Web site created by M. Byford © Hazles Cross farm nursery
Hellebores are truly remarkable and will produce hybrids amongst many closely related species and also between some of the distantly related species.
The Victorians began work on this but it was Eric Smith, Helen Ballard and later Kevin Belcher and myself who continued the work of pushing the boundaries of what was possible.
Other breeders in Japan, Germany and Holland have produced new inter-sectional hybrids in the last few years
Helleborus niger is an unusual hellebores in evolutionary terms and it seems to have the ability to form occasional crosses with most other hellebore species. Usually these crosses are infertile and they show a range of characteristics somewhere between the parent plants.
Some of these crosses have only been successful a handful of times for example H. Niger x H thibetanus others such as H niger x H argutifolius are easy to achieve.
Inter-specific and inter-sectional hybrids
Helleborus x ballardiae
A cross between H. niger and H. lividus.
A very variable plant with a wide range of foliage marbling/variegation and flowers that can be white through to a striking pink. One of my favourites and a superb garden plant for a sunny spot having foliage interest all year and flowers for around 3 months. - sterile
Helleborus niger x H. thibetanus
A very difficult cross one plant was produced by Kevin Belcher at Ashwoods and called “pink ice”.
I have produced 2 plants which are rather more veined in the flowers and have more variegated foliage with tinges of pink. A stunning plant and hardy down to -27 C so far!
Sterile and only propagated by division - very slow and expensive to produce vigorous once established
Helleborus x ericsmithii
A cross between H.niger and H.x sternii (itself already across between the very closely related H. lividus and h. argutifolius.
It has similarities to H x ballardiae but usually has less variegated foliage - sterile
Helleborus x nigercors
A cross between H. niger and H.argutifolius. Quite tall with waxy green foliage occasionally variegated, flowers vary from green to white.-Considered sterile but can set viable seed occasionally. A good architectural garden plant
Helleborus x sternii
A cross between H. lividus and H. Argutifolius.
Very variable foliage, dentate with variable marbling and flowers from green to pink.
The foliage can vary between green and a glaucous silver/pewter. Needs a warm sheltered spot with minimal frost to perform at its best - in this setting it can make a most dramatic statement and is a very useful garden contrast plant.- fertile
Helleborus x “pink ice”
A new and unique cross made by Mike Byford Helleborus “Pink Marble”
Helleborus “Walburton’s Rosemary”
A cross between H. niger and a pink H. X hybridus
Helleborus x “snow white”
A cross between H niger and a white H. X hybridus