Hebe is a handsome evergreen shrub that produces spires of small white, blue, mauve, or pink flowers over many months. There are many species and lots of named varieties.

Hebes have small usually shiny leaves and dense, naturally rounded growth. Leaves may be green, variegated, or tinged with burgundy. Hebes are small to medium shrubs round 1-2m high and wide. They respond well to light pruning.

Grow hebes to brighten a dull location, as a backdrop to other plants, to provide an informal hedge or low screen for example beside a gravel area, and where a long-flowering plant can be enjoyed. They are generally low maintenance.

Here are some of our favourite hebes. Check with hardware and garden centres for plants that suit your location and climate.

  • Hebe ‘Inspiration’ A small evergreen shrub with small glossy, dark green leaves and an attractive spring to autumn display of purple, blue and white flowers.
  • Hebe ‘Emerald Green’ Polished green fine foliage that grows in a tight, dome shape reaching 25cm high and wide.
  • Hebe ‘Annies Winter Wonder’ A new variety with a mixture of cream and green leaves with purple tips, it will grow to a height of 75cm. It is covered in deep pink flowers from spring to autumn.
  • Hebe ‘Pretty in Pink’ A compact, dense foliage shrub to 30cm. Low growing, it is ideal for garden borders. Beautiful pink flowers appear from autumn to winter.
  • Hebe ‘Snowdrift’ As the name suggests, it produces beautiful white cascading flowers from mid-summer to autumn. A hardy shrub that will grows to around a metre.

Growing conditions

Aspect Hebes prefer a full sun position, but some varieties will tolerate part shade. In warmer areas, they will benefit from morning sun and afternoon shade,

Soil Hebes need well-drained soil and can be grown in large containers.

Climate Native to New Zealand, hebes grow best in temperate climates. They don’t like too much heat or humidity and do best with good air circulation so don’t plant too closely together. They are frost tolerant.

General care

Watering Hebe love a good water, so adequate and regular water is important especially in spring and summer.

Feeding and mulching They can be feed via your preferred method, either liquid or granular food or a combination of both, depending on your plant variety. Keep plants lush and leafy with a granular fertiliser such as Seasol plus Nutrients All Purpose including Natives during the growing season. If you prefer liquid feeding apply PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season.

Spread organic mulch such composted bark, as lucerne, sugar cane or straw around plantings to deter weed competition and retain moisture. Don’t build mulch up around the base of the plant as this may cause fungal diseases.

Pruning Although hebes are naturally rounded in shape, a light trim helps keep them compact, encourages new growth and brings another flush of flowers. Prune after flowering.

Watch for Poor growth or discoloured foliage may indicate poorly drained soils or humid conditions. Apply a seaweed tonic such as Seasol to help improve plant health.