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Is my hebe dead or will it come back in the spring?

Somerset, United Kingdom Gb

My hebe has been flourishing for the last couple of years - this year even flowering from July to Christmas, but on the last of the severe frosts earlier this month, the tips have all drooped and never recovered. Has my hebe been killed by the frost or will it come back with a good spring prune? Any comments gladly received!

On plant Hebe




Get in down near the roots and scrape a little bark off the stems - if they show green, it's still alive but if it's brown, you have an ex-hebe

17 Jan, 2009


You are not alone in losing Hebe to this season's frost, several of mine (the larger leaved type) have been badly damaged. They do sometimes recover but because of the damage it is hardly worthwhile saving them. With future ones take a few cuttings to keep shelterd for the following year, just in case of another exceptional winter.

18 Jan, 2009


Be patient. Tell your plant it ain't dead until you tell it. Seriosly, Andrew's is a good check. But while you may have lost some green growth the woody part is likely to have pulled through OK. But Hebes are a bit funny with any pruning, preferring only a light snip that does not go into the established wood. It remains to be seen. . . . Hence the need for patience at this time to discover if you will need to follow Poaannua's sound advice.

18 Jan, 2009


We have been very lucky to have gone so many years without losing Hebes. The large leaved ones in the old days were always considered tender, we were lulled into thinking all was well now but the hard frosts found them out. Don't despair they may still be O.K. after cutting back hard in the Spring.

18 Jan, 2009


One of mine looks just like yours! It was a special one, ordered from Wisley. I can see that the lower growth is fine, so I am going to leave well alone until the spring and hope that I can save it. Yes, of course in retrospect I should have taken cuttings - but I didn't, regretfully!

I don't actually agree with Muddywellies on pruning established Hebes. I decided to hard-prune a leggy one last May - the recommended time of year - and it has grown back very well (and flowered too). I shall be repeating this on another one this May. I cut back to healthy shoots near the base of the shrub.

18 Jan, 2009


Thanks for the quick and informative replies everyone! Wyeboy - that's really interesting about hebes being considered tender - I suppose we've just had such a run of mild winters. With my sensible (credit crunch) hat on, I'll leave till mid-spring, then prune off all the frostbitten growth. Thing is, I have such a tiny garden, and it's rather a feature - don't know if I can face looking at the sad thing for the next 5 months! We'll see what happens.

18 Jan, 2009


I know how you feel - mine is in rather a prominent position! I hate looking at it, too.

18 Jan, 2009

How do I say thanks?

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