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Best uses

Great for incorporating in mixed native plantings and in general mixed shrub borders or even as an informal low hedge.

Physical characteristics

Rounded evergreen shrub growing to around 1m tall and 1m wide.

Flowers and foliage

Leaves are oval and dark green and glossy with reddish margins. Flowers are produced in terminal racemes throughout summer and are bright reddish purple in colour.

Preferred site

Full sun to semi-shade with well drained soil. Will tolerate exposed, coastal conditions well.

Preparation for planting

Always choose healthy, well-grown, plants and plant after autumn rains, when the soil is moist and warm allows trees and shrubs to establish a good root system well before summer. Planting is often improved on clay soils by adding extra topsoil and forming raised beds. Incorporate coarse sand, bark, peat, compost or other organic material to improve soil structure. Before planting ensure the root ball is saturated and remove the planter bag or pot with minimal root disturbance. Trim any broken roots or branches and plant at the same level as in the container. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball to plant in. Long term slow release fertilizers may be added at this stage. As soil is placed in the prepared hole tread firmly to bring soil in close contact with the root-ball. Unless the soil is very wet water thoroughly making sure that moisture penetrates to the depth of the root-ball.

Maintenance tips

Apply mulch annually this will help suppress weeds and conserve moisture. Feed annually in spring with a balanced fertilizer such as blood and bone at a handful per square metre in spring as new growth begins. Give plants a light trim after flowering to keep growth healthy and compact, especially if they are been treated as a hedge. A couple of trims may be called for throughout the growing season to keep the growth in-check. Old Hebe can often be rejuvenated by pruning back hard in spring and applying a feed. This encourages new growth from the base, on large plants there will often be a small amount of growth from the base already. Easy to grow from semi-ripe cuttings or by layering.

Ecological and biodiversity benefits

Attract beneficial insects to the garden.

Pests and diseases

Hebe often get leaf spot.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Threatened Native Plant Garden