Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Hebe Elliptica

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Hebe elliptica (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Hebe elliptica (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Summer to early autumn

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1m

Eventual Spread: 1m

Hardiness: 8b – 10a

Family: Plantaginaceae

Hebe elliptica is an evergreen shrub with a bushy habit. Its fleshy mid green leaves are elliptic with entire light green margins, up to 4cm long and 2cm broad. Its white/ pale mauve flowers are up to 1cm across and appear in clusters along the stem. Its fruit are small brown capsules.

Hebe elliptica, commonly known as the Alpine Hebe, is native to the west coats of north and south New Zealand.

The etymological root of the binomial name Hebe is derived from the Greek Goddess of youth. Elliptica is from the Latin meaning elliptic, in reference to the shape of this plant’s leaves.

The landscape architect may find Hebe elliptica useful as an evergreen formal or informal hedge. This shrub is tolerant of exposed maritime conditions.

Hebe elliptica Leaf (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Hebe elliptica Leaf (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Hebe elliptica flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

Hebe elliptica prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Hebe elliptica requires little maintenance. Pruning may be carried out during the growing season.

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