Hebe Blue Gem is a unique, low growing evergreen shrub that looks great all year round. Originating in New Zealand as a garden hybrid, Hebe X franciscana is one of several crosses of the Hebe strain that produces a pretty violet-blue flower in the summer and tolerates windy exposures well. It is an excellent choice for coastal plantings.
Hebe Blue Gem will grow to 1.5 meters in height and about 3.0 meters in spread. It is an attractive and colourful shrub that bears masses of rich violet bule flowers which persist from summer through autumn. It can be used as something of an informal low hedge or as a potted plant. Considered to have low to medium water use requirements and low to medium maintenance requirements, Hebe Blue Gem is tolerant of strong, salt laden winds which makes it a great choice on coastal locations.
One of several results of the Hebe elliptica and H. speciose cross, Hebe was first raised in Salisbury dating back to 1868. Hebe X franciscana is a member of the Scrophulariaceae Family. This, the Blue Gem variety is no longer regarded as distinct from the other strains of this cross. Very hardy in growth habit, the Hebe became a popular plant on coastal gardens as a distinctively dense hedge. The flowers emit a sweet scent and are a popular destination for bees. It has been known to continuously flower over multiple years in certain locations. The name Hebe is in honour of the goddess of youth, and the cup-bearer of the gods.
Fairly hardy in the UK, Hebe Blue Gem can tolerate dry soils between waterings up to soils that are constantly moist conditions. Its sun exposure can be from hot overhead sun to warm low sun conditions. The dark, glossy green leaves occur in an oval shape, some 4-7 cm long. The flowers are of a beautiful violet-blue shade forming in dense clusters between 4-8 cm long.
Soils should be of pH 7-8.5, so choose or manage your site to be slightly alkaline. It can persist and do well in textures ranging from sandy loam to clay loam and dry to normal soil wetness.
Whether a cottage, alpine, formal or informal hedge; or even as a potted plant, have a look at this beautiful specimen of shrub for your next planting.