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Your Garden Variety Hebe
Published: 02/12/2013
The Hebe is a perfect plant for coastal gardens.
The Hebe is a perfect plant for coastal gardens.

In Greek mythology, Hebe is the goddess of youth; in coastal gardens, the Hebe is the perfect plant to add color and texture.

The Hebe is a sometimes overlooked showy plant with attractive foliage and a long flowering season. Some varieties flower from early summer until the first frost, if you pinch off the spent flowers periodically. Growing habit, leaf sizes and foliage color all vary by variety. Most of the evergreen varieties that do well here (Evergreen Veronicas) are low, bushy shrubs growing one to three feet in height.
Native to New Zealand, Hebes have almost unlimited uses in a sunny garden.

They are easy to grow, making good edging, low borders, rockery fill-ins, in containers or in clusters or individually for spot color anywhere it's needed. They are the perfect plant, with a little bit of everything. The wide range of Hebes mean there is certainly one to fit your container and style. A golden green conifer-looking Hebe would complement a rock garden container, while a bigger-leafed purple foliage Hebe would add fabulous texture in a modern clean-lined container planting.

They thrive in the climate and soil conditions found in the Pacific Northwest. Be sure to plant them in well-drained soil; they will not do well in heavy, wet soil. Planting them in the spring, rather than the fall, gives them time to root in and get established before the winter cold season. Protection from wind also helps them thrive. Prune after bloom by cutting back branches that bloomed by one-half their length to maintain a compact form. Also, a good thinning every couple years keeps Hebe in good shape. They are not temperamental; the slightest care and maintenance will yield beautiful rewards for your coastal garden. - By Valerie Ryan

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