For Christmas, a festive plant that deer won’t eat

The \'\'Christmas Rose\'\' is not a rose but a hellebore -- cold-hardy, shade-tolerant perennials that deer and Evil Squirrels don\'t bother because they\'re toxic. (Thinkstock)
The best Christmas gift for gardeners

Mike McGrath | November 14, 2014 11:17 pm

The “Christmas Rose” – a festive plant that deer don’t eat

Loyal listener Leon just emailed to say he looked for some “Christmas Rose” plants for his garden and scored big at the holiday plant display at a local supermarket. “All three plants are in full flower” he writes. “Should I plant them outside right after the holidays? If not, what’s the best way to keep them healthy inside until spring?”

Like the “Lenten Rose,” the “Christmas Rose” is not a rose but a hellebore — cold-hardy, shade-tolerant perennial that deer and evil squirrels don’t bother because they’re toxic. As their common names suggest, hellebores are among the first plants to flower in the garden, often blooming in winter — at least when they’ve been well-established and growing out there for a while.

“Forced” plants like these and other holiday bloomers should stay indoors in bright light until spring. Don’t feed them while they’re inside and water them very lightly. The only thing that can kill a hellebore is over-watering.

So, be sure to remove any holiday wrappings before you water. When the soil is saturated, you can replace the wrappings if you must, but ditch that plant-killing decorative foil as soon as the holidays are over.

Okay, so it Isn’t a rose and it doesn’t bloom in December


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