Christmas rose is the perfect gift for your garden

Master gardener Brian Minter says helleborus niger varieties will grow through the winter and add colour to your garden during the chilly months.

Helleborus niger varieties will grow through the winter and add colour to your garden

Helleborus niger varieties grow throughout the winter months. (Shutterstock)

While the halls are getting decked with boughs of holly, why not add some colour to your garden, too?

It's the most wonderful time of year to grow the most festive of plants — the Christmas rose.

Native to the alpine regions of Austria and Switzerland, the hardy Christmas rose — or Helleborus niger — can grow at temperatures well below zero degrees, and several varieties will bloom just in time for the holidays, according to master gardener Brian Minter.

"The early ones are pure white," Minter told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC's BC Almanac. "You can actually see these wonderful white blooms in the winter time."

Many of the varieties on sale were originally bred by the Hueber family from Germany, Minter says, including a golden collection, and even a 'cinnamon snow' Christmas rose.

Some added bonuses

Aside from adding some extra colour, Minter says there's some extra perks to bringing the Christmas rose into your garden, especially if you live in the Lower Mainland.

"When it becomes mild, [bees] are out and about, and they don't have much to find in terms of nectar and pollen," said Minter.

"Guess what? Helleborus provides that in spades."

Another bonus — the Christmas rose won't attract deer.

"The deer who love to chew things and munch things don't eat them — so we've got all kinds of pluses," said Minter.

"We're looking after nature, we're preventing nature from chewing up plants in our garden, you've got colour in winter time, a plant that is really really hardy.

"It's such a great easy plant to have around, and the fact that the deer don't munch on them — even better."

Master gardener Brian Minter shares tips for planting the Christmas rose. 22:59

With files from CBC's BC Almanac