The name Hebe originates from Greek mythology where Hèbè was the name of the daughter of Hera and Zeus. This beautiful maiden was cupbearer of the gods and the goddesses of Mount Olympus, captivating them with her beauty and serving them sweet nectar and ambrosia. With the Hebe plants second name being speciosa (meaning handsome) one can see why this little shrub described as beautiful and handsome should be a must for any garden.
Hebe plants originate from New Zealand with Hebe speciosa ‘Wiri Joy’ and Hebe diosmifolia as subspecies of the original plants. Hebe ‘Wiri Joy’ is an evergreen shrub that has dark green, shiny leaves which are spear-shaped and approximately 5cm long. ‘Wiri Joy’ can grow to 80cm in high and will reach a width of approximately 60cm. ‘Wiri Joy’ has dense spikes of tiny 4-petalled flowers that are pink. As the flowers open the older flowers that occur at the bottom of the flower spike turn to a lighter shade of pink.
This Hebe has a long flowering period that starts in spring, flowers through summer and then into autumn making it a ‘must have’ for consistent colour in the garden. By cutting back the shrub after flowering you will ensure that it keeps its compact shape and will encourage an even better flush of flowers in the new season. Hebe diosmifolia is a rewarding little white flowered plant with a tidy habit. The white flower heads occur at the end of a stem of dark green leaves from late spring until well into summer. It is slightly smaller than the other varieties mentioned reaching only approximately 30 cm in height. Hebe diosmifolia is a true “old fashioned plant” and is a must for gardener’s who enjoy using white in the garden Hebe ‘Wiri Joy’ and diosmifolia will grow in ordinary garden soil, however adding compost when planting to improve drainage will ensure a happy plant with frequent blooms. Water well, but allow the soil to dry out before watering again.Hebe’s are ideal for growing in areas where the summers are hot and dry. They are wind, frost and seas spray tolerant. Hebe will grow in the full sun or dappled shade but fewer flowers will be produced in a dappled shade spot in the garden.
Hebe’s also have the added bonus of being classified as water-wise making them good contenders for South African gardens. Hebe can happily be planted with other shrubs in the garden to create mixed beds and will also do well in a container.
Why not try them as a colourful but formal low garden hedge around vegetable and herb gardens?
**Please note that not all stockists will have every plant featured**