L’Hebe is an ornamental shrub plant easy to grow in pots and in the open ground in the garden, appreciated for its decorative foliage and for its prolonged and conspicuous flowering.
L’Hebe o He is often confused with Veronica a evergreen perennial plant always from the Schropulariacee family from Australia and New Zealand.
The aerial part is formed by slender semi-woody reddish stems covered by numerous waxy, lanceolate or oval leaves with smooth edges.
The color of the leaves it is green but in many species it is mottled with white or yellow spots.
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On the stems, at the base of the leaf axils, during the flowering period, the flowers appear, large panicle inflorescences, pink, purple or white similar to those of Veronica.
THE flowers small and inconspicuous are inserted on the apical parts of the stems and in the intersections of the leaf nodes.
The flowering period varies according to the species; the most cultivated variety blooms throughout the summer, others from September onwards. Others still bloom in the autumn season or in the middle of winter.
Love sunny places for many hours of the day. It fears the cold and icy winds. The plants grown in pots, in the winter period, must be transferred to protected areas.
It develops well in any type of soil even if it prefers soft, moist, fertile and well-drained soil.
It does not like dry soil and therefore water regularly and abundantly especially in periods of prolonged drought. In periods of great heat it is advisable to water at least once a day in the coolest hours of the day (early in the morning or late in the evening).
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From spring to autumn fertilize the plant once a month by administering specific fertilizer for flowering plants diluted in the watering water. Alternatively, you can use a slow release granular fertilizer which must be administered every 2-3 months.
Hebe: cultivation in pots
This rustic plant appreciated for its abundant and prolonged flowering is suitable for growing in pots containing well-drained loose soil rich in organic matter. It is to be fertilized every 15 days, preferably from March to October, during the growth of the new leaves and flowering and watered frequently in the summer months but without exceeding and paying attention to water stagnations to avoid root or collar rot.
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The Hebe should be repotted every 3-4 years or when the roots come out of the drainage holes of the watering. A larger pot than the previous one should be used, fresh soil, well drained but quite humid.
Multiplication of Hebe
New Hebe specimens can be obtained by seed and agamic by cutting.
To sowing that does not ensure plants with the same characteristics as the mother one, propagation by cutting is preferred.
Hebe multiplication by cuttings
Propagation by cuttings is carried out in spring by removing small branches about 10-15 cm long with well-sharpened and disinfected scissors, which must be rooted in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts until new leaves appear. Once rooting has taken place, the young plants should be left to strengthen and then be raised in single pots for at least 2 years before being planted permanently.
After rooting (new leaves appear). The new plants must be grown in pots for at least two before being transplanted into the ground.
The hole intended to accommodate the plant must have a double diameter compared to the pot that housed it.
To give more prominence to the plant it is recommended to plant it with heather or cyclamen.
Pruning of the Hebe
To favor the emission of new basal shoots, the plant should be pruned after flowering by trimming the apical parts of the stems with disinfected and well-sharpened scissors or shears.
Pests and diseases of the hebe
Hebe is a very resistant plant to fungal diseases and is rarely attacked by aphids or other animal parasites. It fears root rot if the soil is too compact and poorly draining.
Cures and treatments
Hebe plants grown in the gardens of areas with too harsh winter climates should be protected with a light mulch of dry leaves or with a light layer of straw.
Variety of Hebe
There are many Hebe species that differ in color, leaf shape and size.
Ebe x andersonii variegata
Commonly called Veronica Variegata, it is a bushy plant native to Australia. It is an evergreen plant with a compact habit with erect stems about 2 meters high covered with long elliptical dark green leaves, with evident central gray-greenish streaks and creamy white at the edges. From mid-summer to autumn it produces spikes composed of numerous pale purple flowers. It does not fear the cold and is easy to grow in pots and in gardens it is perfect for creating borders and splashes of color. It prefers full sun exposure but also adapts well in partial shade areas. It needs well-drained universal generic soil and moderate watering.
It is an evergreen shrubby plant with a compact habit, 40 to 50 cm high. It has light green oval leaves. It blooms in summer from late June until September. The purple-pink flowers are gathered in spiked inflorescences. It should be grown in the sun or partial shade in well-drained soil.
It is a species that develops forming a compact and evergreen shrub, about 40 cm tall. It has branched stems with tapered shiny green. From May to October it produces spikelet inflorescences composed of numerous purple flowers. It should be grown in the sun or in partial shade and is suitable for making hedges even in coastal gardens. Withstands temperatures as low as -5 ° C.
It is an evergreen shrubby plant with a compact habit, 40 to 50 cm high. It has glaucous green-gray oval leaves. It blooms in summer from late June until September. The white flowers are gathered in 3-5 cm long inflorescences. Likes sunny exposure and well-drained soil. It fears strong winds but resists the cold. It can easily be grown as a ground cover in rock gardens.
A species with stems covered with small ovate, glaucous and hairless leaves with white inflorescences gathered in panicles.
Known as New Zealand lilac, it is a small evergreen shrub that reaches a height of 40 cm in full vegetative vigor, about 2 years. It has persistent, oval, shiny and toothed leaves, often edged in red. From October to December it produces large panicle inflorescences composed of numerous light lilac flowers. It is an easy plant to grow even in coastal gardens, in full sun, in light and well-drained soil.
An evergreen shrub about 3 meters tall, native to Australia and New Zealand. It has reddish branched stems with long green lanceolate leaves. From spring to autumn it produces many cylindrical inflorescences with fragrant white, pink and lilac flowers. It prefers full sun exposure, well-drained garden soil and frequent watering, especially in summer.
Also known as Veronica formosa, it is a shrub species about 1 meter tall. It has a compact and erect posture with lanceolate or elliptical leaves. From late spring to early summer numerous pale lilac or violet blue flowers appear on the axillary branches. It can be grown in full sun or partial shade. It is frost resistant.
An evergreen species similar to a small cypress. It has small, flat and linear green leaves. In summer it produces small, pale blue clusters of 3-8 flowers. It is grown as an evergreen plant without giving too much importance to flowering. It is grown in the garden and in pots.
The various Hebe species are grown as ornamental plants in the garden, in pots and also as street furniture in roundabouts.
The Hebe genus bears the name of the Greek goddess of youth, includes about 100 species of plants all very decorative with leaves arranged on the stems to form a cross.