Hebe and Veroniche
To the genus Hebe belong some species of evergreen shrubs, of medium or small size, originating from Australia and New Zealand, but widespread for many years in European gardens; their resemblance to a native plant has meant that they were commonly called with the name of this plant, or Veronica, as a perennial of European origin, of the same family.
These shrubs can be roughly divided into two large groups; one groups the hebs with foliage of medium or large size, about 3-6 cm in length, the other, on the other hand, brings together all those with small leaves, about 1-3 cm in length. In general, all the hebs have evergreen foliage, glossy and leathery, very dense and compact, with an oval or lanceolate shape; the leaves are very decorative, as they exist of various colors: variegated, spotted, very dark green, or even almost yellow.
In spring and autumn at the apex of the stems panicles of small, very decorative white, purple or blue flowers develop, which bloom within a few weeks.
Hebe - Hebe">Cultivation of hebe
Most of the species spread in the nursery are not afraid of the cold, and can bear temperatures close to -10 / -12 ° C without problems, maintaining their glossy and brilliant color; for this reason they are widely used in flower beds and planters, offering the advantage of beautiful evergreen foliage and pleasant flowering. The species with very minute leaves often do not produce showy flowers, but are mainly used for low and very compact vegetation.
They prefer sunny or semi-shady locations; they don't particularly like shade, but they tend to fit in without major problems.
Watering must be regular, especially during the hot months of the year; during the winter we water only in case of prolonged drought; if, on the other hand, the rains are present, we avoid watering the plants, which fear the excessive humidity of the soil.
We grow in a good fresh and light soil, very well drained, rich in organic matter.
The hebs can also be cultivated in pots, however, remember that the earth contained in the pot should not be left dry for excessively prolonged periods of time; moreover, to obtain a plant that is always healthy and luxuriant, let's repot it every 2-3 years, changing all the substrate contained in the pot.
A few tricks
To obtain always healthy and luxuriant hebs let's remember to provide fertilizer for flowering plants, to be mixed with the irrigating water; or we can spread around the plant some slow-release granular fertilizer, every 3-4 months, which will dissolve over time, guaranteeing constant nourishment for our plant.
To have a very dense and compact shrub it is also useful to remove the withered flowers, by pruning the branch that carries the withered panicles; in this way we will also avoid the development of fungal diseases, which often tend to affect these plants, especially if they are grown in conditions of poor ventilation.
Hebe -">Hebe - Hebe: Hebe diseases
Veronica is a very rustic and resistant species that does not have diseases or insects that affect it in a particular and specific way. To avoid the onset of any type of disease due to a weakening of the plant, the first rules to be respected are the choice of an adequate soil and irrigation related to the temperature and needs of this plant.
The soil or growing medium for Hebe must be acidic and the plant needs loose, organic matter-rich soil. In addition to this, the plant must be planted in well-drained soil that should not be watered excessively or rather water stagnation should be avoided in all ways. In fact, stagnation is one of the first causes of a possible fungal attack or the onset of root or collar rot.
In addition to these more cultural aspects, more related to prevention and good cultivation practices, those who grow veronica plants in the garden will have to pay attention mainly to aphids that can attack the leaves of this plant.