One of the most ethereal and beautiful flowers gracing our flower designs is the elusive hellebore.
How to process and revive Hellebore
How to Process & Revive Hellebore
Hellebore can be expensive and if you’re not sure how to condition it properly, you might be too cautious in your flower purchases to experiment with it.
I’ve had a couple clients tell me this week that they’ve never had any luck with cut hellebore and asked me if I could suggest some flower care tips.
The first thing to be aware of is knowing if your hellebore was cut at the correct stage.
The MOST IMPORTANT factor in the quality of your hellebore is its cut stage
"Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
Hans Christian Andersen
When you select or receive a bunch that was cut too early, there is absolutely nothing you can do to make them last. A mature hellebore has dropped the seedpod and most (or all) of the stamen. A few remaining is okay, but if the seedpod is intact or visible, you know that you are in trouble.
Here’s an example of an immature hellebore flower:
Here’s an example of a mature hellebore flower:
Once you’ve confirmed that your flower was cut at the correct stage, you can start conditioning your cut helleborus.
If you've selected a fresh bunch with hydrated stems and perky blossoms, processing is a breeze.
- Remove any low foliage that may sit in the water
- Cut the stems at a sharp angle
- Place them in a tall container using cold water and the correct amount of flower preservative for the volume of water used
- I like to acclimate the flowers for a couple hours in a 60-degree (F) room before transferring them to my 40°(F) flower cooler
As long as the flowers were harvested correctly, helleborus should last in the cooler for at least a week
(maybe more with proper care)
...and they'll still be beautiful used in your designs.
For those of us that have had the sad experience of receiving a properly cut
yet still wilted, soft, and not-so-perfect bunch
I have taken the liberty of performing an experiment to show you how to successfully revive Hellebore.
Keep in mind, this will not work if you have old product – once a flower has aged past its prime – there is no fountain of youth to bring them back.
This experience brought to you by a bunch of helleborus received from a recent shipment.
I only order hellebore directly from local growers or from Holland. I trust the Dutch because they have set the standard for cultivation, selection, and grading flowers.
Anywho, I took the flowers out of the box and you can imagine my disappointment when I cut them and put them in water and they looked like this:
They were completely unusable – or in my case unsellable.
I couldn’t offer these to a florist in this condition!
I opened up my copy of Cut Flowers of the World to see if they had any advice on how to bring these flowers back to life.
The author’s had this to say:
“Recut the stems and place them in a general preservative solution.
Flowers can be stored for a quite a few days at 41-43° F, but then do so in a preservative.”
Not all that helpful, but I know where my cooler averages about that temperature so at least I knew where to place them.
I also asked my Facebook florist friends and did a quick google search to vett the advice they gave. I found varied information from boiling water, just cut and hydrate, burn the ends, or split the stems, etc.
With all of these suggestions, paired with my own floral expertise, I was able to narrow down the care to a clear concept of what hellebore will positively respond to.
I gently handled my helleborus bunch and performed the following procedure:
- Cut the stems at an angle
- Use floral scissors or pruners to make a small incision right above where you cut the flower ends – the reason I don’t completely split the stem is because I am trying to keep the maximum amount of xylem vessels intact
- Burn the ends of the flowers – I burned the stems with the flame to allow them to become hot, but not singed
- Place in deep clean, cold water with the correct amount of preservative for the volume of water used
- Use newspaper or a candle pillar to support the stems while they’re hydrating
- Keep in a 6o°-ish F environment for a couple hours to acclimate the flowers and allow them to hydrate (you should start to see a couple perking up after this)
- Place in the cooler overnight (40 to 45° F)
The Next day...
Next time I am going to compare the boiling water method, burning the ends, and doing nothing extraordinary to see how the results vary. For now, this was my experience and it totally worked out in my favor.
What's your go to method for helleborus?
Leave a comment and let us know!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi! I'm Casey, the head cheese over here at Going Bloom. I started my floral career on the wholesale side. I fell in love with the flowers and ended up learning a little bit about flower design. Flash forward a few years and here I am! I was featured in Florist Review magazine as one of 35 of the most influential people in the floral industry under 35. I design a little on the side for fun, but my main passion is helping floral designers make their flower dreams come true!
- Tags: Flower Care
- Casey Wagner