These plants like sunny positions, or even semi-shady if grown in full shade growth can be poor and flowering often non-existent. Most of the species are rustic and do not fear the cold, some species, however, are slightly afraid of the cold, and therefore should be protected with agritourism during periods of prolonged frost.
It can happen that the hot drought of summer causes burns of the leaves, it is therefore advisable, in regions with a very hot summer climate, to provide the plants a few hours of shade during the summer days.
- To the genus Hebe belong some species of evergreen shrubs, of medium or small size, originating in Australia and New Zealand, but diffused since many years in the European gardens; their …
- Among the kinds of dicotyledonous angiosperm plants, the Veronica belongs to the botanical family of the Scrophulariaceae, subclass Asteridae, superdivision Spermatophyta. The beauty of their flowers …
Family and gender
Scrophulariaceae, more than 100 species and countless cultivars
Type of plant
Sun, half shade
Average, depending on variety
Tolerant, preferably sub-acid.
No too compact
Pink, red, purple, white
Once-twice a year
June – November
The hebe are evergreen shrubs belonging to the family of Scropulaceae, mostly from New Zealand. Until a few decades ago this genus did not exist because the hebe were considered a subspecies of the Veroniche, characterized in particular by persistent leaves and especially by having a more bushy appearance and woody stems or semi-dark.
The genre is, however, quite vast. In fact, it includes more than 100 species and a whole series of crossings, hybrids and cultivars. They can take on the most varied forms: from dwarf to drooping, to erect, to bushy and arborescent.
They are suitable for many types of gardens. In particular, they are excellent for green areas near the sea (since they tolerate well both salt and strong wind) and, the smaller ones, are well placed in the rock garden.
Speaking of watering and irrigation, it must be said immediately that, as far as Hebe is concerned, it is better not to let the soil dry too much between one watering and the other; in summer to water often, even every day during the hottest periods. For the whole vegetative season, from March to October, add some fertilizer for flowering plants to the water of the watering once a month.
History and geographical distribution
Recent studies have established that the ancestors of today’s genus arrived in New Zealand in recent times, about 5 million years ago. The places of origin were probably Australia and Asia. In N.Z However, they have found their ideal environment and have developed by creating many new species. In particular, it was seen that the first development took place in the mountains and only later were also colonized valleys and areas near the coast.
We can say that in that country it is the most widespread genus of flowering plants and you can find more than 100 species with special characteristics adapted to different climatic areas: mountainous, semi-tropical or even semi-desert. They are widespread throughout the country, from the largest islands to the smallest ones.
However, some particular types have also been identified on the island of Rapa (in French Polynesia) halfway between New Zealand and South America. The species Hebe elliptica and hebe salicifolia have also been found in Latin America.
It particularly likes loose, well-drained and rich in organic matter soils, even if it develops without any problems in any garden soil. These plants prefer a slightly acidic and in any case well drained soil. Bigogna absolutely avoid heavy, clayey and too compact substrata. These, in fact, tend to retain too much water and can cause rottenness and radical asphyxia.
Veronica is a very rustic and resistant species that has no diseases or insects that affect it in a particular and specific way. To avoid the onset of any kind of disease due to a weakening of the plant, the first rules to be respected are the choice of a suitable soil and irrigation related to the temperature and needs of this plant.
The soil or growing medium must be acid-prone and the plant needs loose soils rich in organic matter. In addition to this, this variety must be planted in a well-drained soil that should not be watered in an exaggerated manner or better should be avoided in all ways waterlogging. Stagnation, in fact, is one of the first causes of a possible fungal attack or of a beginning of radical rottenness or of the collar.
In addition to these more cultural aspects, more related to prevention and good cultivation practices, those who cultivate these plants in the garden should be careful mainly to aphids that can attack the leaves of this plant.
Multiplication of Veronica Hebe
In spring, about 10-15 cm long cuttings can be taken, which are to be rooted in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts; the new plants are to be cultivated in pot for at least two years before being planted.
Pests and diseases
This plant is very resistant and is unlikely to be affected by pests and diseases; sometimes black aphids completely ruin the ears of flowers. The most important aspect during their planting is to provide an excellent drainage. It is therefore necessary to dig a hole at least twice the size of the container. On the bottom we will create a good draining layer composed of gravel or expanded clay.
A few handfuls of organic manure (manure, cornunghia, guano or bone meal) will be a great help for growth. If the soil in our garden is too compact, it is best to mix it with fine river sand and possibly some agricultural vermiculite before putting it back into the hole. Both of these materials will help to keep the soil aerated, moist, but not excessively soaked.
Hebas are evergreen plants, usually bushes. In rare cases, however, they can also take the form of bushes or trees up to 7 meters high. They carry apical inflorescences collected in panniculus or racemes. The colors can be very varied and range from white to purple, red to pink.
The leaves are in rows and are opposite to two by two. If you look from above they form a cross.
In Italy almost all the specimens are sold in containers and therefore the plant can be planted at any time of year. The best time, however, is in spring (in areas with harsher winters such as the north or the mountains) or autumn (in the south and along the coast).
In any case, it is advisable to prepare for the first year a good mulch around the roots, composed of manure, pine bark or other insulating material.
The ideal exposure is definitely the full sun. In this position they will surely be able to give the best of themselves and bloom with full continuity. In this respect, however, they are very tolerant plants. They will grow very well even in a position only in the middle of the shade and can also tolerate the shade quite well. The only drawback will be, in this case, the poor or totally absent flowering.
However, it can be a good choice, especially in variegated cultivars, to illuminate areas with little sunshine.
We can say that hebe are medium rustic plants, but that this aspect depends strictly on the variety and therefore I refer to the specific description (or however you will have to ask for specific information to the dealer).
As a general rule, individuals with large leaves and very striking flowers are not frost-resistant and should therefore only be grown outdoors in areas where the temperature never drops below 5°C. They tend to be considered as indoor plants or to be withdrawn in cold greenhouses.
Cultivars and varieties with small leaves and white flowers are generally more rustic and you can try to grow them externally. The advice is in any case to place them in a sheltered area (especially if we live in the northern regions), perhaps against a wall located in the south. If we can’t do it, it will be better to protect the roots with leaves, mature manure and grass. We can also try to cover them with a special cloth.
Pruning for these plants is essential, particularly for any variety. It can happen that the lack of care for this aspect can cause an over-branched and consequently disorderly aspect. The best time to intervene is in March, April and May.
The most important intervention takes place after the first flowering. Care must be taken to remove only the old flower heads because new ones will appear on the younger branches. Too drastic pruning will hinder this process and no more buds will be seen until the following year.
If the plant is in the ground, it needs few interventions. The ideal is to give a fertilizer for acidophilic plants (like the one for rhododendrons) at the end of winter and in mid-summer. It will help to maintain beautiful foliage and encourage constant flowering.
If the specimen is in pot, on the contrary, it is possible to distribute a fertilizer for flowering plants once every two weeks, during the vegetative period.
Hebas need fresh soil, but not too full of water. In the open ground they usually do not need to be operated, except for long periods without precipitation.
If we live in particularly hot and dry areas we can intervene once every 10 days by distributing a good amount of water.
If the plant is in a container, however, it is good to make sure that the substrate is completely dry even in depth before watering. The best method is to insert a finger into the soil, at least two or three centimetres from the surface. If it is dry we distribute water in abundance. However, we always avoid the use of the saucer, which is absolutely the first cause of root rot.
These plants can be easily reproduced by cutting. The segments are to be taken during the vegetative period, preferably during the summer. Cutting should be done at a knot, on semi-woody stems. The majority of the leaves should then be removed and a powder based on rooting hormones should be spread on the cut. They will be inserted in a very light soil based on sand and perlite or sand and peat.
Other hebe pests and adversities
In general, these are very resistant plants. They can be attacked by some insects (such as aphids or caterpillars), but the damage is never such as to force to intervene with insecticides.
It should be noted that they are plants much loved by pollinating insects such as bees, bumblebees and butterflies. So put them in your garden if you want them to be people of these extraordinary animals.
It may happen that these plants are instead affected by cryptogamic problems such as powdery mildew, black spot and downy mildew. In this case, it is best to clean up the plant and above all avoid wetting its foliage during irrigation.
These must also not be too many to prevent the onset of root rot.
Hebe: Hebe variety
Hebe albicans is the most common in our gardens because it is rather rustic. It has simple and opposite leaves. The white flowers are apical racemes produced from summer to autumn. It forms a round and dense bush.
Hebe hulkeana one of the most beautiful. It can reach 2 meters in height and produces long panicle-like inflorescences, branched with a beautiful lavender lilac.
Hebe cupressoides also reaches a height of 2 meters and resembles the appearance of a miniature cypress. It has small, flat and linear leaves, very short and dark green. The flowers are in groups of 3-8, small, pale blue. It is cultivated as an evergreen plant without giving too much importance to flowering.
Shapely Hebe reaches a height of one metre and has a compact, upright habit with lance-shaped leaves. It has small purple flowers and axillary racemes. The flowering is very long.
Hebe salicifolia reaches a height of 3 metres. The inflorescences are cylindrical, pink, lilac or white.
Hebe speciosa very interesting species for the realization of hedges in temperate climate zones. They have a dense flowering. One of the most decorative is the Autumn Glory with bright blue flowers. Very similar is the Seduisante. but with crimson inflorescences.
- Veronica is an evergreen plant native to North America, Asia and Europe.
Visit : veronica plant