Hebe

Portlanders have a love-hate relationship with Hebes. We are lured in by flashy evergreen leaves and pretty summer flowers, we think they're wonderful when our winters are mild - then we get the occasional cold snap and (some of them) die. We're sad and angry and we vow never to plant another Hebe...then we fall in love again.

The thing is that some Hebes are perfectly hardy in Portland. The key is to know which ones are reliable and which ones are not, so if you choose to take a chance on a more tender Hebe, you do it with open eyes, knowing it may end in tears, but ready to enjoy the time you have together.

Generally speaking, the smaller the leaf, the hardier the Hebe; the more impressive the flowers, the more tender. These are not a hard and fast rules, so always read labels.

Hardy Hebes

We consider Hebes that are hardy in USDA Zone 7 to be reliably hardy in Portland. Here are some of our favorites:

Hebe 'Caledonia'

Hebe 'Caledonia'

Lavender flowers in July-August.

New leaves are purple and turn blue-green with purple stems.

Grows 2' x 2'.

Hebe 'Champion'

Hebe 'Champion'

If you want purple flowers combined with hardiness, this is the Hebe for you.

Violet purple flowers spikes bloom in summer and fall. Cute round leaves are green with a red edge.

Grows 12-18" x 18-24".

Hebe 'Karo Golden Esk'

Hebe 'Karo Golden Esk'

Bright green leaves are scaly and have a ferny or coniferous appearance.

White flowers in summer are on old wood and can be hidden by leaves, but we this Hebe is all about the foliage, so it's okay.

Grows wider than tall, 2' x 3'.

Hebe 'Pretty in Pink'

Hebe 'Pretty in Pink'

This is easily our most popular Hebe and justly so. Short pink flower spikes appear in summer. New leaves are purple maturing to dark green with a purple reverse.

It's tidy habit is low and dense, making it great for growing in containers or for the edge of a sunny border.

Grows 12" x 24".

Hebe 'Red Edge'

Hebe 'Red Edge'

Pale lilac flowers in summer, blue-green leaves are edged red.

Grows 18" x 24".

Hebe  'James Stirling'

Hebe ochracea 'James Stirling'

People are often surprised to discover that this Hebe is not a conifer. The cool ochre yellow leaves are scaly and look a lot like a thread-branch cypress, so the confusion is understandable. White flowers appear sporadically in summer.

'James Stirling' grows in an upright anvil or vase shape to about 2' x 2'.

Hebe 'Quicksilver'

Hebe pimeleoides 'Quicksilver'

Tiny frosty blue leaves, black stems and lavender flowers.

Grows 12" x 24".

Hebe pinguifolia 'Pagei'

Hebe pinguifolia 'Pagei'

Cute round frosty blue leaves, white flowers and low groundcover shape.

Grows 9" x 36".


Tender Hebes

Portland's USDA hardiness zone is Zone 8B, which means that temps don't usually go below 15F (of course we know it does get colder sometimes, but not often). Many of our winters are warmer, and in those years, tender Hebes typically survive and even look great while doing it! For best success, plant tender Hebes in spring or early summer so they can get established well before threatening cold, make sure to keep them watered during dry spells in winter (and summer too), and cross your fingers for a warm winter.

Because they're so temperamental, we focus on tender Hebes that have exquisite foliage or flowers. Here are some of our favorites:

Hebe 'Amy'

Hebe ‘Amy’

Amy is a heartbreaker. Big spikes of vibrant purple flowers and large oblong glossy leaves with purple new growth lure you in.

In mild winters it looks great, but our colder winters cause damage to the outer edges (if it's not killed all together).

The damaged part has to be cut back so while it may reach the 4'x4' that the labels predict, it will not stay there consistently.

Hebe 'Autumn Glory'

Hebe 'Autumn Glory'

Spikes of lavender-blue flowers in late summer-fall. Oblong large green leaves and maroon stems.

Grows 18-24" x 24-36".

Hebe 'Marilyn Monroe'

Hebe 'Marilyn Monroe'

Flowers open to saturated pinkish-purple and fade to white. Narrow new leaves are magenta pink and turn gray-green with a white edge. The overall look is of muted silvery tones and it's wonderful!

Grows 2' x 2'.

Hebe 'Patty's Purple'

Hebe 'Patty's Purple'

Lavender flowers, narrow green leaves, burgundy stems. Leaves are neat and tidy and flowers are prolific in late summer.

Grows 2' x 2'.

Hebe 'Purple Shamrock'

Hebe 'Purple Shamrock'

This plant is all about the leaves. Narrow green and gold leaves are brushed with purple toward the tips on burgundy stems. Small clusters of lavender flowers highlight the leaves late in summer.

Grows 2' x 2'.

Find the Perfect Shrubs for your garden

Read up on some of our favorite shrubs and remember, this is only a smattering of the variety of shrubs we carry all year long! Note: Viewing a Native Plant will take you into our Native Plant section.

Abelia

Abelia

Natives

Arbutus: Pacific Madrone

Natives

Cornus sericea

Red Twig Dogwood
Natives

Corylus cornuta

Beaked Hazelnut
decid-rhod

Deciduous Azalea

Bamboo

Phyllostachys: Bamboo

Banana

Banana

Buddleia

Buddleia: Butterfly Bush

Callicarpa

Callicarpa: Beautyberry

Camellia

Camellia

Ceanothus

Ceanothus

Natives

Native Ceanothus: Wild Lilac

Chaenomeles

Chaenomeles

Flowering Quince
Chimonanthus

Chimonanthus: Wintersweet

Clethra

Clethra: Summersweet

Perennials

Coprosma: Mirror Plant

Cornus

Cornus: Red Twig Dogwood

Corylopsis

Corylopsis: Winter Hazel

Corylus

Corylus: Filberts & Hazels

Cotinus

Cotinus: Smoke Tree

Daphne

Daphne

Edgeworthia

Edgeworthia

Chinese Paper Bush
Elaeagnus

Elaeagnus

Silverberry & Goumi Berry
Gardenia

Hardy Gardenia

Natives

Gaultheria shallon: Salal

Hamamelis

Hamamelis: Witch Hazel

Heathers

Heathers & Heaths

Hebe

Hebe

Hedges

Hedges

Natives

Holodiscus: Oceanspray

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

Itea

Itea: Sweetspire

Lagerstroemia

Lagerstroemia: Crape Myrtle

Lonicera

Lonicera: Honeysuckle

Natives

Mahonia: Oregon Grape

Nandina

Nandina: Heavenly Bamboo

Natives

Osmaronia: Indian Plum

Palms

Hardy Palm

Natives

Philadelphus: Mock Orange

Bamboo

Phyllostachys: Bamboo

Physocarpus

Physocarpus: Ninebark

Natives

Native Physocarpus

Western Ninebark
Punica

Punica: Pomegranate

Natives

Rhamnus: Cascara

Ribes

Ribes: Currant

Natives

Native Ribes: Wild Currant

Natives

Rosa: Wild Rose

Natives

Rubus: Salmonberry

Willow

Salix: Willow

Sambucus

Sambucus: Elderberry

Natives

Native Sambucus: Elderberry

Sarcococca

Sarcococca: Sweet Box

Natives

Symphoricarpos: Snowberry

Lilac

Syringa: Lilac

Vaccinium

Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Natives

Native Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Viburnum

Viburnum: Arrowwood

Natives

Native Viburnum trilobum

Cranberrybush