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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Helleborus x sahinii ‘Winterbells’: A lovely new hellebore hybrid

Posted by Graham Rice on 20 Jan 2014 at 01:37 PM

Helleborus x sahinii 'Winterbells': A lovely new hellebore hybrid from Hayloft Plants. Image ©TakiiSome unexpected hellebore hybrids have come on the scene in recent years, hybrids between species that you’d just never expect to see. But this is probably the most surprising of all. Helleborus x sahinii ‘Winterbells’ is a cross between the stinking hellebore, H. foetidus, and the Christmas rose, H. niger. And that’s pretty much what it looks like.

‘Winterbells’ looks rather like a taller version of a Christmas rose, but with nodding flowers midway in size and shape between those of the two parents. The colour is especially pretty. The peachy pink buds open to good sized, flared, bell-shaped flowers that mature to pink on the outside and creamy white on the inside and then fade to green and remain on the plant for some time. The flowers are sterile and this helps prolong the display.

In addition to this attractive colouring and the pretty pendulous flowers, ‘Winter Bells’ is unusual in other ways. Firstly, although flowers open mainly in winter and early spring, on my plants they also sometimes open in summer. Plants can also be rooted from cuttings in summer and may well flower the following winter.

Many breeders have tried to cross these two species, but in 2004 breeders at the Dutch seed company K. Sahin Zaden BV, best known for developing unusual annuals, raised a single seedling from one pod of seeds and this is it - named in honour of the company’s founder, the late Kees Sahin.

You can find more on this plant in John Grimshaw’s article on new hellebore hybrids in the December 2010 issue of the Royal Horticultural Society’s magazine, The Plantsman. Unfortunately, it’s not avalable online.

You can order Helleborus x sahinii ‘Winterbells’ from Hayloft Plants.


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