How to Grow Hebe Shrub


blooming hebe shrub

by Jennifer Poindexter

Have you ever heard of the hebe shrub? It’s pronounced hee-bee. This plant is a wonderful addition to have around your home.

The plant originated in New Zealand. Therefore, it enjoys a warmer climate. Don’t be discouraged if you live in a cooler area.

There are ways to work around this plant’s climate preferences. If you’d be interested in growing this shrub in your yard or garden, be sure you understand what it needs.

I’ll share with you what types of growing conditions the hebe shrub requires, how to plant it, care for it, and more. Here’s everything you should know about growing a hebe shrub:

Growing Conditions for Hebe Shrubs

If you’re unfamiliar with a hebe shrub, it’s an evergreen that produces gorgeous foliage. In the summer, the shrub also produces cone-shaped, wispy blooms that come in a range of colors.

The plant will grow to be anywhere from one to three feet in height and width. It’s a great choice as a border plant, to grow in a rock garden, or even to grow in a container.

If you live in planting zones seven through eleven, the hebe shrub is hardy in your planting zone. Keep in mind, there are various types of hebe shrubs.

In general, the smaller the foliage, the more cold hardy the variety should be. If you live in a lower planting zone, try to pick a variety with smaller foliage as it should fare better over the winter months.

Once you know that the hebe shrub should work in your area, let’s talk specifics. This plant needs a growing location with full to partial sunlight.

If the plant is grown in an area with too much shade, not only will it not bloom as prolifically as it would in full sunlight, but it may also become gangly.

This shrub needs soil that’s loamy and drains adequately. It can’t handle being oversaturated. Therefore, ensuring water can reach the roots of the plant and quickly flow away is vital to maintaining the health of this shrub.

You now have an idea of where the hebe shrub might fit into your landscape. Let’s discuss how you should go about planting this gorgeous bush.

How to Plant Hebe Shrubs

There are three common ways the hebe shrub is grown: purchase the plant, grow it from a cutting, or grow the plant from seed.

We’ll discuss all three. Then you may decide which method works best for you.

If you purchase a hebe shrub, be sure to plant it in ideal growing conditions as we discussed above. Dig a hole in the prepared growing space at the same depth as the container the plant was purchased in.

Be sure to amend the soil with compost prior to planting. Once the hole is the right depth, place the plant in it.

Backfill the hole with soil and press firmly around the base of the plant. This should ensure no air reaches the roots. Water the shrub to help it become established in its new growing space.

You may plant hebe shrubs in the spring or summer if you live in an area which experiences colder temperatures during winter.

This will give the plant time to become established prior to dealing with a temperature drop. However, if you live in an area with milder winters, you may plant this shrub year-round.

The next method to grow a hebe shrub is to propagate the plant via cutting. Remove a four inch cutting from a mature plant.

Be sure to remove the leaves at the bottom of the cutting. Dip the cut end into rooting hormone and place it, cut-end down, in a container.

This container should drain adequately and contain well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist without oversaturating the growing plant.

In approximately thirty days, the cutting should have roots. Continue to care for it as you would any other type of seedling.

When true leaves form, and the plant is hardened off, transplant the new shrub into its permanent growing location.

The final way to grow a hebe shrub is from seed. I must warn you, this is the least favorable way due to the amount of time it takes to grow a single shrub.

It could take multiple years before the plant is ready to move outdoors and start the blooming process. Should you choose this method, begin by filling a container with well-draining soil. 

Place the seeds in the dirt and cover them. How many seeds you plant will depend upon the size of the container used. Should you use small biodegradable pots (meant for starting seeds) only place one seed per container.

Should you use a larger container, you may be able to start more seeds per container. This will be a personal judgment call as the number of seeds may vary. Be sure to mist the soil regularly with a water bottle.

This should help keep the soil moist without leaving the seeds overly saturated. If you overwater your seeds, it could lead to rot and failed germination.

The seeds should germinate in three to four weeks. Once they sprout, the seedlings will grow slowly. Care for them properly by providing ample warmth and sunlight.

You don’t want the soil they’re growing in to be soggy, but it should remain evenly and consistently damp.

When the plant forms true leaves, you may start hardening it off and move it outdoors to its permanent growing area.

These are a few methods to begin growing your own hebe shrubs. Pick the method you’re most comfortable with to add this plant to your landscape.

Caring for Hebe Shrubs

A hebe shrub is considered low-maintenance. It needs to be watered, fertilized, and pruned adequately. You must also ensure you know how to overwinter this plant. After you have these few basic items down, your plant should grow well in your care.

To begin, let’s discuss how to water a hebe shrub. This plant is thought to be drought-tolerant. However, during the summer, it enjoys being supplied with the right amount of water.

Hebe shrubs need approximately one inch of water each week as this helps them bloom and maintain their overall health.

When watering a hebe shrub, I recommend watering it deeply. This allows the water to reach the plant’s roots at the time of application.

However, as the days go by, the plant will dig deeper into the soil to retrieve more water. This encourages a deeper root system which leads to a healthier plant in many cases.

Don’t water your hebe shrub without testing the soil first. Insert your finger into the dirt next to the plant.

When it’s dry to your first knuckle, it’s time to water the plant deeply again. If it’s still moist, hold off on watering the plant until there’s less moisture in the ground.

The next thing you must do is fertilize the hebe shrub. It should only be fertilized one time per year and this should occur in the spring.

Apply a slow-release fertilizer to the plant prior to it forming new growth. This should give the shrub the boost of nutrients it needs to grow adequately.

Next, you must understand when to prune a hebe shrub. Right after the blooming cycle has ended, prune it.

The reason being is the following year’s blooms come from the new growth on the plant. If you prune right after the blooming has ended, you’re less likely to remove any new growth and therefore, dampen the following year’s bloom cycle.

Once you’re pruning at the right time, be sure to remove approximately 1/3 of the shrub. This should be enough to keep your plant healthy and thriving the following year.

You should also practice deadheading when your flowers are in bloom. By removing the dead blooms, it keeps your plant looking healthier and encourages the shrub to flower further.

Finally, if you live in the lower planting zones where this shrub is hardy, be sure to wrap the plant in burlap prior to any freeze. This will protect it from the dip in temperatures and should help it survive.

These are a few things you should do to keep your hebe shrubs healthy and thriving while in your care. 

Garden Pests and Diseases Which Could Impact Hebe Shrubs

The final things we must discuss about raising a hebe shrub is how to protect it from enemies in the garden.

Most hebe shrubs will be threatened by downy mildew or leaf spot. These are fungal issues that will attack the foliage of your plant.

You may treat these diseases with a fungicide and should remove any damaged foliage from the shrub. It’s wise to deter fungal issues from your growing area.

This is possible by providing enough space between plants. This ensures there’s proper air flow to allow foliage to dry.

It’s also wise to plant in well-draining soil and in full sunlight. Fungal issues form in cold, wet climates. If you don’t provide the right conditions for the diseases to grow, they shouldn’t form.

The pests which typically bother a hebe shrub are aphids and spider mites. Both can be treated with an insecticide.

You may also spray the plant with soapy water. This should dislodge the pests, their homes, and any sticky residue they may leave behind.

By staying alert to these potential issues, you should be able to correct them before they have much time to do serious damage to your hebe shrubs.

This concludes our discussion on how to grow hebe shrubs around your home or garden. By putting these tips into action, you should have an enjoyable experience growing this plant.

Hopefully, the hebe shrub will provide unique beauty and a dash of color to your landscape for many years.

More About Hebe Shrubs

https://agsci.oregonstate.edu/hebe-landscape-evaluation

http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/hebe.html

blooming hebe with text overlay gardening tips how to grow hebe shrub

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