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Hebe odora

Boxleaf Hebe

Evergreen, Shrubs, Flowers

HEBE

These are New Zealand natives closely related to Veronica and occasionally still sold under that name. (Hebes are shrubs, Veronicas are perennials.) Most types are grown mainly for their attractive form and foliage (neat pairs of opposite leaves); some give good flower display in summer, and a few produce a scattering of bloom throughout the year. Most are fast growing.

All do best in cool-summer, mild-winter climates—in the San Francisco area, for example. Dry summer heat and winter frosts shorten their lives. Larger-leafed types are more susceptible to winter damage. Very prone to root rot if drainage is anything less than excellent. The plants take seacoast conditions. Prune after bloom, shortening stems that have flowered by about half to keep plants compact and bushy. Rejuvenate ragged plants by cutting back severely; they’ll resprout easily from old, leafless wood.

Hebe odora

Rounded and symmetrical, to an eventual 3 ft. high and 5 ft. wide; easily shaped into a 3-ft. hedge. Small, deep green leaves densely cover branches, giving the plant the look of a boxwood (Buxus). Small white flowers in dense clusters. ‘Nana’ grows to just 8 in. high and a little wider. Leaves of ‘New Zealand Gold’ are glossy green and neatly edged in yellow.

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