British Columbia: Sickly Hellebores

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by davesmunroe, Jun 14, 2018 at 8:49 PM.

Tags:
  1. davesmunroe

    davesmunroe Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I just planted these Hellebores earlier this Spring (bought a bit after their flowering was done in April), and they've started to look more and more sickly in my front yard, with brown patterns developing on the leaves. Is this just a sign of them going dormant as we head into summer? I've not noticed this on others before, and I'm wondering if there's some disease coming on?

    Varieties are Onyx Odyssey and Apricot Blush
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Margot

    Margot Active Member

    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Nanoose Bay, BC Canada
    The problems you are having with your hellebores are probably cultural in origin, not disease. Hellebores do not go dormant in summer. In fact, they have just produced new leaves in late winter and spring. The first thing you should do is remove the blotchy leaves and put them in the garbage, not compost, just in case it turns out that this is a disease.

    When you planted these hellebores, did you . . .
    Choose a well-drained spot in partial, bright shade?
    Dig deeply?
    Enrich soil with plenty of humus?
    Add lime to acid soil?
    Keep plants 12 to 18 inches apart?
    Loosen roots before planting?
    Water well & keep evenly moist?

    If you realize they are not planted in optimal conditions, it's not too late to dig them up and replant - just make sure they don't dry out this summer.

    By and large, hellebores planted in good soil need little, if any, fertilizer. A nice mulch should be enough. The yellowish leaves of the plant in your first photo however make me suspect it lacks enough nitrogen. Since organic fertilizers are often slow-acting, I would apply a small sprinkle of the fast-acting nitrogen in Ammonium Sulphate. Apply sparingly and monitor closely. If the leaves green up within a few days and you feel that lack of nitrogen is the problem, you can then switch to an organic fertilizer until the plants are better established in a year or two.
     
    Daniel Mosquin likes this.
  3. davesmunroe

    davesmunroe Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks Margot,

    Some facts on their planting - I got them this Spring from Phoenix Perrenials in Richmond (so hopefully there's not a major disease issue w/ them, as their plants always tend to be of high quality). They're planted in a well drained area, and I enriched the surrounding soil w/ compost when digging them in. It's the north side of my house, so the space is open on three sides and above, but doesn't receive direct sun due to its proximity to the wall of the house. I kept the bed wet through the dry month of May (water every few days), and it's been moist w/ rain otherwise. pH shouldn't be an issue, as I balanced it well last year.

    I'll try trimming off those sickly looking branches and add some quick nitrogen. Some Heuchera I planted at the same time have been doing exceptionally well, but these Hellebores have disappointed so far.
     
  4. Margot

    Margot Active Member

    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Nanoose Bay, BC Canada
    If I were you, I'd be either taking the plants or emailing photos of the plants to Phoenix Perennials asap. I bought an expensive hellebore from another well-known garden centre that promotes hellebores which went downhill for 3 years and then disappeared. Sometimes the problem is with the plant, not with the growing conditions. I hope you kept your receipt.
     

Share This Page