Hebe Sapphire

Hebe “Sapphire”

Spikes of purple flowers with terracotta stamens  cover this bush in late summer.

Habit:

An evergreen shrub growing to 2M, whose foliage develops attractive purple colouration in winter. The leaves of Sapphire are more lanceolate than most Hebe. Hebe was the ancient goddess of youth, and the plant can be renewed perpetually as it comes readily from cuttings.

Origins:

Hebes are native to New Zealand, though some are also found in French Polynesia and South America. They are the largest plant genus in New Zealand and all but one of the 90 identified species occur in new Zealand. I have been unable to confirm the origins of Hebe “Sapphire” but believe it to be one of the many hybrids of Hebe speciosa.

Soil / Aspect:

Hebes like free draining soil and are typically found in coastal situations, in lowland scrub and on woodland margins.¬† They do not tolerate shade. In a garden, they should be given space to grow to their fullest extent, without being “leant on” by herbaceous perennials or grasses.

Maintenance:

Hebes do suffer from aphid attacks early in the season, on the new growth. However, they are generally robust plants. Flowering is prolonged my dead-heading each flower spike as it turns to seed. However they must not be pruned back hard, as they will not come again from woody stems.