At this time of year they are my most favourite flower. Mainly because there are no other flowers around in such abundance. If you would like to grow and propagate then then head over to my other blog, How to grow Hellebores.
These truly are winter beauties but the one thing I get asked each year is how to make them last longer in the vase. So many of my florists say that they will no longer use them in arrangements as they die so quickly and It’s very frustrating to have a bunch of perfect beautiful stems only to find them droopy and wilted only a few hours after cutting.
The secret here is to be patient, very patient! They need to be harvested at the proper stage when they are mature and ripe. It’s very tempting to rush out and cut them all as soon as they open up but this will lead to a sure failure with hours. You will need to wait a few weeks………. at least !!! for them to ripen.
What this means is that they have dropped their stamens and the seed pods have started to develop. The more developed the pod is, the longer the vase life. So if you are buying them from a wholesaler ensure you check them thoroughly first and don’t buy if they not ripe.
You can see the difference in the photos below, the ones on the top row have their stamens still and no seed pods can be seen. Those on the bottom ropw are losing, or have lost their stamens and the seed pod has started to develop. Cut them at this stage and if you can leave a bit longer then all the better! I know they are not as pretty but it makes a huge difference.
The next thing is proper conditioning. Dipping the ends in boiling water for 20 seconds will help and you can also try slitting the stems vertically a few times to enable more uptake of water. Then pop into water up to their necks. It really is that simple …….. patience! And good luck