Hebe News – Article 2


L B Woods writes from Canada

I live in Vancouver BC zone 8A and I have three types of hebe that need pruning: Hebe ‘Green Globe’, Hebe pinguifolia ‘Sutherlandii’ and Hebe ‘Red Edge’. The ‘Red Edge’ was flattened by snow this year; can I prune it back to old wood? The pinguifolia has formed a nice hedge, but I am thinking of removing and transplanting every other plant as they are too close together. The undersides are quite brown, can they be pruned hard to encourage new growth or should I just prune them into a hedge? The ‘Green Globe’ needs pruning to encourage growth on lower branches, how hard can I prune it back?

Neil Bell replies

In general, hebes do tolerate hard pruning and will respond well to cutting back. My own observation, growing hebes in our garden near Monmouth, Oregon, is that in some cases this can be a slow process. Your Hebe ‘Red Edge’ will probably respond well, but the other thing one can do it take cuttings, root them and plant out an entirely new plant, which with hebes is exceedingly easy to do. With the other two, the loss of lower foliage is presumably for some reason, the most common of which is drought stress, nitrogen deficiency and/or shading of that part of the canopy. I would make sure that the plants were properly irrigated and fertilized and that they receive adequate light. Then if you do prune, keep in mind that the most vigorous growth will be from immediately below where you make your cuts, so choose your pruning location accordingly. I hope this helps, feel free to send me a couple of pictures if you have additional questions.

Isabella Cecere writes from Australia

I wrongly identified a shrub as a hebe. I took a sample of the shrub (which grows in the public gardens) to a local nursery. They stated it is a Pimelea ferruginea. My close up photography of this shrub looks very much like other close up photos of Hebes seen online. Are these two plants similar in appearance? Much appreciated.

Tony Hayter replies

Yes, these two groups of shrubs are often confused, I have done so myself. Both have leaves in opposite pairs (decussate, although some pimeleas can have alternate leaves) and have four petalled white flowers. They are in different families, Hebe was in the foxglove family, but has been moved to the plantain family. Pimelea is in the daphne family. With Pimelea having a noticeable fruit (hebes have tiny seeds) and hebes have leaf scars (where lower leaves have dropped off).

We grow very few pimeleas in the UK, but obviously the situation is different in Australia.

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