Hebe Albicans ‘Red Edge’
The parent species of this plant hails from the Southern Island of New Zealand and is mostly frost-hardy in British Winters: fortunately, manyare so tough that most species will sprout from the base if killed off by frost or erroneously over-pruned. From the species H. albicans has evolved Hebe albicans ‘Red Edge’ – although some sources think that it is a hybrid with another species: this compact and hummock-forming Hebe is a useful plant for container work, but it would also make an ideal and attractive hedge around such as a herb bed. This cultivar has blue-grey leaves, the edges of which take on a reddish tone in Winter. The lilac flowers appear in Summer, turning to white as they become older. Hebe are of variable frost-hardiness, some being able to withstand a moderate degree of frost only to die off the next time they are exposed to a long period of cold weather; some plants will withstand a seemingly harsh Winter, but will succumb the following year when temperatures appear to be far less severe. Try not to expose Hebe to extremes of temperature: this cultivar will survive at temperatures down to -5°C (23°F) if the is kept on the dry side, and to 20°C (70°F) as long as the plant is out of full sun and has plenty of water.
During periods of hot weather, move the Hebe out of direct sun: during Autumn, Winter and Spring, full sun is preferred.
Aim to keep the rootball of this Hebe moist at all times, using lime-free water if possible.
Hebe albicans ‘Red Edge’ does not need to be provided with any additional humidity.
During the’ Summer growing period, feed Hebe albicans ‘Red Edge’ every fortnight: use a proprietary feed. Plants in garden borders should be top-dressed in Spring.
In Spring, repot Hebe in a good-quality, loam-based drainage, add up to a third by volume of horticultural grit to the compost and blend well.
If you use Hebe albicans ‘Red Edge’ as a compact hedging plant, position compost: to aid the plants about 30cm (12in) apart and plant into a prepared bed that is weed-free and into which has been incorporated some organic material like farmyard manure: this will feed your hedge for about four years. Trim the hedge lightly in April, when new shoots will not be at risk from frost damage and before the flower shoots have time to form.
Leggy or damaged plants should be pruned back in late Spring. If the plant looks to be of limited life, be patient and leave it until late Spring to ensure that it is not sprouting from the base.
Cold winds will blacken the plant’s leaves and shoots.