Help needed on Hebes

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Citronella 8 months ago.

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    If any of you monarch lovers grow Hebes, can you take a note, please, of which variety attracts the monarchs? I have a few varieties of Hebe in my garden and I don’t find the monarchs go for any them particularly. However, a neighbour has an old fashioned Koromiko which the monarchs seem to love. If you could provide name, colour, height etc, this would be helpful. Thank you! :)

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    I am in Lower Hutt and have one that the butterflies like the nectar. It has white flowers and grows to about 2m tall – happy for people to take cuttings. Strange happening in another hebe though, think Koromiko. Couple of cuttings eaten down to sticks by monarch caterpillars.


    Weinmannia silvicola – towai, tawhero (not a hebe but great nectar tree)- this is one that the bees and butterflies love! Year ago I saw one in the back of Whakatane with at least 20 admirals!



    Good work everyone. Hebes are really tricky … some experts believe that cultivars lose nectar quailty along the way. But I don’t know of any studies done in NZ – perhaps something for our next teacher fellows to consider. I need to be able to instruct garden centres what to order in, or grow, that can be correctly labelled as attractive to butterflies. Sounds easy, but its not!


    Oratia have so many diffent ones from all over the country all shapes and sizes –



    Last summer a large H stricta had as many as 15 common coppers feeding on it in Te Mata Park, Hawkes Bay.



    Hebes strike very readily from cuttings and would be true to type. Seeds would take longer and may cross-pollinate and not give you what you want. If you see a variety you like, most people wouldn’t mind letting you have a cutting or two. You only need 7cm or 10cm, leave 2 or 3 leaves with the tip and keep moist but not wet. You don’t need green fingers. Go for it. Bryan.



    The one that Gill likes, H. Salicifolia, should be a good one for South Islanders too.
    Good on you for doing the list – should be really helpful – handy for guerrilla gardening too 🙂

    I must admit I didn’t really hold out too much hope of the butterflies going mad over the Waireka, but it is such a pretty hebe i couldn’t resist it.



    Hi Clair – I got a Waireka too. I didn’t see any butterflies on it this year, but it has a buddleia on one side, and caryopteris on the other so it may get a better look in next summer when its a bit bigger.

    Thanks for your info … I’ve added this to my list as well!



    Yeah, I’ve found out the name of the hebe next to my work that the monarchs seemed to really go for this summer. It’s Hebe Blue Gem, apparently an older variety, flowers profusely summer and autumn (it’s beginning to flower again now after I dead-headed it) and available at some nurseries according to Google. Grows to over a metre, width about a metre, and is quite a dense shrub. I noticed that it was still flowering long after the buddleia had finished so it could be very useful.

    Vicky, I bought Wiri Prince because I love the deep purple, Waireka because the varigated leaves and crimson flowers make it so striking, and Icing Sugar because the two toned pink and white flowere are sooooo pretty.

    I’ve also taken cuttings of Blue gem, Lavender lace, and another old variety that looks like Midsummer Beauty. I’ll have to wait and see if they work.

    I found this site – has heaps of photos of hebes with their name and description – might be useful…



    What did you buy Clair???? I bought a few new ones this year, that didn’t seem particularly popular with anything but bees. Very pretty though. To be fair, when you have buddleia in a garden, hebes tend to get overlooked a little! I’m trying a Beverley Hills, so I might have to wait til next spring to see if it has any pulling power.

    I’m working on an idea for the Trust, and I really really need to try and find out what sort of hebes are popular (thank you Gill for getting this started!). Thanks Angie for your post – I have that one logged.

    This is an important idea to help our butterflies and butterfly gardeners. I have a few names on it, but not nearly enough. While we’re at it … if anyone has a dearer grade plant in their garden (by dearer, I only mean $10 or more), that butterflies LOVE let me know. It might be one I don’t have on my extensive “other than hebes” list. Especially something that is often available in garden centres.



    Ah well, you might have to go and live in the South Island Gill 🙂 That’s the original South Island Koromiko. I have the good old North Island Koromiko – Hebe Stricta – long white flower spikes – same as Wings1 above. These two are not cultivars so they grow like weeds and the butterflies love them. They are not the most popular hebes, people-wise, because they can get quite straggly and ugly unless you prune them back and dead-head them.

    I’m also on the look-out for coloured hebes that appeal to butterflies. I’ve bought 3 really pretty ones recently. I’ll let you know if the butterflies love them or leave them next year 🙂




    Thanks for your offer Clair. I will pinch some seeds off my neighbour’s koromiko 🙂 Is your koromiko the white flowered variety?



    Gill, at work I’m surrounded by various hebes the council have planted – none are Koromiko. I’m afraid I don’t know the names of the older plants, but the newest plantings are Wiri Prince and Hebe Flame. I’ve watched these all year this year and have only noticed butterflies (monarchs) on one. That one is just over a metre tall with mid purple flower spikes which are relatively short, and short, fairly fleshy leaves. By mid purple I mean the colour of the buddleia we shouldn’t grow any more. This hebe flowered profusely late summer, and has begun to flower again now (I dead-headed it much to the amusement of passers-by). The other older hebes have deep purple or white flowers, but the butterflies didn’t touch them or the new plants. I’m also interested in finding out the name of this plant – hmmm, maybe I’ll take a photo of it.

    If you want koromiko seed, I can send you some. I have heaps of that around my place – self seeds like a weed and grows really fast.

    this is the one that my butterflies love!

    Hebe stricta var. stricta
    Height: 4m; Spread: 2.5mNorth Island Koromiko (Shrub)
    Long pale green leaves and long white flower spikes (spring). Fast growing, good for revegetation projects. Prefers open habitats on forest margins.

    Its also good to have in the garden for upset tummies!, eat the leaf bud.

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