Hebes are versatile garden plants, offering bright foliage colours in winter and sparkling flowers through summer into autumn.

Hebes are bushy evergreen shrubs with purple, pink or white flowers in summer, and sometimes in spring or autumn. The leaves can be ornamental too, often tinged with pink or variegated. Plants range from 30cm (1ft) up to 1.2m (4ft) tall.

They like sunshine and need soil that drains freely. Most prefer a warm spot, and a few need protection from winter wet and cold. They also enjoy seaside conditions, coping well with salty breezes.

They won’t thrive in very heavy, wet soil or deep shade. Large-leaved hebes are vulnerable to cold, and frost or chilly winds can damage the foliage. Hebes don’t respond well to hard pruning.

The RHS.