Helleborus lividus corsicus is an evergreen perennial Corsican hellebore. It is also known as Helleborus argutifolins and before that simply as H. corsicus, is one of the gems of the border. The habit of the plant is distinctive. In spring, stout stems arise from its center, carrying dark, grayish-green, leathery leaves, each divided into three saw-edged leaflets.
By the end of the year, the stems have each developed a great pointed bud. From this emerges a spreading head of flowers, which open in succession in March and April – but sometimes, in mild winters, as early as December and as late as May.
Each flower is like a large, lime-green buttercup, composed of sepals that remain while the flowers are developing their seed pods in spring. Here is a rare chance for a winter association of evergreen plants.
Make hellebore the centerpiece, and frame it with the 9 ft high shrub Mahonia japonica, which produces fragrant lemon flowers from October or November to March, and flank it with clumps of the 2 ft tall, pale purple-flowered stinking iris (Iris foetidissima), whose glossy swords of foliage contrast effectively with that of the hellebore.
In front of this grouping, the small-leaved variegated ivy Hedera helix ‘Glacier’ would make the attractive ground cover and a fine launching pad for snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) and Iris reticulata.
How to Grow Helleborus lividus corsicus
Helleborus lividus corsicus is ideally planted in autumn, 2 ft apart, in ordinary, fertile garden soil. There are two months of chilling moist atmosphere that is best for seedlings. A partial shade is best for this plant with leafy stems and large leaves. Disturb established plants as little as possible, but cut off faded flower stems and old leaves in summer.
The proper sunlight and accommodating growth will help this plant to return for many years with careful fertilization. A winter association of evergreen is centered on H.I. orsicus with Mabmia japonica behind. In leaf in front is Iris helix ‘Glacier’, without a foetidissima and Hedera with snowdrops and Iris reticulata in flower.