I have fairly mature Hebe (albicans, I think) which suffered badly in the late frost this year in the UK. After trimming back all the clearly dead growth, there are some big gaps. All the active growth appears to be just at the tips of the branches. Is the plant ruined, or does it have a chance of recovery?

The other option might be to prune it all back at the end of the season - is this worth trying? There is roughly as much healthy growth as dead (now cut back)

Hebe, trimmed after frost damage

  • Hi Sean, What does your plant looks like? It will be easier to evaluate the damage it suffered with a picture. – Jika Jun 25 '16 at 17:26
  • Hebe is short lived in relation to a lot of plants. Pruning them back hard has never worked if the plant is established and years old. Those plants behind, Bleeding Heart, Dicentra? Are there two shrubs of Hebe there? I'd take the one out half dying out and leave the foreground hebe. Needs a bit more sun and less weeds...they compete for the nutrients. This looks like Hebe buxifolia but there are lots of them. Wonderful plants! How old are these guys? – stormy Jun 25 '16 at 22:55
  • Ribes? Lilac? I love plants all cuddled up together but Hebe is a bit of a dilettante and not great as a cuddling plant. Sounds so scientific, huh. – stormy Jun 25 '16 at 22:59

It might. You can sometimes cut these back to about eight inches all over in mid to late May in the UK, give them a good feed (growmore granules turned in to the soil at its base will do) and they'll recover, but they don't always respond. The weather this year though wasn't warm enough at that time to risk it, but I wouldn't recommend your cutting back hard in autumn, with winter on the way, it's much more likely to give up altogether. You can either take a risk and cut it hard back now, though it's a bit late, or just put up with it till next spring and hope for a warmer season next year and cut it then. They're not expensive shrubs, so if it's looking unattractive, I'd wait and risk cutting it next spring rather than looking at it all season, and just replace it if it doesn't respond.

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