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Pruning Shrubs

Pruning Guide for Hebe shrubs. How to prune Hebes. 

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Most Hebes need little or no pruning. However the larger-leaved types are prone to damaged stems, and these can be safely cut back at any time during the growing season.

Dead-heading of old flowers is well worth the effort. It can extend the flowering period, or encourage a further show of flowers later in the year. If your particular plant becomes straggly, then cutting back hard - to within 30cm of the ground - will rejuvenate it. However, this last option should be done with care! See below.

Hebe tricolor often suffers winter damage, so a light prune each spring will probably be necessary

Hebe Tricolor is one of the less hardy types of Hebes that will probably have to be cut back quite hard after a hard winter. There will normally be new shoots emerging from lower down the stems, so pruning back any dead wood should stop at the new growth buds. These will soon break out to form new branches.

How and When to Prune Hebes.

 Hebe eliptica varieties are quite tough, and respond to hard prung where desired.

Hebe eliptica. This and other similar Hebe bushes, often suffer from snow damage, which opens up the centre of the shrub and often causes some of the branches to snap off under the weight.


 Hebe Midsummer Beauty is prone to damage in hard winters. A light pruning in the spring is usually sufficient, but this type can also be cut back quite hard

Hebe Midsummer Beauty and other similar long leaved Hebe varieties, generally require no pruning other than cutting out winter damage. However, the shrubs tend to get a bit top heavy, with bare stems at the bottom of the bush. Cutting back a few of the older stems to low down - near the base, will allow new branches to form, which will better clothe the shrub from top to bottom. Dear heading of the flowers as soon as they fade, will ensure continuation of the flowering period.



Pruning damaged and old Hebes.

However, larger growing varieties can suffer damage in winter months - either by weight of snow or severe frost damage. In this case, if it is not sufficient to prune out the damages stems/branches, they can be cut back quite hard. This is best done in two stages. Firstly cut around one third of the branches quite hard, then when the these start to re-generate into new growth - usually after just a few weeks - the remaining two thirds of the branches can be pruned out.

By far the most important pruning operation that can be carried out with the larger leaved/flowered varieties, is to regularly dead head to faded flowers. This light prune - if it can be so called - will prolong the flowering period my several months in some cases.

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By David Hughes -