Your home is your castle and is the one place where your time and privacy belongs only to you and your family. However, this enjoyment of your space can sometimes be interrupted. If you have loud neighbors or construction is happening in your neighborhood, you could feel the need to put a barrier between your property and the outside world. Luckily, hedge plants can help!
There are many benefits to planting hedge plants. With a privacy screen, you can have a physical barrier blocking sound and protecting you from elements like wind and rain. However, there are a few facts about hedge bushes that you should know before you start planting.
Designing your hedging and mapping out your plan with plants that will thrive in your environment is vital. In this guide, we will help you learn how to plant hedge bushes and reveal our favorite plants for privacy and hedging.
- What types of hedge plants are there?
- How to Plan Fast Growing Plants for a Privacy Hedge
- How to Plant Hedge Bushes
- Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
- Common Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
- Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera) for hedges that look and smell great!
- Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
- Water Bamboo (Phyllostachys heteroclada)
- Fraser Photinia (Photinia x fraseri' Red Robin') – Add a Splash of Color to Your Hedge Bushes
- Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
- Laurustinus (Viburnum tinus)
- Oval Leaf Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) – A Fast-Growing Privacy Hedge
- Border Forsythia (Forsythia 'Sunrise')
- Chocolate Vine (Akebia quinata)
- Minuet Weigela (Weigela florida 'Minuet') – Hedge Plants with an Extra Splash of Color
- Japanese Euonymus (Euonymus Japonicus)
- Scarlet Firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea)
- Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica) – A Big Tree for Privacy
- Leyland Cypress (x Cuprocyparis Leylandii)
- Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja x 'Green Giant')
What types of hedge plants are there?
Many different plants are suitable for privacy and hedging, like fruit tree hedges or rose bushes, but there are three that are the most popular. Each type of hedging plant has its own benefits, and the choice you make in selecting the right one for your property depends on what you want from your plants.
The three most popular kinds of hedging plants are evergreen trees, evergreen shrubs, and deciduous shrubs. Evergreen trees and shrubs are great for year round coverage that block out the elements like snow and wind and reduce noise.
The difference between these varieties is the size. If you want to grow shrubs for privacy screens, then evergreen trees are your best choice.
Deciduous trees do not provide privacy screening year round but offer a lot of visual variety to choose from for ornamentation. You can find deciduous trees will beautiful spring flowers or sharp fall colors, each adding visual and physical texture to your yard in every season but winter.
Consider whether you want or need plants that grow fast or if slower-growing varieties are better for your yard. The possibilities are almost endless.
How to Plan Fast Growing Plants for a Privacy Hedge
The most important part of planting shrubs or trees for hedging around the perimeter of your property or in a specific portion of it is mapping out where you want your privacy screen plants to grow and how high you want them to be. Once you decide on the height, determine what features you want in your plants.
Do you want white flowers or green foliage, or maybe small trees? What color do you prefer? Do you want one unified look or do you want variety? Do you want a slow growing hedge, so you have less to prune? Consider the maintenance of each plant or tree, as well. If you don’t have much time to devote to pruning or fertilizing, go with privacy plants that require little attention in order to thrive.
Browsing this list will help you determine which hedge plants you prefer, and once you make that choice, you can space out your hedge. Pay attention to how wide each shrub or tree grows and decide if you want a dense hedge or something looser. If you prefer a thick screen, put in multiple rows.
Leave a minimum of 12″ to 24″ between rows to avoid root crowding. Measure the distance from the middle of the plant outward, and keep in mind how large your plants will be at maturity.
If you find the wildlife munching on your hedge, mix up a natural deer repellent recipe to deter but not harm them.
How to Plant Hedge Bushes
The approach you take to planting your hedge depends on how you buy your shrubs. If you are planting bare root shrubs, then digging a straight trench is your best option.
If you purchase plants in containers, dig individual holes. When you plant, be gentle with the roots and make sure you’re digging according to the plant’s specifications.
After planting, train your shrubs to get a structured look. Wait a season or two after planting to allow for the bush to get established, and then trim the top and sides a few times every year.
Remove about half the length of new growth with each pruning. Not all trees respond well to training, read about the requirements of your hedge plants.
Beautiful Hedge Plants
No matter whether you want slow growers or are seeking the fastest growing plant around, here are some of our favorites that will be sure to brighten your yard. You can’t go wrong with any of these plants.
Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
The Northern white cedar, also known as the American arborvitae, are low maintenance evergreen trees that act as fast growing hedges until reaching their full height. Growing up to 20 to 40 feet high and 10 to 15 feet wide, it is not a small tree at maturity but it is popular for its conical shape and dense foliage.
Cedar also has a pleasant scent. This evergreen is hardy and can tolerate black walnut trees, air pollution, clay soil, and wet soil.
They grow best in part shade or full sun in moist, well-drained soil. They are suitable for U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 2 to 7.
Common Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
The common boxwood is the perfect choice for an evergreen hedge since it is one of the easy to grow privacy plants. With creamy green blooms that sprout from April to May, this hedge plant offers excellent color.
The height of this evergreen varies from 5 to 15 feet, with a spread of the same, depending on where you put it. If you don’t get a lot of sun in your yard, this could be a good option for you, as it thrives in many part shade situations.
Buxus sempervirens are ideal shrubs for tiny hedges if you keep them well-pruned or larger ones with less trimming. It does well in hardiness zones 5 through 8. The structured shape makes this an excellent option for a formal garden or anywhere you want a little added separation from others.
Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera) for hedges that look and smell great!
For bushes that smell good, the wax myrtle is a great choice. The aromatic fruit and leaves of this fast-growing shrub are used to make bayberry candles and soap, with the leaves emitting the scent as they grow.
This low maintenance evergreen prefers full sun to part shade and thrives in hardiness zones 7 through 10. If you plant wax myrtle on your border, you will get a fast growing hedge that also attracts butterflies and birds.
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
Native to eastern Asia, the rose of Sharon is a multi-stemmed, upright deciduous shrub. This plant grows 8 to 12 feet tall and makes a great addition to flowering hedges. The pink flowers of this plant bloom in early summer, lasting until fall.
These drought tolerant shrubs prefer full sun to part shade and thrive in hardiness zones 5 to 8. They make effective hedges or screens.
Water Bamboo (Phyllostachys heteroclada)
If you want a hedge that is a little different, add some water bamboo to accent your hedges. With a height of up to 30 feet and a diameter of 2 inches, bamboo shoots add a little something special to your property.
Growing straight and tall, water bamboo turns a lovely dark green-gray at maturity. This hedge plant is very hardy and survives in climates as low as -5°F. It does best in hardiness zones 6 through 10.
Fraser Photinia (Photinia x fraseri’ Red Robin’) – Add a Splash of Color to Your Hedge Bushes
Fraser photinias are lovely broadleaf evergreen shrubs for hedges that will add color and interest to your yard. Perfect for an evergreen screen, its leaves start bright red and turn green as the leaves grow. It also produces white flowers that bloom in early spring.
This evergreen grows up to 15 feet tall and spreads from 10 to 15 feet wide. It prefers medium moisture, well-drained soil in areas with full sun to part shade. It grows in hardiness zones 7 to 9.
Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
Ideal for formal hedges, this broad evergreen can spread to 20 to 25 feet wide. Sometimes called the English laurel, the cherry laurel grows cherry-like fruits that ripen in the middle of summer. Though these fruits might be too bitter for humans, they do attract local birds.
Cherry laurel can survive in hardiness zones 6 to 8, and while it prefers full sun to part shade, it does tolerate dense shade. To ensure that these fast growing privacy shrubs don’t grow out of control, prune after flowering.
Laurustinus (Viburnum tinus)
Laurustinus makes a beautiful ornamental addition to any border. With beautiful white flower clusters and colorful blue berries, this bushy shrub draws the eye. Laurustinus prefers full sun or dappled shade and proliferates in moderately fertile, well-drained soil.
Once established, these evergreens area also drought tolerant, making them a good option if you live in California. They are low maintenance and don’t require any regular pruning. These plants grow up to 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide.
Oval Leaf Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) – A Fast-Growing Privacy Hedge
If you’re looking for fast growing privacy shrubs, the oval leaf privet is an excellent choice. Native to Japan, this deciduous shrub grows 10 to 15 feet tall. With dark, glossy green leaves and small, tubular white flowers that bloom from June to July, these shrubs are perfect for ornamentation.
The oval leaf privet prefers full sun to part shade and should be trimmed once or twice each summer. They tolerate urban environments, so they may be a good option for city dwellers. This is one of the best fast growing plants for a privacy hedge.
Border Forsythia (Forsythia ‘Sunrise’)
If you want a plant other than the typical bright green bushes most lawns have, then border forsythia is a good choice. This unique deciduous hybrid blooms from late winter to early spring when nothing else is blooming, allowing its bright yellow flowers to shine.
On the smaller side, these shrubs only grow up to 4 to 6 feet tall with an equal spread. They are suitable for zones 5 through 8 and prefer full sun to part shade.
Chocolate Vine (Akebia quinata)
Named for the drooping chocolate-purple flowers that bloom in spring, the chocolate vine is a deciduous vine with a rapid growth rate. It grows to 20 to 40 feet high and will need a support structure to climb as it gets bigger unless it is used for ground cover.
The flowers grow into violet fruit pods that open to reveal small black seeds in a white colored pulp, which is edible for humans. It thrives in full sun though it can also survive full shade. As this vine grows quickly, take care to prune and cut so it that it doesn’t overrun other plants or shrubs.
Minuet Weigela (Weigela florida ‘Minuet’) – Hedge Plants with an Extra Splash of Color
This dwarf shrub is perfect for a small hedge that is not boring. Though the flowers that bloom sporadically throughout the summer are no doubt a highlight, the Minuet weigela is colorful even without the blooms. With a slight purple hue to the foliage, this shrub adds color to any property.
The dense, rounded miniature hedge plants tolerate the cold well and grow in various conditions, though full sun is best for flowering. It thrives in zones 4 through 8, though it is very adaptable.
Japanese Euonymus (Euonymus Japonicus)
This oval evergreen shrub grows 10 to 15 feet tall and 5 to 8 feet wide, making it one of the easiest and best shrubs for privacy in either the front or backyard. The Japanese Euonymus gets especially showy in late spring when its greenish-white flowers bloom. In fall, pink fruits ripen for show, but won’t attract much wildlife.
This hedge plant does best in zones 6 through 9 and prefers moist, well-drained soil and part shade. It can tolerate full sun, though it should be followed by afternoon shade in warmer climates to keep the leaves and blooms from burning.
Scarlet Firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea)
Native to Europe and southwestern Asia, this eye-catching plant produces beautiful drooping clusters of white flowers. As late spring turns to fall, you can look forward to orange-red berries to accent your hedge bushes. In mild climates, scarlet firethorn is evergreen.
This hedge plant can grow up to 18 feet tall and prefers dry to medium moisture and well-drained soil. Plant these in an area where they can get full sun to part shade. It grows in hardiness zones 6 through 9.
Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica) – A Big Tree for Privacy
Native to central Europe, this tall deciduous tree grows upward to 60 feet and 50 feet wide, so it needs space. It is dense, with a rounded crown and low branches. If you have the room on your property, a few of these trees can make a great privacy screen.
The beech tree does not typically do well in urban settings as it requires fertile, moist, and well-drained soil. It does not tolerate wet soil with poor draining and grows best in full sun to part shade.
Leyland Cypress (x Cuprocyparis Leylandii)
The Leyland cypress is one of our favorite fast growing trees. This is another large tree that requires a lot of space, as it grows to 60 to 70 feet tall and spreads 10 to 15 feet wide. It tolerates a variety of soils, though it does best in moist, well-drained soils and full sun.
This evergreen grows best in hardiness zones 6 through 10 and is winter hardy. It produces gray-green foliage and fruiting cones, making it excellent for ornamentation, as well.
Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja x ‘Green Giant’)
Along with the emerald green arborvitae, green giant arborvitae is one of the most popular hedge plants. The green giant grows best in full sun to part shade with well-drained soils. If you plan on using these trees for a privacy screen, plant them 5 to 6 feet apart.
These evergreens take up a decent amount of space, growing 40 to 60 feet high and spreading 12 to 18 feet wide. They grow in hardiness zones 5 to 8.
If you want to get more enjoyment out of your property, planting a privacy hedge might be the right solution. To get started, choose which trees or shrubs you want in your yard.
There are so many different bushes to choose from that all have unique features. Whether you want size and density or flowery and showy, there is a hedge plant that will make your property even better!
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