These neat and colourful evergreen shrubs are ideal for a sunny border, providing summer flowers and year-round foliage. Compact types work well in containers or as border edgings, while larger types can be grown as hedging. The flowers are attractive to bees.
Hebes are bushy evergreen shrubs with purple, pink or white flowers in summer, and sometimes in spring or autumn. The leaves can be ornamental too, often tinged with pink or variegated. Plants range from 30cm (1ft) up to 1.2m (4ft) tall.
They like sunshine and need soil that drains freely. Most prefer a warm spot, and a few need protection from winter wet and cold. They also enjoy seaside conditions, coping well with salty breezes.
They won't thrive in very heavy, wet soil or deep shade. Large-leaved hebes are vulnerable to cold, and frost or chilly winds can damage the foliage. Hebes don’t respond well to hard pruning.
Did you know?
Hebes with small, scale-like leaves, similar to those on conifers, are called ‘whipcord’ hebes. Usually dense and compact, they are tougher than hebes with larger leaves.
Buying: trees and shrubs
Containers: winter selection
Growing plants in containers
Plants for coastal areas
Shrubs: evergreen by size
Shrubs: smaller for year round interest
Trees and shrubs: planting
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.