Hebe is the scientific name of this plant also known as Veronica. This genus is made up of about 140 species of evergreen trees and shrubs. Its place of origin is New Zealand, although there are also species from Southeast Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, southern South America and the Falkland Islands. They are woody plants with small aciculiform leaves. Its flowers form very compact spikes at the end of the branches. They can be found with white, reddish and violet flowers. In this article we will see everything about pruning Hebe or Veronica, as well as the most important care that should be taken with this shrub.

If you read to the end you will learn the best techniques for proper pruning, the right time to trim and the tools to do it. The article has no waste, I assure you. 😉

Note: Please note that the advice given here is general, this blog is consulted from many countries in the world, with totally different characteristics, what not all tips will be adapted in the same way in all cases. Once you finish reading the article it will be necessary to analyze all the information and apply what you have learned in the best way. If you have any questions, remember that you can contact us to make your inquiries.

1. How to care for a Hebe or Veronica bush

We will dedicate this brief section to analyze the mild care that you should keep in mind to keep your Hebe healthy, strong and beautiful. As you can guess from the list of care you will find the pruning which will be the central axis of the article.

  • Sun: this plant should have a good sun exposure, although some species prefer a light shade.
  • Cold: does not have good resistance to low temperatures. The lowest temperature it supports is 0 °C. Lower temperatures can damage the foliage, so it is recommended to protect them throughout the winter.
Hebe bush flowers
  • Soil and fertilization: it needs soils with good nutrients and good drainage. Fertilize every 15 days during the flowering period. When autumn comes we stop fertilizing to help the plant enter its lethargy period.
  • Pests and diseases: it can be said that it is a plant that is very resistant to pests and diseases, so you must always be attentive and take care of it.
  • Irrigation: it must be watered regularly to keep the soil slightly moist, always avoiding waterlogging.
  • Transplantation and propagation: It can be transplanted in late winter or early spring. As for propagation, the most efficient way is through cuttings.
  • Pruning: this maintenance technique will help keep our Hebe or Veronica healthy, strong and with a good flowering.

2. Tools needed to prune a Hebe

The size of this shrub is small, some species can reach a height of half a meter and between 50 and 60 cm wide. This small size will simplify the work when looking for tools to perform pruning.

In general you can arrange it perfectly with any of the following tools, the selection of one or the other will depend largely on the size and type of pruning that you are going to carry out.

  • Hand Pruning Shears: Stems up to half inch in diameter can be pruned with hand shears.
  • Lopping Shears: It is suitable to use on stems between half inch and 2 inches in diameter.
  • Hedge Shears: Manual and power shears are available for trimming hedges. Manual shears have long, flat blades with relatively short handles and are good for small jobs. Electric shears are a good choice for larger hedges.
  • Saws: A number of pruning saws are available. These saws come with either curved or straight blades and of variable lengths and points. Curved blades that cut on the draw stroke are easy to use.
  • Protective elements: Never forget to use protective items such as gloves and gardening glasses. You are using sharp tools so protection is important.

Always remember to disinfect tool blades before starting pruning, as well as when switching from one plant to another. This will help you not to disperse diseases and / or pests from one plant to another.

2.1 Needed care of pruning tools

Try to perform the following care in your pruning tools to extend useful life.

  • Use the right tool for a job and avoid twisting or straining it.
  • Clean and oil tools regularly by wiping an oily cloth on blades and other surfaces.
  • Keep cutting edges sharp by regularly using an oilstone.
  • Wooden handles should be varnished or regularly treated with linseed oil to keep them from cracking or splintering.

Keep in mind that if you extend the life of your tools you will not be doing anything other than saving money. 😉

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3. Why you should prune your Veronica or Hebe bush

There are many reasons why, throughout the life of your Hebe, you will need to prune or cut. Among the most common reasons we can mention the following:

  • When we want to vary the shape of the bush or make the plant stand out more. For example, in certain points of the garden you can interteresar the broader or smaller development of certain shrubs.
  • When we want to improve the quantity and quality of flowers, in those species that are decorative for them.
  • To improve the health and aesthetics of the bush.
  • When you have to rejuvenate weak or sick shrubs.

As you can see, there are several reasons why pruning should be carried out, it is not just the whim of gardeners. 😉

4. How to perform Hebe pruning

As you well know on the internet you can find information about anything, but you can always run into bad information. When we talk about Veronica pruning you can read some misconceptions as you follow them; «Hebe bushes do not need to be pruned» or «Trim all the foliage to ground level so that the plant returns more strongly.»

You will see that what we will explain here is not at all complicated to memorize, but it is enough for me that when you leave this blog you know that the above concepts are very erroneous, so much so that if you carry them out they can end up with your dead plant.

Hebe bush - Tips for pruning
Hebe bush

Denying the first of the concepts I must say yes, the Hebes need to be pruned. And although in general they do not need a large amount of pruning, without proper care every year the plant will lose strength and its foliage will be less and less dense. It is better to prune on a regular basis every year and not let it pass, since recovering one of these bushes could be complicated.

On the other hand remember that there are many species that are framed within the Hebes, some need more pruning than others. As a general rule we can say that those with smaller leaves will require less pruning than those with larger leaves.

Turning to talk about hard pruning, I must tell you that if you have cut your Hebe at ground level, as some «experts» recommend, you probably killed your bush. In later sections we will see how you should carry out these types of severe pruning.

4.1 General tips on pruning Hebe

Most of the bushes that are part of the Hebe genus do not require much pruning, only light pruning is enough to maintain their shape, health and improve flowering. To clarify the issue we can divide Veronica’s pruning tasks into the following:

  • Remove any dead or damaged stem or branch.
  • Perform a light pruning during spring to maintain the shape.
  • ‘Deadhead’ or remove flowers when they start to wilt.

As we said in previous sections, these bushes are not characterized by their great resistance to frost, so once winter is over, many branches will be damaged by the cold. These branches will be the most abundant at the time of pruning, but you can also find damage of other types, do not hesitate to cut all of each of these damaged branches. Only cut them when you see that new shoots are appearing (early spring), never before.

Hebe with damaged branches that needs pruning
Hebe with damaged branches that needs pruning

In order to give a specific shape to the bush, light pruning can be done during spring, this will also promote growth and make the foliage denser. Always remember that Hebe is not like other arbusos that you can cut as much as you want and this will sprout with stronger, garter pruning are the ones you must perform.

Those Veronicas cultivated for their flowers will have the extra task of trimming them as they wilt. This task should be carried out during the entire flowering stage, it will help foster new blooms and keep the plant aesthetically more beautiful.

4.2 Hebe or Veronica hard pruning

Among the functions of carrying out a pruning is always the renovation of a plant, against this there are plants that support severe pruning and others that do not. Among the plants that do not support severe pruning is the Hebe or Veronica.

That said and as we have clarified before you will not be able to cut your Hebe at ground level and hope that it will come back with more force. You will have to carry out the renovation in several stages, allowing time to recover. Cut the shoots in no more than 1/3 at a time, then wait for the plant to generate new growths to carry out the second pruning.

5. When to prune Hebe or Veronica Bush

If you were attentive to everything developed so far we have already been making clear when the Veronica bush should be pruned, so and I will summarize everything in this section.

Each type of pruning has its right time to be carried out, therefore we can summarize the following:

  • Cleaning pruning: those prunings that try to eliminate those damaged or diseased elements should be carried out in early spring. Just as the bush begins to generate new shoots. Against this I can make a parenthesis to say that if the branch is completely dry, you can cut it at any time of the year.
  • Pruning to form: the light prunings that are carried out to shape these shrubs can be carried out during spring.
  • Deadhead: cutting the withered flowers is a task that you should carry out during the entire flowering season. Once the floral season is over, make sure you don’t leave any dried flowers on your bush.

These are general guidelines, then several cases can be given depending on the climate, size and particular species of Hebe.

6. How to Deadhead a Veronica Plant Video

To end this article, and as it is a matter of course, this blog will close with a video. In the case, we select one of the CountryFlowerFarms channel, in which we will see how to cut flowers, I hope you find it useful. 😉

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So far we have come up with this brief article about how and when to prune your Hebe bush, I hope that everything seen up to here has been very clear, otherwise or do not hesitate to contact us. 😉

Images sources:

Hebe bush flowers

Hebe with damaged branches that needs pruning