Hebe

There are many varieties of Hebe, most of which are generally grown for their decorative foliage.

Hebes with large leaves and showy flowers tend to be the most tender, whereas those with small leaves and white flowers are much hardier.

Subject to variety they can grow to various heights, e.g. from the 500mm (18") high ground cover varieties to 2 metre (7ft) high shrubs, sometimes with a similar spread.


Young shoots are vulnerable to frost, however, applying a mulch prior to the onset of frosts can alleviate this problem.

The flowers appear from May onwards and come in a variety of colours.

Dead-head all species as soon as flowering is over.



Cultivation

Week 9: Sow seed in seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 21°-23°C (70°-75°F)

Germination might take three to four weeks.

Week 12: Pot up rooted cuttings taken the previous year into 75mm (3") pots of potting compost.

Remove the growing tip to encourage bushiness then grow on in a coldframe until planting out time.

Week 14: Prick out seedlings into individual 70mm (3") pots and gradually harden off.

Week 18: Remove frost damaged shoots when the buds have started to grow, cut to a bud that is growing further down the stem.

Week 30: Take 75mm (3") long semi-hardwood cuttings from non-flowering growth.

Insert the cuttings into pots/trays containing equal parts (by volume) peat and sand and place in a frost free cold frame to root.

Week 37: Plant out hebes in a spot that is sheltered from strong winds, in full sun or light shade, and in soil that is well drained!

Pruning:

After flowering is the best time to prune, shape and train the plant.

Remove approximately 50mm (2") of tip growths from small varieties and 150-250mm (6"- 10") on the larger ones.

The pruned material makes good cuttings if required.

If a bush becomes overgrown, spread the cutting back over several months rather than cutting back all the growths at one time.

Again these should cut to a bud that is growing further down the stem.





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