Plants We Love – Bearsfoot Hellebore

Bearsfoot Hellebore, Helleborus foetidusBearsfoot Hellebore

By Erica A Klene

There are many reasons as to why the Bearsfoot Hellebore is one of the “Plants We Love.”  Many of us have that one spot that gives us trouble in the yard.   One of the “problem areas” in the garden is the dry shady area.  Look no more, problem solved!  The Bearsfoot Hellebore love dry shady areas.  They are evergreen so you will have interest year round, another reason why it is one of the “Plants We Love.”  Find out why else below in this post!


Bearsfoot Hellbore have small nodding bell shaped flowers that are chartreuse in color.  In our area (Northern Virginia) they start blooming in February.  Depending on the variety some have a red rim around the outer edge of the flowers and some do not.

Bearsfoot HelleboreFoliage

Leaves on the Bearsfoot Hellebore are a little bigger than your hand and are serrated.  The shapes of the leaves are palmate.  Color of the foliage varies with the different varieties, silver, gray cast, red tinged, light green or dark green.

Other facts

The Bearsfoot Hellebore blooms on second year growth.  Second year growth means that the new growth will not produce flowers that same year, but it will the following year. They are native to the western, southern parts of Europe.  The zones they are hardy in are 5 – 9, but do best in zones 6 -7.  Not too cold or too hot… like Goldilocks.  Also, when planting allow plenty of space for it, reason being they do not take well to being divided or transplanted once established.  If divided they will need some time to recuperate from it.


There are many great cultivars of this plant.  Here are a few.

  • Frenchy– foliage is silver with some red to it and is more delicate looking, almost lacey
  • Gold Bullion – bright chartreuse new foliage
  • Krenitsky – known for their very dark green foliage
  • Piccadilly – foliage is dark black in color, some may have red markings on the flower stems
  • Red Silver – foliage is a pewter red, flowers are lime green with a red rim around the edge
  • Wester Flisk- a great cultivar, said that it is more reliably red/purple tinged than others


If you would like to try some of the Bearsfoot Hellbores try your local nursery, plant sales or  by mail order.  Pine Knot Farm is a great Hellebore grower and hybridizer here on the east coast.  They attend different plant sales along the east coast as well as mail order and have open days where you can go out to their farm.  Other nurseries that carry them are Sunshine Farm and Gardens and Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.

StatisticsBearsfoot Hellebore

Key feature: Year Round Interest

Plant type:  Perennial

Garden styles:  Cottage, Woodland

Deciduous/evergreen: Evergreen

Cold hardiness zones: 5 – 9

Light needs: Full shade to part sun

Water Needs: Well drained, some watering till established

Average landscape size: 18 -24” tall depending on cultivar

Growth habit: Mounding

Special features: Year round interest

Landscape uses:  Sweeps,   or singularly

Flower color: Lime Green

Foliage color: Dark Green, silver, red tinged depends on