I don’t know if it is just us in the UK that have to tidy our hellebore leaves away so that they don’t spoil the flowers which will come in a couple of months time. Maybe it is because we live in a warm, damp climate that causes them to get a form of black spot similar to roses and the spores are passed onto the flowers as they emerge through the soil. I know , just once when I didn’t remove the damaged leaves, the flowers looked so awful and had to be cut away. If we all want to have flowers looking as they should, then I’m afraid there is work to be done. This is what I am hoping to see in a few weeks time.
We are aiming for flowers like these and in the previous photo, with no blemishes, these photos were taken last February.
I had to search through my photos for some time to try and find a picture of a flower showing the black spots of the fungus, this is the only one I could find, not too bad compared to how it would be if I hadn’t removed the leaves the previous autumn.
This is what I mean by the leaves getting a form of black spot, if it is very bad the whole leaf goes black, only one thing to do, cut it away and get rid of it, but NOT on the compost heap, that would just spread it around.
This leaf is even worse, I just hope this plant survives.
Most of my leaves are like this, just one or two spots, better to be safe than sorry, the leaves have to go and by this time of year they have done their job, providing nourishment for the plants, which don’t seem to mind having their leaves cut away.
Some of them are looking fine and will be left in place, but I will keep an eye on them.
At the same time as cutting the leaves away, I also give them a boost of fertiliser and a mulch of our own home made leaf mould. As well as feeding the plant and looking nicer, the mulch also prevents any spores that are already on the soil from splashing up in the rain onto the flowers as they emerge.
So, hopefully, this is what I will be looking for in 2 months time, lots of nice healthy plants and not a black spot to be seen, then it will all have been worth it.
It would be interesting to know if this problem only occurs in the mild, damp, west of the UK or if it is more widespread around the world, do let me know please if you have the same problem.