Shrubs

Hebe Plants Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Shrubby Veronica”

Our Guide to Hebe Plants - Everything you will ever need to know! Tips for growing and caring for "Shrubby Veronica"
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New to growing Hebe plants or maybe you already own some, but you’re clueless on how to care for them? Don’t worry! Hebe Shrubs are extremely versatile and really easy to care for.

Hebe Shrubs are part of the Hebe genus, a genus that includes about 100 different species. These plants are evergreen, long-flowering shrubs that feature colored foliage, making them gems to all gardens or indoor spaces.

The Hebe genus got its name from the Greek goddess of youth, who is the daughter of Zeus. In Greek mythology, Hebe, the goddess, had influence over eternal youth and the ability to restore youth to mortals. While Hebe plants may not have the same powers over humans, they are evergreen shrubs that look spectacular all year round.

Hebes are a very popular choice among plant lovers as they are easy to care for, and they have the ability to thrive in a range of weather and growing conditions.

Ready to learn more about how to grow and care for Hebe shrubs? Keep reading below!

About Hebe Shrubs

  • Most Hebe Shrubs are native to New Zealand, French Polynesia, and some parts of South America and belong to the Plantaginaceae family.
  • The Hebe genus includes about 90 different species, and all of them appear naturally in New Zealand.
  • Thanks to the fact that they are evergreen shrubs that have vibrant color petals and leaves, Hebe plants are amazing focal points in both interior and exterior environments.
  • Being compact growers, it’s best to plant these shrubs alongside other spring-flowering shrubs and evergreen plants. Plus, they also make great container plants that you can grow indoors or on your patio.
  • Growing a Hebe plant is really easy. Considering that these tough little plants withstand growing along the coast or mountainside, they are easy maintenance plants.
  • Hebe Shrubs love sunny spots where they can get full sun, but they can also adapt to partial shade. However, it’s best to provide your Hebe shrub with as much sunlight as possible.
  • In very low light conditions, Hebes tend to become leggy and may also not bloom. What’s more, in the shade, the growth of Hebe plants tends to slow down.
  • Since they are New Zealand-native plants, Hebes prefer areas with cool summers and mild winters. Generally, these plants prefer temperatures between 68-73° F (20-22° C) during the hot season and temperatures between 46- 57 ° F (7-13° C). During winter, it’s recommended to protect Hebe plants from freezing temperatures.
  • Hebe shrubs are sensitive to overwatering as they are prone to root rot. It’s best to provide moderate watering in summer and then cut back on water during the cold months. For Hebes, both excess water and lack of enough water can be harmful.
  • Hebe Shrubs are typically healthy plants unless their owners really neglect them. However, these shrubs can suffer from a few diseases in particular, including leaf spot, downy mildew, and root rot. What’s more, these shrubs can also suffer from aphid infestation, which you can get rid of with insecticidal soap.
  • Most Hebe species contain toxic chemicals, which is why it’s best to consider keeping your shrub away from your kids or pets.
Hebe plant with flowers
Hebe plant with flowers

Hebe Shrub Features: An Overview

  • Hebe Shrubs can range in size from small bushes that can grow up to 3 feet (1 m) tall to larger tree-like plants that can reach heights of up to 6 feet (2 m).
  • Some examples of small Hebes are Hebe Red Edge and Hebe Wild Romance. Some examples of medium-sized Hebes include Hebe Albicans, Hebe Rakaiensis, and Hebe Heartbreaker. One example of larger-sized Hebes is the Hebe Midsummer Beauty.
  • Some species of Hebe Shrubs are large-leafed while others are small-leafed. Coastal species of Hebes often feature larger leaves.
  • Most species feature four rows of leaves arranged perpendicularly that grow in opposite pairs.
  • The foliage of Hebe Shrubs is typically green and evergreen, lasting throughout the entire year.
  • In summer or fall, most Hebe species produce colorful flowers that grow in spiked inflorescences with two stamens. The colors of the flowers produced by Hebe plants can be blue, purple, red, or pink, depending on the Hebe species. The flowers tend to attract butterflies.

Growing Hebe Shrubs

Growing and caring for Hebe Shrubs is really easy. All Hebe species are really resistant to various growing conditions and can quickly adapt to different light, temperature, or soil conditions. Hebe Shrubs are low-maintenance plants. So, whether you are an experienced grower or a novice, caring for a Hebe shrub shouldn’t give you a hard time.

First, you need to pay attention to these shrubs lighting requirements to thrive. As we’ve mentioned, Hebes prefer sunny spots where they get full sun. Yet, they can also adapt to partial shade. The downside of keeping your Hebe plant in low light conditions is that it may become leggy and may not bloom in summer or fall. So, we recommend finding a really sunny spot in your garden or home where your Hebe shrub will get at least 5-6 hours of bright sunlight every day.

Variegated Hebe
Variegated Hebe

Although Hebe plants are hardy and usually make the best with the conditions they get, it’s recommended to help your shrub with some feeding. In spring, prior to new growth, we recommend feeding your Hebe shrub with a slow-release fertilizer.

When it comes to pruning, it isn’t necessary with small Hebe shrub species as they are typically small and compact. With taller varieties, an annual prune will help keep the plants at a reasonable size by stopping stems from bending over and crowding the center.

How to Plant Hebe Shrubs

Planting Hebe shrubs is just as easy as caring for these plants is.

In general, it’s recommended to plant Hebe shrubs in fall to favor root development before winter, and lower temperatures hit, which will ensure proper growth in the following spring. However, for Hebe specimens purchased in pots or containers, planting at times other than the fall is perfectly possible.

Now, to ensure success with planting your Hebe plant, no matter the species, you need to keep in mind the basic growing needs of Hebe plants. By doing so, whether you plant your Hebe in your garden or a container to keep it indoors, it will thrive and delight you with its evergreen foliage all year round.

Hebes: A Guide to Species, Hybrids and Allied Genera, From Amazon

First, remember that Hebe plants love to get a lot of sunlight. So, if you plant your Hebe species in your garden, find a spot where it gets at least 5-6 hours of direct sunlight every day. If you plant your Hebe shrub in a pot to keep indoors, make sure that you place it next to a window where the plant will get enough sunlight.

Besides that, keep in mind that Hebe shrubs are sensitive to overwatering and that they are prone to root rot. So, even if they can adapt to a variety of soil types, it’s best to use well-draining soil that allows excess water to pass through it.

What’s more, remember that Hebe plants love relatively warm temperatures and that you must protect your Hebe shrub from freezing temperatures. So, depending on your area’s climate, you can decide if you can plant the shrub outdoors in your garden or in a container that you can bring indoors during the winter.

Watering Hebe Shrubs

Hebe Shrubs are sensitive to both overwatering and underwatering. Yet, most Hebe species require frequent watering, especially if you grow them in really hot climates. In extreme heat, if you grow them outdoors, Hebe shrubs typically need weekly watering to survive. In general, make sure that your Hebe plants’ soil doesn’t dry out completely between waterings.

Excess watering can cause root rot, which is likely to kill your Hebe plant. That is why it’s important to plant your Hebe species in well-draining soil. Well-draining soil allows the plant to capture as much water as it needs but also allows excess water to pass through it, avoiding keeping the roots in soggy soil, which may cause root rot.

Hebe flowers
Hebe flowers

Propagating Hebe Shrubs

Hebe shrubs are really easy to propagate via seeds and semi-hardwood cuttings taken from mature plants during the summer months, from July to September. Cuttings are the easiest and fastest way to propagate your Hebe.

Look for items that have grown nicely over the last months and that have a slightly woody stem, but the rest of it is soft and green. We don’t recommend taking cuttings from stems that have flowers on them.

Before planting the cutting, remove the lower pairs of leaves and then dip the stems in powdered rooting agents. Next, place the cutting in a special cutting soil mix in partial shade. Keep the soil moist all the time in the beginning.

In Conclusion

There are plenty of Hebe shrub species you can choose from! These plants are really easy to care for as they have pretty basic growing needs, and they can adapt to various conditions.

Since they are evergreen shrubs, Hebe plants will make your garden look young and fresh all year long!

Are you growing and caring for Hebe shrubs? Share your experience in the comments below!

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Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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