Plants to Love: White Parahebe (Parahebe linifolia)

by Genevieve on August 4, 2010

Parahebe linifolia with Heuchera 'Crimson Curls'

White Parahebe (USDA Zones 8-11) deserves to be one of those plants like Geranium ‘Rozanne’; a plant that’s totally overused but nobody’s actually sick of because it is so ridiculously charming.

It has deep green, glossy foliage that’s evergreen and very attractive, its delicate white blooms are lacy yet sturdy and incredibly profuse – and the plant simply goes with everything. You name me a plant that doesn’t look nice next to this Parahebe and I’ll name you a plant that I don’t want in my garden.

They bloom so constantly that it’s hard to find a good time to prune the darn things. At some point in late summer there are so many dead blooms mingled among the pretty fresh ones that I just take the hedging shears to it and bring it in by about 8” to take off all the old bloom spikes and “pinch” the leaf tips to keep it bushy and full. Parahebe linifolia gets to about 3.5’ tall and wide here in coastal zone 9, larger with time.

They respond moderately well to hard pruning (pruning back to wood), returning with vigor 80% of the time, but I only do that if absolutely necessary to control size on an old specimen. You can usually shear it in stages to reduce size and have it look decent during the process (shearing in stages is where you shear back to where there’s only 3” of green growth left before you hit woody stems, let the plant fill in and create new growth on the inside of the plant, then prune again to bring it back in size even more. The whole point with this technique is that it has a chance to recover and make new green growth to sustain it through each prune).

They are not deer-resistant, not wind-tolerant, and need full sun to look good. But put it in a decent garden location and it will really shine for you, while asking for little in return.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie August 4, 2010 at 5:04 am

Gen, What a charmer. I’m not familiar with White Parahebe , even as an annual, here in my zone 6 garden but I love the look of this plant. Who doesn’t need another ‘go-to’ edging plant? A comparison to Rozanne is interesting because, as you so aptly put it, Rozanne is so overused but still loved because she never fails to perform.

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Monica the Garden Faerie August 4, 2010 at 8:53 am

I don’t know from this one either, but I like it, esp. paired with (are those) coral bells(?).

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Genevieve August 11, 2010 at 8:05 am

Hi Debbie! I wouldn’t grow White Parahebe as an annual – it takes some time to get moving, unfortunately. You know what’s funny is I have trouble finding it in nurseries here, too! Awful, huh? It should be lined up in rows with Rozanne in the “buy this” displays.

Monica, yep, that is totally purple Heuchera. Crimson Curls! Good eye.

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Michele September 19, 2012 at 8:50 am

I planted three of these in my southern California garden in mid spring. Because my full sun areas tend to be a bit arid, I planted these in filtered sun. They may not bloom as profusely here (maybe next year?), but the spent blooms leave beautiful feathery tendrils behind which I absolutely love. I plan to find more of these next spring and use them to fill in around darker foliage plants.

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