Culture for these evergreen, perennial aristocrats of the winter garden is simple but specific. High shifting shade, as that of deciduous trees, is best — they like the winter sun. Soil should be amended generously with pine bark soil conditioner and/or composted manure. Once established, do not fuss over them too much. We do not apply chemical fertilizer unless it is high quality slow release. We do occasionally top dress with composted cow manure in September and October. Mulch with shredded leaves, pine bark or pine needles.

Plant hellebores where you can enjoy them. Maybe near a path or walk you use frequently or in a prominent area near a window which can be viewed from inside. The blooms and foliage are “too good to miss” and only the hardiest of gardeners will go often to a far corner of the garden in January and February when hellebores are in bloom. Ferns, rohdea and hosta are good companion plants for hellebores and both add a different texture and color to the garden after the hellebores have passed their peak time.

Helleborus are poisonous if eaten. Do not consume any part of this plant.


This needled evergreen is much better suited to the heat of the south than taxus (the true yew). While deer strip all the needles from the taxus we have in our woodland garden, they never bother cephalotaxus even though they are both planted near each other. We grow the three forms described in our catalog and find all to be very useful in the shade/part shade garden.

Cephalotaxus prefers afternoon shade although it will thrive in full sun if given sufficient water. Growth rate is somewhat slow and it is rarely bothered by insects or disease.

Requires average soil and adequate drainage. Easily maintained with once a year pruning if needed.

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