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Hellebores rotting at bottom of the stem

We brought some Dana’s Dulcet at the end of February. As the weeks go on we are losing more and more flowers, they are going manky at the bottom of the stem rather than the flowers wilting. The plant itself seems fine as we have new foliage growth coming through. We have two plants in a container with a clematis.

Is this the flowers just dying as summer/warm weather approaches or could there be an issue with over watering or something like that?


  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 2,450
    They shouldn't rot at the base, in fact, they should be making seed if you haven't removed them. I have never seen this problem but I think you should look at watering - how often and how much are they getting?
  • 16lupinway16lupinway Posts: 3
    They get about 2L over a weekend and more in the week if the weather has been warm. They are in off the ground containers with good drainage.

    I’ve tried to take images of our latest casualty to show how the flower seems completely fine except right at the bottom. We’re just a bit stumped as the other white hellebore we got is doing the same thing.

  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 553
    Over watering?
    As @Posy says never seen this before but then all ours are in the ground and we never water them.
  • februarysgirlfebruarysgirl Posts: 250
    I had that the first time I had hellebores and it was overwatering. They were perfectly fine the year after. I transferred them to pots a few years ago and only water them when the weather gets warm. I haven't watered them this year yet but they're flowering away and doing fine by themselves at the moment.
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 2,450
    I would stick a finger into the soil. If the surface is still wet, don't water. Let it dry out a bit between watering and see if things improve. 
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 8,278
    Could the hellebores have been bent first - sat on, trodden on? Peed on?
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 2,377
    Thanks @februarysgirl. For the first time one of our pot grown hellebores did this and my suspicion was it was too dry. I drenched it. Well that was a mistake; promise I’ll do better next year.
  • februarysgirlfebruarysgirl Posts: 250
    @BenCotto When it happened to me I was very new to gardening and just thought I'd bought a dodgy plant. Fortunately I kept it rather than chucking it (which was unusual for me back then) and when it flowered the next year OH's mum told me where I'd gone wrong. 
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 2,450
    Good thing they are quite tough!
  • Some of the newer varieties seem especially prone to doing this. But as others have said, just remove the rotted stems and dispose, don’t worry too much. Over several years I have had this happen—it varies year on year and oddly, the degree to which plants are afflicted seems to have little relationship with the amount of flower the following year! I once asked the RHS about it but even they were stumped. 

    I’d just add that if your plant’s flowering stems are doing this now, could it be hastened because the flowering season is reaching an end just now? In which case you can quite safely cut away all manky flower stems at this point. I have a horrible tendency to leave mine because I rather love the dying colours. With one I have crumbled this year and removed the old stalks. Others will no doubt produce still more seedlings. Never mind... I have friends... if I can bear to part with them that is...
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