How To Neuter Helleborus Orientalis

It might seem odd, anyone wanting to neuter a fully loaded, ready to burst forth with the reults of pollinator procreation Helleborus orientalis.

But there are occasions when it needs doing. Consider it a preventative, a prophylactic measure against unending seedling removal in delicate areas where the very large hellebore plants would be unwanted.

Begin by being sure your hellebore has seed pods. Some of the fancy schmancy ones are sterile and will produce no offspring. The ones growing here in the
are the species, but are still quite attractive. The first discovery of seedlings, they need two stratification periods, two seasons of chill hours followed by warmth to germinate, will find the gardener joyously spreading the babies hither and yonder. But as those babies grow on to produce even more babies, and so on and so on, there comes a time, in certains places that enough is enough.

The tool used is a thumbnail, grown longer than the other fingernails for use as a multi-tool You could also use a knife, snips, scissors, pruners, etc., whatever works for you. Snipping the seedpods at the stem is a surgical manuever. It is very difficult to do while holding a camera and trying to click the shutter. A helpful assistant would have been appreciated here.

The deed is done. Discard or scatter the seeds as you see fit.

What is left is the neutered flower, still quite beautiful to behold and incapable of causing a population explosion.

This procedure is not done to all of the Helleborus orientalis growing here, there is neither the time nor the desire to do so. But in those certain areas where seedlings would be a cause for horror rather than delight, the effort pays off in extra future leisure time.

Why not just deadhead, one might ask. That is a good question, with an equally good answer. The flowers fade to green but remain intact for many months after the initial bloom in January and February here. They add shape, form, texture and substance as a background to the spring and summer flowers and foliage. Even neutered.

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12 Responses to How To Neuter Helleborus Orientalis

  1. Donna B. says:

    I-I’ll take those seedpods from you! No need to throw them out! hehehe! [We’ve discussed before, or should I say that you taught me; I have one of those fancy schmancy ones and I did notice that there is a seedpod but it’s not plumping up. Darn you, sterile pretty things!!!]
    I’ve always thought of ‘neutering’ many prolific seeders in my gardens’… but then again I’m not that great with flowers so self-seeders are my go-to flowers! Shame not all flowers can be ‘neutered’ – this method appears so easy!

    Hi Donna, thanks for adding in here. The hellebores are the only flowers I bother to neuter, and only discovered, or thought of doing it last year. There are certain spots where pulling the seedlings is a nuisance and/or difficult. I see the namers of plants have changed the fancy schmancy hellebores to H. hybridus, since they are usually a mix of orientalis and other species. Maybe that is why some don’t produce seeds. Mine might not be as pretty, but the free plant aspect makes for quantity over quality.

  2. Lola says:

    Love those little lovelies. Sure wish they would grow in my garden.

    Hi Lola, thanks. I wish so, too.

  3. gailae says:

    What a good idea and an easy to perform procedure. xoxogail

    Thanks Gail. It should prevent unwanted seedlings in certain areas. That is the goal, anyway.

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Too funny. I have never thought of neutering plants. I have dead headed them at the right time previously though. It took me a couple of years to find out what was causing no babies. Ha…. even funnier I think.

    HA Lisa, that is funny! I deadhead a few things, like the Scotch thistle. The idea that this was neutering came to me when I was thinking about the new kitten that my son got, a male.

  5. If only mine were so prolific. I have one baby volunteer I’ve been nursing for about three years, waiting for it to reach the leap phase.

    Hi Helen, thanks for joining in. I figured many folks would not identify with my need to limit baby hellebores. Yet.

  6. Thanks for the detailed description. I haven’t reached that point yet, but now I know what to do when the time is right!

    Hi Plant Postings, thanks for reading. I hope your hellebores do reach the point that you have to use surgical methods of birth control.

  7. Heh-heh-heh. I bet you are going to get a lot of search engine traffic from this post, which will not be expecting to find flowers.

    Heh heh. Maybe. That’s not why I wrote it, Kathy, but it might happen. I was performing this procedure and decided to share it with the blogdom, just for fun. Future stats will tell the story! HA

  8. spurge says:

    At this stage in my garden I can’t imagine NOT wanting hellebore seedlings! 🙂 Your white/green hellebores look just perfect under the japanese maple.

    Hi Spurge, thanks and I hear you! With our original three plants, I seriously doubted the articles in magazines about millions of seedlings, to the point you would be pulling them out. I am now a believer. It just takes time, and don’t mulch!

  9. I thought you were going to put a little bonnet cover and collect the seeds. I am not sure if mine are sterile, will need to check them out.

    Hi Janet, thanks for visiting. The hellebore called Blue Lady might get the bonnet treatment, or I might just let them fall to the ground and hope for the best! Good luck with yours, too.

  10. So you’ve finally reached the saturation point! I’ve never thought of neutering hellebores. I usually just deadhead them. This is a very interesting idea, but when there are as many hellebores as you & I have, it becomes quite a job.

    Hi MMD, thanks. I only do it to a few hellebores whose seedlings would be a huge pain to remove. They have a long taproot if left to grow and are hard to eradicate in tight spots. No way could I do them all.

  11. Les says:

    Is this procedure covered by your insurance plan?

    HA Les, I believe this would be considered OOP, out of pocket!

  12. Pingback: Perfect Match-Hellebores and Daffodils | Fairegarden

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