Helleborus 'Onyx Odyssey'
Photo Courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.
| ||Series Name: WINTER JEWELS™ Series|
Common Name: Lenten Rose
In her quest for the perfect double near-black hellebore, Marietta O'Byrne conceived this pristine selection.
The very large 3", fully double flowers are slate purple to near-black and have 15-20 petals per flower, giving them a very full, fluffy appearance. They are downward facing like most hellebores. Once the flowers set seed, the petals retain much of their coloration and remain on the flower, surrounding the swelling seed pod, extending the interest long past the initial bloom time.
The new foliage of this deep purple-black flowering selection is purple when it emerges in early spring before it matures into a lovely shade of green.
'Onyx Odyssey' was hybridized by Marietta O'Byrne of Eugene, Oregon. Marietta has spent over 15 years pursuing her passion for hellebores, meticulously selecting and hand-crossing only the best stock plants which she has gathered from around the world.
Remaining true to her German heritage, Marietta is very precise in her methods, keeping detailed breeding records and exact labels on all of her crosses, and maintaining excellent cultural practices. Her goal is to develop true color strains of hellebores which are vigorous growers and produce large 2-3inch diameter flowers with a rounded form. Only the most profuse bloomers make the cut in Marietta's breeding work.
Hellebores are the harbingers of spring, blooming for six weeks or more beginning in late winter. They are often flowering during the Christian season of Lent, from which they get their common name, Lenten Rose. This is the perfect plant for naturalizing in moist, woodland areas where its extensive root system will spread as far as it is allowed.
Intro Year: 2008
Breeder: Marietta O'Byrne
Origin: Not Native to North America
Sun or Shade?:
Part shade (4-6 hrs. direct sun)
Full shade (< 4 hrs. direct sun)
Wet or dry?:
Low water needs
Average water needs
Need critter resistant plants?:
How fast should it grow?:
When should it bloom?:
Looking for seasonal interest?:
Evergreen (in some or all zones)
How's your soil?:
Sweet or Sour Soil?:
Neutral Soil (pH = 7.0)
Alkaline Soil (pH > 7.0)
What's your garden style?:
For best bloom performance the first year, we recommend potting liners up in early fall. If potted up in 1-gallon containers early fall, about 20-25% should bloom the following spring. This is a remarkable percentage relative to other hellebore strains. Liners potted up in spring will bloom the following spring.
Hellebores are enjoyable to grow because they are low-maintenance and disease/pest-free. Simply trim back last year's foliage in the spring. They can adapt to almost any growing conditions. Though they prefer rich, moist, organic soil, they will also grow in sandy or clay soil. They can even tolerate short periods of drought. The soil pH can range anywhere from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.
Hellebores are shade plants that need to be protected from the hot afternoon sun. They will grow in full shade under large deciduous trees as long as they receive full sun from winter to spring before the trees get their leaves.
To increase the number of hellebores in your garden, mulch them heavily in the fall. The new seedlings will grow in this mulch come spring and can then be transplanted elsewhere in the garden. WARNING: Hellebores are poisonous. Do not consume any part of the plant!
In popular legend, Lenten Rose were blooming outside the stable in Bethlehem, hence the name "Lenten" rose. However, Hellebores aren't native to that area.