Lenten Roses Are At Their Beautiful Best

A mass of Lenten rose seedlings in full bloom

Flower colors range from pure white to deep maroon and all the shades in between.

If you love late winter, early spring bloomers here is one of my favorite plants. Lenten roses thrive in our area in shade and seed easily. Most of the time I talk about this plant in January when they have a few blooms showing color, but after thinking about it that may be a mistake. Right now they are sensational and in full bloom. Generally every bloom stalk has several flowers. It seems every time I write about this amazing perennial, someone complains that I leave out their favorite selection. So just know that there are some amazing named selections with beautiful colorful variations. And while I have several of the named selection, I somehow like the masses that are seedling variations best of all. The mass at the Southern Living Garden at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens is always worth a trip for me to see each spring. While the perennials are expensive to buy, oftentimes friends are generous sharing their seedlings. They are not really hard to grow at all, as long as you have a fertile shady area that can be watered during dry periods in summer. They are somewhat drought tolerant once they are established. They like our slightly alkaline soils. While they seed readily, the seedlings are slow growing. If I want to move them or give some away, I like to transplant after a growing season. The main maintenance is if the leaves are damaged, they need to be removed before the new blooms start in winter. Some of my gardening friends remove all the old foliage every year, and it certainly does not seem to injure the plants. If you want to buy seedlings you can purchase them at the annual Birmingham Botanical Gardens plant sale in early April. If you prefer named selections, there are excellent mail order sources.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

4 thoughts on “Lenten Roses Are At Their Beautiful Best

  1. Thank you for being with us when we brought them home for the first time! Still have some here and some green & golds! Hope you are well, John!

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