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Hebe rakaiensis

Bright green blobs 3ft wide and 1ft high that can grow together to make contiguous blobs. They need lots of light and any reasonably well drained soil. It’s given to getting brown spots on the leaves on the nursery (which we spray with fungicide to control) and yet, as soon as they go in the ground, the spots go away. Weird. This is the bright green version of the glaucous (greyish) Hebe sutherlandii. They’re both used in landscaping a lot and that’s good because it’s hard to make these plants look anything other than delicious. If you’re local, look out for both these plants on the roundabout where the A24 and the A264 meet between Horsham and Crawley or Horsham and Capel. A bit of horticultural relief on a road like that can only be welcome.

All the tiny leafed little blobby Hebes have the great attribute of looking like they’ve been clipped when they haven’t. A great boon for the idle gardener and the reluctant topiarist. However, one of the points about topiary is you clip the plants regularly to keep them the same size. This means that however idle or reluctant you are in the gardening department, you might have to clip these occasionally.

The last of the three pictures is Hebe rakaiensis in its native habitat. This was taken near Arthur’s Pass in South Island, New Zealand in January 2019.

Propagated by cuttings.

N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.

Hardiness traffic light green

Hardiness level Green

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Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.