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Purple hebe flowers on green bushes
For those looking for a low-maintenance shrub that has a long flowering period and forms a tight, neat ball, hebe is a useful group of plants. They are ideal for new and renovated gardens, as they are great quick fillers.

 

What you need to know about hebe

Name: hebe, Hebe species and varieties.

Height: from small, tight shrubs of less than 0.5m to very large shrubs of 3m+.

Foliage: evergreen, glossy, dark green. Varieties with variegation and grey- and pink-tinged foliage are available.

Climate: prefers cold temperate, warm temperate, sub-tropical and tropical regions. Some are frost sensitive, but there are varieties that will tolerate frosts. 

Soil: prefers deep, well-drained soil, but is adaptable to most soil types.

Position: full sun or light shade.

Flowering and fruiting: showy clusters of small pink, white, blue or purple flowers.

Feeding: regular feeding with a balanced, controlled-release fertiliser.

Watering: young plants require reliable watering as they become established. Older plants will need supplemental watering in dry periods.

Appearance and characteristics of hebe

Hebe is an evergreen shrub that varies depending on the species or variety. There are some that look like small conifers and have tiny, scale-like leaves. Most are mid-range shrubs with glossy dark-green foliage. There are forms that have variegated leaves with creamy margins and also some with pink-tinged foliage. Others even feature both these colours.

The flowers are held in cones at the top of the foliage and are generally quite showy and long-lasting. Again, colour depends on the variety, with white and blue the most common, although pinks and purples are available too.

A purple hebe flower

Uses for hebe

Hebe makes a great beginner’s plant, as it is easy to grow and quite showy. Hebe can be used to fill in gaps in older gardens or to give quick impact to new ones. Because of its compact habit, it is often used as a formal feature, such as lining a path or edging a garden bed.

How to plant and grow hebe

  1. Hebe does best in full sun, in soil that has been enriched with some garden compost.
  2. The soil should not be waterlogged but should not dry out too quickly.
  3. Plant hebe out at any time of the year and follow up with watering until established. 
  4. After that the plant can be watered fortnightly, although it might need it more often in hotter and drier weather. 

How to care for hebe

Hebe is an easy-care plant that comes in a vast array of forms. Many are good for coastal gardens, but not all will tolerate frosts, so always check the label or ask staff in your local nursery for advice. The eventual size of the hebe will depend on the variety, so it is always worth checking this as well.

How and when to prune your hebe

Once your hebe has finished flowering, give it a very light overall clip using hedge shears or hedge trimmers. This will remove the dead flower heads and also help to keep the tight foliage shape of the plant.

Diseases and pests

Hebe is generally a pretty reliable plant with few problems. Keep a watch out for scale insects and apply a garden oil if you spot them. In humid areas, mildew on the leaves can sometimes develop. This can be controlled with a fungicide.

How to propagate hebe

  1. Take 10cm-long cuttings of the new growth in summer.
  2. Strip off the bottom few leaves.
  3. Dip the end into a rooting hormone.
  4. Place the cuttings into a pot of propagating sand.
  5. Rooted cuttings will be ready to plant in about six months.

If you like this then try

Lavender: an evergreen shrub with purple flowers and scented foliage.

Daisy: a reliable flowering evergreen shrub in a range of colours.

Buddleia: sweetly scented flowers on a quick-growing shrub.

Start planting today

Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing.

 

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.