Hedges not only look stately, they’re also the best way to add privacy to your garden. Of course, not all hedging plants are created equal, so it’s wise to spend some time choosing the best species for your project. Consider the height you want, what suits your climate, growth rate, and attributes such as flowers, fruit, density, foliage color, and hardiness. To help you, horticulturalist Helen Young shares which species she considers to be the best plants for hedges.
1. Sasanqua Camellia
Autumn-flowering sasanqua camellias have plenty to offer. The large, abundant blooms are available in every shade of pink, plus white and red — which pop against the plant’s lustrous dark green foliage. Their naturally upright growth makes them ideal for hedges from five to 15 feet tall; use a dwarf variety for small hedges. They’re not the fastest growers and are low maintenance as a result. They like rich, slightly acidic soil and sun to partial shade.
2. Sweet Viburnum
Sweet viburnum is much loved for its lush, large, bright green leaves and super-speedy growth. But be warned, you’ll need to clip it constantly in summer to keep it neat. A vigorous grower, it’s best for 10- to 12-foot-tall hedges. If you prefer a more compact hedge, try viburnum suspensum, which is a smaller variety.
3. Japanese Box
Box is the classic formal hedge and Japanese box is a beautiful variety. It has glossy, green foliage with lime-green new growth and a moderate growth rate. In cold areas, use English box which is darker, matte green and slower growing. Use box for short hedges up to five feet tall. “Faulkner” is an excellent compact variety of Japanese box. Plant three or four spaced out by five feet.
4. Cascade Lilly Pilly
There are dozens of different lilly pillies but many are prone to pest problems. My pick is “Cascade” not just for its robust performance and fast growth, but for its fat, pink powderpuff flowers in summer, its flushes of pink to crimson new growth, and its masses of crimson berry fruit, which is suitable for jams and jellies. It has a gently weeping style of growing — lovely for an informal hedge — and reaches about 10 feet tall in sun or part shade.
Sometimes called orange jessamine or orange jasmine, murraya has become one of our most popular hedges for all the right reasons. The glossy green leaves are small and dense, with perfumed white flowers as a bonus. Murraya grows quickly in sun or partial shade, in most soils, and resists most pests and diseases. Old hedges can be rejuvenated by hard pruning if needed. It’s suitable for hedges from five feet to 15 feet tall.
This post originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.