In recent years there’s been a flurry of new dwarf, small-leaved hebes with silver variegated and pink-tinted foliage. Larger leaved flowering varieties with variegated foliage are less common and we keep seeing the same the same one or two. Not any more.
First we saw the introduction, last year, of Hebe Leopard (‘Lowand’). This is a sport of ‘Silver Queen’ (better known as H. x franciscana ‘Variegata’) that was spotted in 2008 by Andrew Donaghy, a manager at Lowater’s Nursery in Hampshire.
Leopard differs from ‘Silver Queen’ in its foliage which emerges creamy and matures to white, with green and grey green mottling in the centre of the leaf and green spots at the edge. The plants also feature shorter internodes making a neater bushier plant. It carries short fat spikes of purple flowers in summer.
Then Leopard itself sported to produce Leopard Spot (‘Lowspo’), found on the same nursery by a member of staff in 2012. This is a dense and compact, rather upright plant and when its leaves first emerge they are creamy white with a few green spots at the edges. Then as they mature the green marginal spotting becomes more dominant. Even the green flower buds are variegated before they open into clusters of pale purple flowers in the leaf joints.
Leopard Spot makes a fine all-year container plant or will develop into an attractive front-of-the border specimen in a sunny position.
Hebe Leopard Spot (‘Lowspo’) is available from Coolings Online and from Garden Beauty.
*Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author, which are not necessarily those of the RHS