How to Plant and Grow Hebe

With or without its flowers, this shrub is a showstopper.

Hebe (pronounced HEE-bee) is a large genus of evergreen shrubs from New Zealand. Dome-shaped, it boasts bold flower spikes in white, purple, and pink from summer to fall. Even without flowers, this multi-season plant, hardy in Zones 7-11, colors the landscape with evergreen foliage in green, whitish green, silver, or green tinged with cream or copper, depending on the species and cultivar.

Hebe was formerly included in the genus Veronica (hence the common name shrubby Veronica) but is now considered a genus of its own.

Hebe Overview

Genus Name Hebe
Common Name Hebe
Plant Type Shrub
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width null to 4 feet
Flower Color Blue, Pink, Purple, White
Season Features Summer Bloom
Special Features Attracts Birds, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Stem Cuttings

Where to Plant Hebe

Protection from drying winds, particularly in winter, will help hebe survive in cold climates. Shelter it with a building or other plants. If you want to plant it in an exposed location, choose a compact variety less likely to be affected by low temperatures.

How and When to Plant Hebe

You can plant hebe all year long where it's hardy, but spring or summer planting will give roots a chance to settle before cold temperatures arrive. Hebe is suitable for container planting.

Hebe is marginally hardy in North America, often suffering from winter damage if temperatures are colder than average. Generally, the smaller the leaf, the better the cultivar or species can tolerate cold.

Hebe Care Tips

Hebe is easy to cultivate and care for.

Light

Hebe needs 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day. Too much shade and it will become leggy and might cease blooming.

Soil and Water

Although relatively drought-tolerant, this shrub requires about an inch of water a week in summer to maintain healthy, robust foliage and produce large, color-drenched blooms. It requires well-drained, sandy soil.

Temperature and Humidity

Besides extreme cold or heavy frost, hebe will thrive in most temperatures. However, despite its hardiness, it does best when the weather is warm and mild.

Fertilizer

Hebe doesn't need fertilizing. Add compost annually for additional nutrients.

Pruning

Prune shrubs periodically to keep them from getting leggy. Deadhead flowers to encourage new growth, and when it's done flowering, cut it back by one third. It will look bushier that way.

Potting and Repotting Hebe

Choose smaller varieties of hebe if you want to grow them in containers. It's a good idea to pot them if you're planting in a cooler area so you can bring them indoors when the weather changes. Use a well-draining terra-cotta pot. Hebe will need repotting every two years when it outgrows its container.

Pests and Problems

Pests that will feed on hebe include aphids and spider mites. Rid your plants of them with horticultural oil or an organic insecticide. 

How to Propagate Hebe

Propagate hebe with cutting from healthy plants. After cuttings have begun rooting, give them time to grow to a full plant, and then transplant to the ground or a container. Growing hebe from seed can take years to complete.

Types of Hebe

'Grace Kelly' Hebe

Hebe 'Grace Kelly'
Marty Baldwin

Hebe 'Grace Kelly' is crowned with royal purple flowers in summer and fall. The flowers are a lovely complement to the variegated green-and-white leaves. Plants grow 2-3 feet tall and wide. Zones 8-10

'Variegata' Hebe

hebe variegata foliage detail
Marty Baldwin

This cultivar sports variegated gray-green leaves with creamy margins. In early summer, it offers spikes of purple flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It grows 5 to 6 feet tall. Zones 7-10

'Wiri Blush' Hebe

Hebe 'Wiri Blush'
Denny Schrock

Hebe 'Wiri Blush' sparkles with deep rose-pink flower spikes against shiny, dark green leaves with red edges. 'Wiri Blush' forms an excellent compact hedge. It grows 4 feet tall and wide. Zones 7-11

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do hebe shrubs live a long time?

    Hebe shrubs grown in the right environment and with good care can live up to ten years.

  • How many species of hebe are there?

    There are around 100 species of hebe.

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