Broad Leaved Helleborine: Growing Tips

Epipactis helleborine, commonly known as Broad Leaved Helleborine, is a type of terrestrial orchid characterized by its rhizomatous growth and striking flower spikes.

These spikes, blooming in mid to late summer, showcase up to 50 small blooms, each blending pink and green hues. The orchid reaches heights of up to 36 inches (90 cm) and features 3 to 10 hairy, stem-borne leaves.

These leaves are broad, oval-shaped, and prominently veined with a dull green color. Post-flowering, typically two months later, the plant’s foliage begins to fade and eventually vanishes in winter.

This robust plant is known for its vigorous growth, often forming extensive colonies over time. In some regions, its aggressive spread categorizes it as a weed.

Native to a vast region spanning Europe and Asia, the Broad Leaved Helleborine thrives in diverse habitats including forests, swamps, riverbeds, and human-disturbed areas like lawns, sidewalks, and gardens.

In Europe, wasps are its primary pollinators.

  • Cultivation-wise, the plant does well in fertile, humus-rich, moist yet well-drained soil with a pH ranging from alkaline to slightly acidic.
  • Adaptable to a range of climates and typically thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 9.
  • It prefers either full or partial shade.
  • With a growth potential of 8 to 36 inches in height (20-90 cm) and a width of about 12 inches (30 cm), this orchid is an excellent choice for various garden settings, including beds and borders, cottage and woodland gardens, and as an underplanting for shrubs and roses.
  • It’s virtually disease-free, though vigilance against slugs and snails is advised.
  • Propagation is typically done in spring via division, ensuring each rhizome segment has at least one growth point.

The geographical distribution of Epipactis helleborine is extensive, ranging from Portugal to China, and even northern Africa.