Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Orphan Annie - the Continuing Saga

In spring 2009 I planted a hebe "Orphan Annie" in my garden. In May 2010 I questioned if it was a dud plant, as it had not grown at all. It looked like this:

In June 2011, I noted that it still hadn't grown, and that any surviving plants in the neighbourhood also hadn't grown. Here's how mine looked then:

By October 2012, I had decided that it definitely is a dud plant. At that stage, every example I had seen in anyone's garden had died. Mine was the only survivor. Here's how it looked:
I know all those photos look as if they were taken at the same time, but that is 3 years of "growth"!

At that point I had decided to just let it die over summer, if that's what it wanted to do. But amazingly enough it survived two summers, and here it is today:
It has actually grown! It has thickened out quite a bit, but it isn't much taller. It is nowhere near the 40cm it is supposed to reach. In 5 years, it has never flowered.

However, it does have this now:
One branch without the variegation. So now I have a dilemma. Should I trim off this branch or leave it alone? Orphan Annie was originally a sport of hebe "Marie Antoinette", which looks like this branch and grows to 75cm or so. This branch could be reverting to that, or could be something different again. Left alone it will probably take over, as with all that extra green energy-producing chlorophyll it will be much stronger than the variegated leaves. What would you do?


  1. I'd leave it alone to see what happens over time. It could be something different - why not give it a chance?

  2. In most variegated plants the green is a stronger growing plant and will take over completely. Why not grow the green shoot as a cutting and have two plants?

    BTW, I was advised at a nursery that, in their experience, Orphan Annie does not perform all that well and I would be better spending my money on another variety.

    1. I agree with your nursery, based on what I've seen in this part of the city. I've seen a lot of them in gardens, but no other survivors.