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Hebe pruning

  • Hebe pruning

My Hebe is getting very leggy, should I cut it back or leave it? It's not looking great & there appears to be no new growth areas on the lower stems.

Comments (12)

  1. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    HI Suzi,

    Oh dear, that's a very poor looking specimen!

    If it were mine, I would take three actions:

    Firstly, I would indeed prune it, quite hard, probably down to just 6" or so which will leave you with a low tuft of bare stems.

    Secondly, I would take all the pruned material, and take cuttings from them: if you're not sure about taking cuttings, check the Grower Tips page, and look for Propagation Guides (in the black bar). If you take a dozen or so cuttings, you are sure to get several new plants.

    Thirdly, I would take the pruned plant, tip it out of this pot, shake off most of the soil from the roots and repot it in fresh compost (the surface of the soil looks a little compacted?). Check that the pot has drainage holes (if not, drill some) and when you have repotted it, see if you can move the pot to a sunnier location.

    This would leave you with several new plants to replace this one if it doesn't pick up, but hopefully it will indeed show some new growth.

  2. Grower


    Hi Rachel,
    Yes that's no Chelsea winner for sure !!
    Thank you so much for all that info, I will take on all your advice,starting today. Many many thanks :) Suzi

  3. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    Suzi, you're most welcome - hopefully by mid summer you'll have lots of spare young Hebe plants to offer here!

  4. Grower


    Haha! Yes I hope so :) Many thanks again Rachel

  5. Grower


    Interested to hear advice to chop it right back, as I inherited several very leggy Hebes that died completely after hard pruning and I've since read that it's better to rejuvenate them slowly by pruning off only about 1/3 of the plant at a time until you see the new growth appearing, which has worked rather better for me. That said one of the younger hard-pruned plants did survive and regenerate into a rather nice specimen so perhaps its dependent on how old and woody the plant has become? The woody ones definitely didn't respond well to hard pruning.

  6. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    Nick, I think it does depend on how old the original plant is - not so much how "woody" it is, but how gnarled it is. Also, if you part the branches and find no small new growth at all in the very middle, then there is a good chance it will not survive the experience. This is why I always suggest using the prunings as cuttings material.

    Suzi's one is not particularly woody, it's more "leggy" so I have high hopes that it will regenerate, especially if repotted and freshened up generally.

    I do feel that once a plant reaches a certain stage, and has lost it's "form", as it were, then it's better to give in and buy a new one: but being a rampant propagator, I will always try to take cuttings of the old one, and then give it a chance by doing a mighty chop, on the grounds that "it will either live or die" (my unofficial professional motto) and that, as the owner presumably liked the plant when they bought it, they would rather have a clone of it than buy something new that might not be as nice.

  7. Grower

    Gray J

    Just noticed your post best thing I would recommend is to take some cuttings and when they have a good root system through the mother plant away as some don't respond to being cut back too hard and some wont come back at all, that's my experience good luck.Regards Graham

  8. Grower

    Gray J

    ps keep taking the tips out on your new plant to stop it from growing too leggy that keep your new plant growing vigorously and bushy at least it works for me Graham

  9. Grower


    Many thanks Graham, I have taken some cuttings but am not very good at getting them to root at all... Fingers crossed. I have several other Hebes that are similar so will try tips out also.

  10. Grower


    Hi Rachel, the hebe is coming along nicely now-lots of new growth coming through :) Thanks so much! Unfortunately the cuttings didn't do so well,am terrible with cuttings they never seem to take :( But I have a much healthier plant !!

    • Hebe pruning
  11. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    Hi Suzi,

    Great news! Now that there is good new growth appearing, you might like to take the time to go over the plant carefully with sharp secateurs (or maybe even scissors) to snip out any sections that are definitely dead: anything dry and light grey-looking that is above a new shoot. Trim such dead shoots back to just above the new one.

    And keep up the watering - it hasn't been hot this month, but it's been very windy, and the wind is very "drying".

    Thanks for posting the update, too!

  12. Grower


    Hi Rachel,

    :) Ok,will do.Thanks so much again !

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