Leten Rose

Scientific Name: Helleborus orientalis
Zones 2-10, 14-24, 31-41
Full sun in winter; partial to full shade for rest of year
Regular watering

Lenten rose blooms late in winter, bearing nodding, 2-inch flowers in shades of whitish green, soft purple, or rose, often spotted with purple. The "petals" are actually sepals that shelter the tiny true flowers, which are nestled in the blossom center surrounded by a clump of yellow stamens.

These petal-like sepals remain on the plant for several months, long after the true flowers have faded and seeds have set. Leaves are large (to 1 foot across) and dark green, divided into five to 11 tooth-edged leaflets; they're evergreen in mild-winter climates, though you may want to remove tattered foliage during fall cleanup. Both foliage and flower stems emerge from a central point; plants eventually form clumps about 2 feet tall and wide.

No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot and crown rot are occasional problems. A rugged and easy-to-grow plant.