One of the largest species (90 – 100) of evergreen shrubs, most of which are native to New Zealand, the Hebe includes many first-rate plants which can be used to excellent effect in the structure of a garden design. The genus includes plants with shrubby, tree-like, sprawling and compact habits. They are highly desirable for their abundant floral displays and attractive foliage. There is such a wide variety including really interesting and colourful cultivars, with specific form, colour of foliage and showy flower spikes, that there is a Hebe for every desired effect that you wish to create.
The flower colours range from purest white through shades of pink to deep magenta, blue, mauve, lilac, purple, and wine red or burgundy. The flowers smother the shrub in spring or summer and some species repeat their flowering period during a single season.
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The distinctive element in identifying the species is that the leaves, which have a leathery texture, grow oposite each other in pairs. Although Hebes are best suited to temperate climates, they are very forgiving and adaptable. They grow equally well in sun or shade in warm climates and prefer a sunny spot in cooler climates – as we all do! They like moist but well-drained soil and the broad-leafed types respond well to a trim once they have finished flowering. They do tend to get a bit woody if left untrimmed and although they will continue to flower, they will develop a straggly apearance - so feel free to cut them back.
The bigger-leafed species are more susceptible to frost and need some protection, especially when young. Some small leaf varieties are referred to as ‘whipcord’ Hebes (Hebe cupressoides) which have compressed, scale-like leaves resembling conifers. They have a dislike for intense heat and humidity so are better planted in the southern regions. They prefer a gritty, well-drained soil.
The genus is named after the Goddess Hebe. In Greek mythology, Hebe is the goddess of youth. She is the daughter of Zeus and Hera and was, prior to her marriage, the cup-bearer for the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, serving them nectar and ambrosia and heaven knows what else! So plant some Hebes and imagine that the Greek gods and goddesses have come to take up residence in your garden. You are sure to find a statue of Hebe to place in the midst of a group of the beautiful shrubs.
Bred in the Waikato as part of the Regal series. Hebe Charlotte is a recent member of the Regal family with glossy green foliage topped with pretty pink flowers through the summer months. Trim back after flowering to keep tidy. A hardy NZ native. PVR eligible.
Colour: Pink Habit: Compact upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 75cm x 75cm
With bright green tightly packed foliage that forms a natural mound this little Hebe is great for planting in groups to add interest and contrast to planting schemes. Dainty white flowers appear in summer but they are not the main feature. Plant in sun or part shade in well drained soil. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Mounding Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 30cm
Named for the young Prince George, this is a very tidy, attractive hebe. Bred in the Waikato as part of the royal series. The green and glossy foliage stays clean and compact all year. Masses of royal blue flowers appear in sumnmer across the top of the branches making an appealing display. Trim back after flowering to keep tidy. PVR eligible.
Colour: Blue Habit: Compact Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 75cm x 75cm
A very pretty little Hebe that will add some sweetness to the garden. Glossy olive green foliage that is topped off with racemes of pink flowers in spring and autumn. The flowers gradually fade to white. Plant in a sunny well drained spot and trim after flowering. Evergreen.
Colour: Pink / White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
A top performing Hebe that is quite a show off in the height of summer. That's when the purple flower heads smother the bush, these flowers fade to white as they age. Nice fresh green foliage that trims well, this is best done after flowering. Plant in a sunny well drained position. Evergreen.
Colour: Mauve / White Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 75cm x 75cm
A neat and tidy little Hebe that has a compact habit. Dainty leaves in a soft olive green shade and masses of tiny lilac-blue flowers in the warm summer months. Plant in a well drained sunny spot and trim lightly after flowering. Evergreen.
Colour: Mauve / Blue Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
This hebe has a low spreading habit making it useful as a ground-cover. The small dark green leaves and attractive burgundy tones which deepen in cooler weather. Pretty racemes of bright pink flowers appear in abundance in autumn and winter. Plant in a sunny well drained spot. Evergreen. PVR.
Colour: Pink Habit: Ground-cover Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 90cm
This prostrate NZ native has black stems with striking silver foliage. Small mauve flowers are produced early spring. Great for year round colour interest in the garden. Sun. Good drainage. Trim after flowering to keep compact. Hardy. Evergreen.
Colour: Mauve Habit: Dense Compact Arching Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 100cm
This Hebe is probably more desirable for the attractive foliage rather than the flowers. The gray leaves, margined with red form a neat little cushion. The red edge is more showy in cold weather. For those of you more interested in the flowers these open to white from pink buds. Evergreen.
Colour: White / Pink Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 75cm
March 2019 Release. Bred in the Waikato as part of the Regal series of Hebe. Louis is a low growing variety, white flowering, easy to grow and will be a real charmer! The glossy green foliage stays clean and compact all year round. A hardy New Zealand native plant.Trim back after flowering to keep tidy. PVR eligible Evergreen
Colour: White Habit: Prostrate Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 15cm x 100cm