Country Living (UK)



If you’re patient and would like to try breeding your own plants, you’ll find that the large flowers make the transfer of pollen to the stigma relatively easy. The bud should be just opening with a little gap at the end of the petals. Peel the petals back carefully and pick an anther that has visible, ripe pollen on it, then, holding the filament of the anther, transfer the pollen to each individual stigma of another plant (not the same plant – inbred hellebores don’t do well) before gently pushing the petals back in place.

Tie a length of wool round the stem (see above) to mark the pollinated flower. Harvest the seed in May and sow fresh in pots of gritty soil-based compost. Stand the pots outdoors in dappled shade, protected from birds and mice with wire netting. The seedlings will germinate in winter and should be potted on until they reach flowering size, in about three years.

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