Lenten rose is an early-blooming perennial. In bloom in late winter and very early spring, Lenten rose is one of my favorite perennials for many reasons.
First and foremost are its early-season, large flowers. It begins blooming in early to mid March. The nodding flowers are large, up to four inches wide when fully open with a cluster of bright-yellow stamens in the center. Unlike Christmas rose which bears only white flowers, flower color of Lenten rose ranges from white to deep purple, with shades of rose and plum as well. Many have spotted or speckled flowers. Hybridizers have been working with Lenten rose to create varieties with even more showy colors.
Another reason I grow Lenten rose is its long season of bloom. Not only does it provide extra-early color in the garden, it also has very-long-lasting flowers. Lenten rose is in bloom for up to four months in the garden, easily making it one of the longest-blooming perennials. Few perennials have such a long blooming period.
Foliage of Lenten rose is also very handsome. Its glossy, deep-green leaves are a foot wide or more and are deeply divided into seven to nine thin sections. The edges of the leathery leaves are toothed. Lenten rose, like Christmas rose, has evergreen foliage that remains attractive all year long. Older leaves are replaced by new leaves each spring. Lenten rose becomes established quickly in the garden. A mature plant stands about a foot and a half tall and forms a clump a couple of feet wide. The flowers rise through the foliage to stand above it.
Lenten rose is a carefree perennial happy just about anywhere in the garden. It grows and blooms well in a variety of conditions from part sun to shade. Like Christmas rose, Lenten rose prefers moist soil. Fertilize Lenten rose in early spring as the new leaves appear.
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