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Pruning Hebe

I have a lovely purple Hebe (don't know the name) which is outgrowing its space and getting a little leggy.  I know that normally Hebes do not need pruning, but could I cut this one back to fit its space?  I do not want to move it, just 'tame'it a little.  If I can prune it when should I do it and how harsh should I be.

Any advice would be very welcome, as I certainly do not want to destroy it. 


  • Dirty HarryDirty Harry Posts: 1,047
    After flowering but not into old wood I believe. They're not known to respond well to heavy pruning.
  • Novice23Novice23 Posts: 184
    Thanks for that, will try a light haircut in the late autumn then. 
  • Robert WestRobert West Posts: 227
    Hello, I'm not sure whether this is technically good advice but...

    When I first got my own garden about eight years ago, I bought about six different types of Hebe. From ones that grow to 1ft tall to ones that got to 4ft. Anyway, fast forward a few years and I wanted to mix things up a bit and replace a lot of them. So I decided to dig most of them up.

    Rather than bin them I chopped them all back to about 1ft diameter, even the really big ones, and shoved them in some old plastic pots and s few old buckets with drilled holes in the bottom. Even had to chop the roots right back to get them into the pots. Then I shoved them out of the way assuming they'd probably die. But a few weeks later little bits of green life started to appear all over them. In the end I gave them to my brother in law who planted them in his garden. Year later they all look great. 

    Long story short, I just hacked my remaining purple edge back to about 18" from being 3ft and im pretty confident it'll come back fine. We'll see! 

    Basically I think hebes are a lot together than people make out. 

  • BerkleyBerkley Posts: 428
    Interesting! I have been looking at my hebe Cranleighensis and wondering whether I could cut it back. (I know the usual advice is not to cut into old wood). But I planted this four years ago - expecting it to grow to about three feet. It is now about five feet wide and high, flowers reasonably in July but Is blocking a pathway!
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,918
    It also depends on conditions. Some simply won't come back if pruned hard, and at the wrong time. Some are tougher than others.
    Some are like sheep - born to die for no obvious reason  ;)
    If you tidy them after flowering, right from the start, it's the best way of maintaining them. The other option is to do the same pruning as you would on many shrubs. Take a few of the outer stems out, right back to the main body of the plant. You can keep it as as a 'slimmer' shrub, but without the risk of of it all dying. It would depend on the shape of the original plant though  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Novice23Novice23 Posts: 184
    Gosh, thank you all so much.  I will try a gentle approach first I think and see what happens.   I have looked at it carefully and there are some bits that I can cut back hard and if they don't regrow it would not be a problem, and others parts that I will just trim back.   It is lovely and always flowers well, it is just outgrowing its space.  

    I really appreciate all the advice and information.   
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