Helleborus, a Resilient Winter Bloomer

With more than two decades of experience, Het Wilgenbroek is a trusted breeder and supplier of top-notch qualify of plants for you!

By: AN THEUNYNCK | 20-12-2023 | 5 min read
Flowers Perennial Flowers

HellePlant Center Het Wilgenbroek is a leading Helleborus nursery with international fame. Het Wilgenbroek is intensively involved with breeding and new selections of Helleborus varieties annually. For more than two decades, they have dedicated their efforts and expertise to this venture, earning them international fame and recognition in the Helleborous category.

Hellebores also referred to as the 'Christmas Rose' or the 'Lenten Rose' is a symbol of renewal, rebirth, and hope, that is exactly the spirit of Christmas. Its tenacity emanates from its ability to bloom during difficult, cold winter days, hence the name 'winter bloomers'. Even more interesting is the impressively long shelf life one is set to enjoy with these winter bloomers, which often lasts up to a month!

Plants and Cut Flowers at Het Wilgenbroek

Het Wilgenbroek has already set up several trials together with a few growers. It should be possible to bring new selections to the market within a few years with colored flowers that can be kept for at least one month as cut flowers!

Until now, the focus has mainly been on 'plant selections'. But currently, cut flower growers are also asking for the creation of new selections that are good for long-life Helleborus cut flowers. We are also working hard on this. 


A Design Incorporating Helleborus Orientalis


For this reason, they are consistently pushing the limits of their pollination and selection process to align with the market demands. Known for its Prowse in the selection and introduction of resilient and resourceful Helleborus varieties, Het Wilgenbroek is comprised of family members with a passion for garden plants, with exceptional quality!

Helleborus Is a Fixed Value in Contemporary Art

And this has everything to do with the naturalness of the plant. The flowers are best used when they bloom naturally. Hellebore does not like to be forced, although many growers do this to have flowers for Christmas Day. Selections that bloom naturally are therefore best suited to use in flower arrangements. Certain Niger varieties (Christmas roses) naturally bloom before Christmas. This is the best-known Helleborus, but there are now selections that have a longer shelf life in flower arrangements. Especially plants obtained by crossing different types of Helleborus such as Helleborus Candy Love, Helleborus Snow Love, and Helleborus Emma.


Helleborus Niger


Helleborus Niger has shown during winter to be among the real pinnacles of plants that can be used in flower arrangements. The plants have sturdy and long stems. The flowers do not fade and can be stored for at least 1 month in water. The color is limited to white - sometimes with a pink discoloration, but this is ideal in the winter period. 

Helleborus Selections Ideal for Use in Early Spring

The stem-flowered Helleborus: H. Argutifolius, H.x Sternii, and H. Foetidus; these selections have great ornamental value due to their cluster-shaped flowers. The fresh green flowers of Argutifolius and Foetidus are very easy to process in green-white flower arrangements. They give a natural look to the bouquet. Helleborus x Sternii has more red coloration and is therefore ideal for Valentine's floral needs. The flowers are cluster-shaped on a sturdy stem, store them well in water, but do not cut the trusses when they are just starting to bloom, cut them when the plants have finished flowering.


Helleborus x Sternii


However, in the midst of it all, the flowers remain nice and fresh green because a Helleborus has no petals but sepals. A sepal does not wither and remains on the plant. There is discoloration to green, but this also has its charm.  

Helleborus Orientalis Hybrids

More known are of course the Orientalis hybrids. They are available with white to black flowers. Unfortunately, the flowers do not keep well on floral foam and are therefore best processed with water tubes into which the flower stem is inserted. That way, the flowers can be preserved for at least one week. The wide variety of flower colors offers many possibilities for the florist to create colorful, natural flower arrangements in the winter or spring period with flowers that people see blooming in their garden at the same time.


Helleborus Orientalis


Bring the garden into the living room with it, with Helleborus Orientalis. The red selections of Helleborus orientalis are also well-suited for Valentine's Day. They are specially selected for their strong flower stems. Do not over-expose these selections to direct sunlight, since they may wither away fast. The aforementioned selections such as Candy Love and Emma, ​​on the other hand, can withstand the bright sun very well.  

Helleborus Days and Helleborus Award

Every year in February, the Het Wilgenbroek Nursery organizes open days where Helleborus is in the spotlight. As a visitor, you can admire and buy the latest varieties of Helleborus. Het Wilgenbroek is creating a special Helleborus garden, especially for this occasion, full of ideas to create or renew your garden. In addition, each year they invite a top florist to work creatively with Helleborus.




Get ready to be inspired by the floral magic of the master florist, Geert Pattyn, who will grace the Het Wilgenbroek's open days from February 1 to February 18th, 2024. The following are some of the headlining activities to look forward to; fruit tree pruning course, wine tasting, sustainable tree management, brunch, and the highlight of it all, the Helleborus Floral Award 2024, set for the 17th February 2024! 

What Will the Future Offer for Helleborus?

Soon, many new selections will be launched specially created for floral art. Selection will be based on the durability of the flowers and also the sturdy flower stems. The processing of natural material is a must for every florist. Using seasonal plants in compositions or bouquets creates a little bit of a garden in the living room. 

Het Wilgenbroek is consistently innovating to stay ahead of the market curve and the demands thereof. The breeder acknowledges that breeding based on the growers' and florists' needs is the best approach to stay competitive while breeding and selecting strong and valuable Helleborus varieties.

An Theunynck profile picture
An Theunynck

Publishing and flowers, writing and flowers, organizing and flowers, networking and flowers. This has been my daily activity for more than fifteen years now. For more than 12 years I have been editor-in-chief of the inspiration magazine Fleur creative, editor at the German trade magazine Florieren, I have been working at Fleuramour, Green Academy - Florademy (floral school for professionals from 2007-2010), Fleur Talent! / Upcoming Florist ( projects with young florists), the Daniel Ost Academy.

I have a blog and inspirational platform

Flowers! Flowers make life so much more beautiful, so much friendlier, they bring so much atmosphere. I just want everyone to know!


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