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Help with Dwarf inkberry holly (I think)

I have a shrub in my garden.. I think it's a Dwarf inkberry holly although I'm not 100% sure.

Basically it looks great from the front, however, it looks like it's been growing forward whilst the back has stopped producing any leaves.

I wonder if any can advise how to revive it to its former glory.

Thanks in anticipation of your help.
Karen


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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,372
    It's a Hebe. 
    Trying to get enough light, and probably been blocked by other shrubs/plants. It looks very crowded.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 9,896
    edited 11 January
    Note that Hebe's may die if the whole plant is cut back hard.  You could try cutting 1/3rd of the stems of each plant to about 25cm in spring (just above a bud if you can see one.)  With luck, those cut-back stems will produce new shoots.  If that works, cut back another third of the remaining stems the following spring and the final third in the spring of the year after.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 14,827
    Take cuttings off, . If you take a dozen cuttings,three inches long, hormone rooting powder, gritty compost.  three or four inch long. If you get five to root, pot on into 3 inch pots. When the roots fill the pots, scrap the old plant and plant the new ones in a group about 10 inches apart.  If more than five root, you have presents to give away.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • Thanks for getting back to me folks! That's great!
    I shall try both the cutting back and take some cuttings.  
    When taking a cutting do I just cut 4inchs off from the end of a leafy stem?
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 14,827
    Yes, trim off excess leaves from the lower part of the stem. dip in rooting powder, put in gritty compost. A bit of bottom heat or a propagator lid ( or cut down pop bottle) on a windowsill will do if you haven't a greenhouse or cold frame.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • Desi_in_LondonDesi_in_London LondonPosts: 198
    @BobTheGardener or @fidgetbones -- I have an analogous problem. I have a very healthy ( by my gardening standards anyway) hebe which I don't think has every had anything done to it other than odd bits of deadheading. It has glossy dark green leaves and pinky purple flowers ( guite elongated ones vs the flowers of my variegated one that are stubbier but more purple) . Its basically outgrown it's ( huge) planter in the sense that I need to cut it back to stop it encroaching on the entrance path. It's still flowering ( or was until the last week of frosts ). Would it be ok to basically cut it all over into old wood ( which i define as the twiggy brown bits vs the twiggy green bits at the end) if I see buds in spring? I would guess that this probably still leaves the stems/branches 30-45 cm from the base in a rough dome. Or better to do 1/3 at a time even at this this more cautious length vs the 25cm you reference above and only lightly trim the others. The whole plant seems about 1.5mx 1.5 m , and basically if it was 1x1 that would be optimal. 

    If it helps tp advise , the plant in question is the 3rd picture in this post from me in December .
    NEW YEAR’S DAY FLOWER COUNT 2021 - Page 3 — BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
    Kindness is always the right choice.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 14,827
    I wouldn't cut back back into brown wood. I suspect it will not sprout again from it. Bit like lavender, if  it gets too big and woody in the middle, start again with new cuttings.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,372
    They don't tend to respond very well to hard pruning, as already said.
    If yours is one of the ones with bigger foliage, it will also be one of the less tough types. Summer Beauty perhaps.  [I haven't looked at your link yet. ]
    They make big specimens, so not so good in pots, unless trimmed after flowering each year to keep them a bit smaller, but it becomes difficult once they get to a bigger size, as you prevent flowering if you keep pruning to keep them contained. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Desi_in_LondonDesi_in_London LondonPosts: 198
    @fidgetbones and @Fairygirl thank you both for the advice -- re large leaved its not that large ( ie i have a cherry laurel and the healthy grown leaves on that are maybe 5-ish times the size of these leaves by surface area-- mature leaves on this hebe ( am going to be embarrassed if it turns out not to be one now!) are approx 2 inches long max by less than an inch wide, with plenty smaller.
    Kindness is always the right choice.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,372
    I just meant large for a Hebe @Desi_in_London ;)
    I had a look at your link, and it isn't S. Beauty, but it's in that range. The variegated ones are the same - not nearly so hardy. The smaller leaved, green or grey leaved ones are much tougher altogether, but generally speaking, cutting back hard can cause them to turn up their toes. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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