Christmas rose care: watering, fertilising & more


I am currently studying agricultural and food economics. As a keen hobby gardener, plants take up most of my free time. A few years ago, I got especially interested in herbs, which is why I completed my studies to become a certified herbalist in 2018.

Favourite fruit: apples, cherries
Favourite vegetables: potatoes, fennel

To ensure that your Christmas roses bloom safely in winter, they need proper care. Here, you will learn everything you need to know about Christmas rose care.

two pink christmas roses
A well cared for Christmas rose will spread and produce many flowers

If site conditions are suitable, Christmas roses (Helleborus niger) are quite undemanding in care. The robust evergreen plant can cope even with severe frosts (down to -10 °C) and long periods of drought. Nevertheless, you should take good care of your Christmas rose. Like all plants, Christmas roses need water, nutrients and light in sufficient quantities to develop optimally. However, the effort will definitely be worth it. After all, when a Christmas rose is looked after well, the stems grow larger from year to year and are more willing to bloom.

We explain below how to properly water, fertilise and prune your Christmas roses. We have also summarised the most important points for the care of Christmas roses in pots.

Christmas rose care: watering

Christmas roses prefer fresh moist soil. Sufficient watering must be ensured, especially during the flowering period from November to February. Therefore, in the event of drought, Christmas roses should be watered on frost-free days with normal tap water. But even outside the flowering period, the root ball should never dry out completely. Therefore, still keep an eye on this ornamental perennial over the summer months and water if necessary. However, avoid waterlogging, because too wet an environment can, for example, cause a fungal infestation.


Christmas roses do not have particularly high nutrient requirements. Outdoors, a year-around mulch layer of fresh compost, leaves, or grass clippings is usually perfectly adequate as fertiliser. It decomposes over time and is transformed into valuable humus by soil organisms, which is why it should be renewed regularly.

single tiny white christmas rose
A mulch layer of compost or leaves is a suitable fertiliser for Christmas roses [Photo: Gajus/]

Earthworms, which are attracted to the organic material, additionally help aerate the soil. In addition, the mulch layer protects the surviving buds on the surface of the soil over the winter.

It is best to use a slow-release fertiliser such as our Plantura Flower Food when planting in pots. This is particularly environmentally friendly and can be easily incorporated into the top soil layers. Watering starts the decomposition process via soil organisms and the nutrients are gradually made available to the plant. If compost or leaves are not available in sufficient quantities in your garden, you can of course also use our Plantura Flower Food to fertilise your Christmas roses in beds too.

Flower Food, 1.5kg
Flower Food, 1.5kg
  • Perfect for flowering plants in the garden & on the balcony
  • For healthier plants with beautiful & long-lasting blossoms
  • Long-lasting fertiliser that is free from animal products - child & pet friendly

Pruning Christmas roses

Regular pruning is not necessary for Christmas roses. In early summer (May), simply cut the withered flower stalks off, so that the Christmas rose does not invest its energy in the formation of seed pods. The old foliage should only be removed when it is completely withered. This allows the plant to assimilate all remaining nutrients, to feed off it in the next flowering period. The removal of the old foliage also helps prevent the proliferation of fungal diseases and pests.

Caring for Christmas roses in pots

Christmas roses in pots have special requirements for their care due to the limited amount of substrate. Regular watering is necessary so that the root ball of a Christmas rose does not dry out completely. In order for your Christmas rose to produce plenty of flowers, you can also work some fertiliser into the substrate when planting. In addition, you can use liquid fertiliser regularly (every 14 days) during flowering.

To prevent the root ball of the Christmas rose from freezing through during the cold winter months, it is best to wrap the pot with bubble wrap or a jute bag during this time. If you place the planter on a wooden or polystyrene board, the Christmas rose will also be protected from the cold from below. Then, in the spring, unless you want to harvest seeds, you can gradually cut off the withered flowers. You can leave the foliage until it withers completely.