|Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Walhelivor’
(hel-LEB-ore-uss) Family: Ranunculaceae
syn. Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince’
Common name: Christmas rose; lenten rose
Zone: 3 – 8
Height: 12-18 in (30-45 cm) Spread: 12-18 in (30-45 cm)
Aspect: partial shade; full shade
Soil: fertile, humus-rich, well-draining
|Description: An evergreen perennial with an upright, moderately bushy, clump-forming habit. Leaves are made up of three to seven oval-shaped leaflets. Leaflet margins are serrated. Foliage colour is grey-green with a muted silver veining. There are usually up to six stems on a mature plant, each one supporting twelve ivory-hued flowers, tinted with green and pink markings. Flowers can retain their shape for as long as two months. As cut flowers, the blooms only last about one week. They are not fragrant. Bloom period lasts from mid- to late winter through into mid-spring.
Special Notes: Hellebores are originally native to Europe and Asia, primarily China, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia. Nowadays, they are a favourite of many gardens outside of those regions.
‘Walhelivor’ was selected in 1995 David Tristam from amongst new seedlings being bred at his Walberton Nursery in Sussex County, England to exhibit vigorous growth, an upright form, and flowers which appeared slightly flattened. David Tristam applied for a patent through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 3, 2004. U.S. Plant Patent number 16199 was assigned on Jan.10, 2006 to Helleborus ‘Walhelivor’. It is marketed under the name ‘Ivory Prince’ for which it is better recognized.
Deer resistant. Relatively disease free, although leaves can be susceptible to hellebore leaf spot. Black Death is a new virus that has been infecting hellebores in private collections and nurseries. If your plant becomes infected with this virus…as evidenced by black streaking on flower petals, stems and leaves…carefully dig up the plant and immediately bag it for the garbage.
In our Zone 7a garden: The three ‘Ivory Princes’ growing in my garden were actually gifts to my mom from her long-time friend, my godmother. Unfortunately, the plants languished indoors in my parents’ solarium…having sold our childhood home and relocated to a condo with a beautiful ocean view, but no garden. So my garden became the rescue garden for which I am eternally grateful.
The ‘Ivory Princes’ have flourished nicely…albeit perhaps a little slowly. Now seven or eight years on, they have become a nice clump and exhibit all of the wonderful traits they have been bred for…foliage which survives the ravages of winter, upright form, and masses of flattened flowers which brighten the garden for at least two months. And right at a time when you need some serious “brightening”.
Caution: All parts of the plant are poisonous.
Great Plant Pick 2013