rampant hebe

I have a rampant bushy hebe which needs a severe prune. However nearly sall the leaf growth is on the surface of the plant, so hard pruning will expose bare stems inside the bush.

How can I cut it back and still leave it looking good?


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,613
    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,230

    Be careful.

    I had 3 Midsummer Beauties, didn't realise how big they got. When I cut them back they put on plenty of new growth but all died back over the next couple of years. I had to start again andhave  put it way back from any paths so it can just grow til it stops

  • GardenmaidenGardenmaiden Posts: 1,095

    I have a couple called 'Lisa' and I just leave them as they don't seem to be a very fast growing variety. I had one in the garden originally that was big and half of it died due to it being top heavy and it split. The remaining half is very spindly but still looks nice.

    I suppose you could just prune the lower branches, to raise the crown so you still have the leaf growth.

  • Thanks to all for the replies on my problem.

    My hebe is hebe parviflora angustifolia; it's in great shape and has grown consistently over a period of years, but my problem is that all the leaves are near the outer surface of the plant, and that the necessary severe pruning will reveal a lot of straggly bare branches.

    Should I just do a series of superficial prunings over the next few years?


  • If you are planning a hard prune use some of the new shoots for cuttings now  in case the original plant doesn't recover. They root easily, even on a window sill in any normal rooting compost. Once the spring arives and you have some cuttings rooted you can hard prune in the knowledge that you can replace the shrub if it dies.

  • Hebe was the Greek goddess of youth. Old hebe plants never quite recover their early vigour. A well-named group of plants.

    I have found that small-leaved species of hebe respond to pruning rather better than large-leaved species.

  • Many thanks , that was very useful, I am off to get the secateurs now.

  • Smaller leaved Hebe's like to be cut back in stages or they will die in total or parts of.

    Best time to prune is from spring time when the shrub is starting to spurt new growth and I prune well into the summer months when the shrub is in its full growth cycle.

    Start by cutting one third of the leaf growth, so that you leave some growing leaves on the stems. Wait for the new buds to show further back onto the old wood which is presently bare.

    When the new buds are growing, you can then cut back again to just above the new buds. Carry on doing this until you have the shrub the size you want and the bare, inner part of the shrub is starting to fill out again.

    Add some fertiliser to the base

    Do not just hack away to old wood or it will not forgive you!

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