I received seed of Helleborus thibetanus packed in vermiculite (moist pack). It says needs cold cycle or multiple warm/cold cycles to germinate. I put the seed packet in a jar in the refrigerator. Should I plant it, cover the pot or not, and put the whole pot in the refrigerator and for how long. Or should I leave the seed packet in the fridge and then plant the seeds outdoors in the spring?
Kristl Waleck gives great advice germinating hellebores here:
click: About us>>Germination Corner>>Hellebore Germination
Does anyone have Cole Burrell's book on hellebores?
I sowed my own H.thibetanus the day I collected it from the seed pod. here is a post on the Scottish Rock forum about its germination and my disagreement with the 'experts'
You will see mine germinated the first autumn about five months from sowing and my experience which I have repeated differs completely from the literature.
I would sow them now and keep them frost free
That all seeds of an individual species do not act uniformly is very normal. It's one of nature's defenses against a one time calamity-not putting all your eggs in one basket. And H. thibetanus may well deviated from other hellebore species, too.
There are many examples where, if very fresh seed is sown, the conditioning normally need to germinate is bypassed. Maple seeds, for example, if sown fresh germinate immediately. Left to dry somewhat, they will require a cold-moist treatment to germinate.