Cushions Of Colour - Hebes

Cushions Of Colour - Hebes

For a winning combination of year-round foliage colour & summer flower-power, look no further than Hebes.

Celebrated for their stunning foliage and beautiful summer flowers, hebes will add sparkle to your garden throughout the year. Leaf shades range from simple, sophisticated greens to exciting pink, purple, cream and yellow tints that shout ‘look at me!’ Heads of small fluffy flowers appear in the summer and, as an added bonus, the nectar-rich blooms are great for wildlife, drawing in bees and butterflies. Hebes are compact shrubs, ideal as single specimens in a pot or as part of a mixed display in a larger container. They also work at the front of sunny borders, where you can use them to edge a bed, or as a focal point to draw the eye.

Hebes or ‘shrubby veronicas’ originate from areas including New Zealand & South America, growing in a range of habitats according to the species. The hardiness of the plants available in the UK will depend on their parentage which is related to the original habitats in which they were found.

Caring for hebes

Although they are easy to grow, hebes need full sun and free-draining soil to thrive. They will cope with light shade for part of the day, but avoid cold, dark areas. If you have heavy clay soil, you can still enjoy them by potting up plants in a container filled with John Innes compost mixed with horticultural grit to improve the drainage. Hebes are hardy in mild winters. But in cold areas, or if a hard frost or snow is forecast, cover your plants with a double layer of fleece, just to be on the safe side. In general the smaller the leaf size the more hardy it will be.

Feed plants annually in spring with a general purpose granular fertiliser, such as Vitax Q4. At the same time, remove frosted shoots, old flower heads and trim plants lightly with garden shears to maintain their shape. Try not to let your plant get out of hand because not all will respond well to hard pruning. Neglected plants are best cut back in stages over several months, cutting back some of the stems each time, to a bud that is growing further down the stem.

Best of the bunch from Bransford Webbs

Hebe 'Rhubarb and Custard'

Rhubarb and Custard - New for 2013, the colourful foliage tints of Hebe ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ make a big impression in pots and borders, while the pretty pink flowers add extra impact in summer. The leaf colour of many hebes intensifies in winter, but these pink, cream and green leaves are vivid all year. A show stopper in a pot or border, the foliage is joined by small pink flowers in late summer. Grow in well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. Height and spread 60cm (2ft), fully hardy.

Hebe 'Pink Pixie'

Pink Pixie - Compact, with small mid-green leaves, this pretty hebe produces masses of powder-pink flowers from late spring to the first frosts in autumn, making it a real winner for a patio pot. Plant in a sunny spot in fertile, well-drained soil. Height and spread 60cm (2ft), hardy to -5°C.

Hebe 'Magic Summer'

Magic Summer - The striking foliage is dark pink with cream edges in spring and early summer, and then turns grey-green and cream for the rest of the year. Rich purple-blue flowers appear in June. Plant in moist but well-drained or well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Height 60cm (2ft) Spread 80cm (2ft 8in), hardy to -5°C.

Hebe 'Baby Boo'

Baby Boo - Small but perfectly formed, this hebe puts on a show all year. In spring, pink leaf shoots appear, which then turn yellow, pink and green as they mature in summer. Purple early-summer flowers add to the mix. Plant in sun or part shade, in moist, well-drained soil. Height and spread 50cm (1ft 8in), fully hardy.

Hebe 'Black Beauty'

Black Beauty – If you have a larger space to fill then Black Beauty would be ideal. It has stunning dark purple, almost black foliage and gorgeous purple flowers in summer. Plant in sun or partial shade in moist but well-drained soil. Height and Spread: 1.2m (4ft) x 1.2m (4ft), fully hardy.

We have a wide selection of beautiful new hebes and recent introductions to make a statement in your garden.

Profile Image Angela Slater

Angela Slater

Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas.