Some species are best grown in containers, others will take to containers well. Helleborus lividus and H. vesicarius are most conveniently grown in large pots; they can then be brought into the necessary frost protection in autumn and moved outside again in spring. Helleborus x ballardiae. H. x ericsmithi and Helleborus x sternii also make excellent plants for pots. Helleborus hybridus and other species are less successful as they produce very extensive root growth and are also susceptible to rotting if water collects in the crown after watering.
These plants not only look best in terracotta pots, but by allowing moisture to evaporate through the sides terracotta helps prevent waterlogging. Drainage is crucial: crock the pots well and use a well-drained but rich compost such as John Innes Number Three with the addition of 25% grit, by volume. Top with 1/2in/12mm of grit after potting.
Water attentively during the growing season and feed regularly with any balanced liquid feed. Every year or two, remove the plant from its pot, scrape off some of the compost and replace with fresh; after a few years in the same pot move the plant to a larger size.

Words ©Graham Rice or © Graham Rice/Elizabeth Strangman 1993-2001. Pictures ©Graham Rice/ unless stated. All Rights Reserved.