen Insert section at new location
❹ Put the mother plant back in the old planting hole
❺ Carefully step on the earth
Ang Water plants well

Christmas roses form roots that protrude far into the ground. Therefore, when removing the plant, you should dig deep enough. A sharp knife should be used for the division so that the plant is not permanently damaged.

If the Christmas rose is to sow itself, the faded will not be cut back. The seed pods open automatically after ripening and the seeds fall to the ground, where they root directly or are carried to other locations by the birds.

Did my Christmas rose freeze to death?

After a frosty night, the sight of the snow lily will probably scare the hobby gardener. The flowers are sagging and the plant looks weak and seems to be frozen to death. The all-clear can be given here. It is just a protective reaction of the plant. This guides the water out of the leaves and flowers so that they are not blown up by frost. With rising temperatures, the Christmas rose will soon show itself in its old splendor and beauty.

Caution, toxic!

Gloves should be worn when plant care because the plant is poisonous in all parts. Contact with the plant sap can cause allergic reactions.