| Hedge & Hedging Plants from Hedges Direct|
Hedges Direct are a specialist grower of a huge range of hedging plants, in all sizes from 30cm to 3m. We stock bare roots, cell grown plants, pot grown shrubs and root ball hedge plants so whether you want deciduous or evergreen hedging, cheap garden hedging or top of the range instant hedging, fine topiary, trees or lawn turf you’ve found the right company.
Ready made instant hedging, grown in troughs is gaining in popularity for those seeking an instant impact. Although there are other ways to achieve a good tall hedge fairly quickly (root ball hedging plants and also plants grown in larger pots) nothing quite compares with the fact that trough grown instant hedging is already knitted together and trimmed on the sides and the top so that when it is planted it looks like it's been there for ever and saves at least a couple of years on high density planting of any other type of plant. Our instant troughs are show garden quality (not all are and some of our naughty competitors call their stock "instant" when it's not even trough grown). Learn more about our Instant Hedging range here.
Whether you’re looking to deter youths just making a bit of nuisance of themselves, or serious burglars, intruder hedging (also called security hedging) can be really useful. Some of the species we sell have really vicious thorns which you can grow over the top of a fence or wall to discourage people coming into your garden – or you can grow them under and around windows. Burglars are aware that they can leave tell-tale signs on hedging – either tiny threads of ripped clothing or specks of blood. Many people mix some of these species together. Our mixed native hedging packs contain Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Dog Rose.
The best species are listed below (click the links to read our full information/see photographs and pricing)
- Pyracantha (Firethorn) – one of our top selling species for this purpose because as well as having really dangerous thorns, it also is evergreen, has pretty fragrant flowers and profuse berries (red, orange or yellow) in winter
- Hawthorn (Quickthorn) – used for millions of miles of farm hedging, with gorgeous bright spring leaf growth, pretty blossom and red autumn haws so profuse that the whole bush looks red in November. It is deciduous but has very strong thorns and a network of strong branches
- Red Leaf Berberis (Berberis ottowensis auricoma) is deciduous, has bright red leaves, which get brighter, flame coloured in autumn, yellow flowers and dark red berries.
- Dog Rose (Rosa canina) – a very spreading bush, with extremely good thorns and pretty pink/white rose flowers and red rose hips – deciduous
- Holly – either English Holly (Ilex aquifolium) or the large leafed variety Ilex J C Van Tol or Silver Holly (Ilex aquifolium “Silver Queen”) – all are evergreen, with glossy spiky edged leaves and profuse berries
Additional species all with good thorns are
Hedges at the sea-side can be a challenge because of the winds and salt spray. The extent to which you need a species suitable for coastal hedging depends on how far you are from the sea/beach/cliff. We’ve listed the best five species for coastal hedging but if you are half a mile inland in a sheltered spot, you’ll be able to choose from the additional list of species shown below the top five.
- Escallonia – our top seller – evergreen with shiny dark leaves and a long flowering period with red, pink or white flowers. It can lose some leaves in very cold winters so we wouldnt recommend this for very cold coastal situations
- Griselinia – a gorgeous evergreen with bright apple green leaves – again not ideal for the coldest areas. We also have a variegated version Griselinia Dixon’s Cream
- Oleaster – if you are coastal and cold, this is the one for you. It’s evergreen, with dark green leaves which are silver on the underside. Some silver spots on the leaves, very small grey flowers and sometimes some orange berries
- Euonymus japonicas – we have this variety either with silver or gold variegated leaves
- Gorse (Ulex europaeus) – dazzling egg yolk yellow flowers, very thorny, appearance of an evergreen
These are our top five for the coast but providing you don’t get too much salt wind, the following are also good options
Many of our customers want evergreen hedging to give a year-round green boundary. Whilst evergreens are more expensive than deciduous hedging they have many benefits in giving privacy, disguising unattractive features in your own or neighbouring gardens, providing safe nesting sites for birds and giving a great backdrop in the garden against which other plants can be shown off. They can also help to reduce noise levels and absorb pollution.Read more on evergreen hedging here, or see our top five evergreen species below;
- Cherry Laurel or Common Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) – we sell thousands of these excellent plants – glossy bright green leaves, very good at keeping their leaves in winter, fast growing, and easy to grow virtually anywhere
- Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) – very good even in high pollution areas, fast growing but will lose some leaves in cold winters
- Yew (Taxus baccata) – the king of hedging – luxurious, lush, very dark green foliage, slow growing so easy maintenance
- Leylandii (Cupressocyparis leylandii) – very fast growing, dense, dark green foliage
- Lonicera nitida – fast growing, tiny leaves so it looks very neat when just trimmed
And the additional species if you want to look a bit further
A hedge is more than a hedge when it flowers. Our top five are fantastic species, with profuse spectacular colourful flowers.
- Escallonia – gorgeous dark pink/red, pale pink or white flowers with the bonus of dark green evergreen foliage and fast growth
- Cotoneater franchetii – pale pink pearl sized flowers, red berries and evergreen foliage in an usual sage green colour
- Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) – the staple building block of mixed hedging – profuse blossom in May, red haws and pretty green leaves – deciduous and prickly
- Osmanthus x burkwoodii – very dark green leaves and fragrant white flowers
- Viburnum tinus – winter flowering with clusters of pink edged white flowers, blue berries, evergreen
And there are so many other flowering species
There are a limited number of hedging species with variegated foliage. They tend to be a bit more expensive than the plain green versions, largely because they’re all a bit slower growing than their green cousins – so they tend to be used for shorter lengths of hedging – but they can add a lot to a garden by providing a colourful backdrop, summer and winter. They are all evergreens so keep their leaves all winter. If any leaves come through as plain green, just nip them off back to a main stem. Our top five are
and if you want to consider others there’s also
Brilliant for bringing permanent bright colour into a garden, these are our top five species with golden foliage
- Golden Leylandii (Cupressocyparis leylandii “Castlewellan Gold” – bright foliage and not quite as fast growing as the green version (which can be a bonus!) - evergreen
- Golden Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium aureum) – not fully golden foliage but there’s so much yellow on these leaves that we think it counts – semi evergreen (keeps most of it’s leaves in winter)
- Lonicera nitida “Baggessen’s Gold” – a true yellow evergreen
- Golden Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternate “Sundance” – very bright yellow foliage and lovely fragrant flowers in early autumn - evergreen
- Monterey Cyprus “Goldcrest” – commonly called Goldcrest, this species is an upright conifer with almost lemon coloured foliage – gorgeous! Evergreen
We get a lot of requests for red or purple foliage because it adds so much colour to the garden. Most of these are deciduous so you need to be a bit careful to select an evergreen species if that’s important to you – we’ve indicated which is which below.
- Purple Beech (Fagus sylvatica purpurea) – fantastic dark bruise coloured foliage. This is a semi evergreen so it keeps most of it’s leaves in winter but they turn copper coloured
- Red Berberis (Berberis ottowensis Auricoma) – this is a deciduous species. It has dark red foliage all summer which turns flame coloured in autumn. Lovely yellow flowers and red berries
- Photinia Red Robin (Photinia x fraseri “Red Robin”) – the foliage on this species are dark green but new growth comes through bright red and often stays red for most of the summer/autumn, giving the plant a red/green appearance. This is an evergreen.
- Berberis Rose Glow (Berberis thunbergeii “Rose Glow” – dark pink foliage which is really unusual. This is a deciduous species.
- Purple Leaf Sand Cherry (Prunus x cistena) – as you’d expect, this has purple leaves and also pretty cherry flowers. This is a deciduous species.
Hedging with berries, fruits, nuts, hips and haws
Plenty of hedging species have berries, hips or haws or some other fruit that’s edible to wildlife. It’s marvellous to see birds bouncing on slender branches whilst they feast on lovely ripe fruits. Different species of birds like different types of berries so mixtures are best if you’re wildlife mad. Berries aren’t just for the birds though – they provide colour when there’s little else going on in the garden – and some are edible for humans too! Our top five (this was a really hard choice because they are all so lovely)
- Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) with so many red haws in late autumn that the whole bush looks to be red coloured – deciduous
- Pyracantha (Firethorn) – a gorgeous evergreen with profuse red, orange or yellow berries
- Cotoneaster franchetii – a lovely evergreen with sage green coloured leaves and plenty of red berries
- Holly (Ilex acquifolium) – the classic berrying hedge species – you’ll need to protect some bunches of berries with a bit of netting if you want to preserve some for Christmas decorations
- Wild Cherry (Prunus avium) – cherry fruits which are too bitter for us but much appreciated by birds
And the additional list all worth a place in the garden
Good in wet soils
There are very few species that can cope with standing water and unfortunately, no evergreens can cope with a really waterlogged situation. Normally we give our top five recommendations but in this case, we’re limiting ourselves to the best two which are
- Alder (Alnus glutinosa) – a very attractive leaf and male and female fruits which look completely different from each other and often stay on the tree most of winter – deciduous. It’s also really good for improving the soil by fixing nitrogen – although it’s not one of the most familiar species for hedging, it’s well worth considering for wet soils prone to being waterlogged
- Willow (Salix capraea) – really good on the edge of water or very wet soils – deciduous with gorgeous catkins
If the soil is wet but not waterlogged, there’s a bit more choice including some evergreens
Good in Shade
Nearly all of our hedging plants will grow in shade – it’s very much the minority that cannot survive without sunshine – but there are some that perform well and some that will just tolerate shade. If shade is caused by overhanging trees, there can also be dry soil – and this can cause as many problems as the shade – it is sensible to use RootGrow when planting to ensure that new planted hedging can reach what moisture there is in the soil and you need to be very diligent with the watering (really drench the plants occasionally to encourage the roots to go down deep to find moisture). Our top five for shade are
The best performers in shade tend not to be flowering species and since many berries are formed from flowers, that means that most will not produce berries, though there are exceptions and some species will flower and produce berries in shade.
- Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) – one of our best selling hedging plants and good in shade – it’s evergreen, fast growing and has glossy bright green leaves which help to brighten a shady area
- Yew (Taxus baccata) – a super quality dense dark green species which really likes shady areas – quite slow growing
- Pyracantha (Firethorn) – prickly evergreen which normally produces profuse flowers and berries – flowering and berrying will not be so profuse in shade but it’s still a good option – fast growing
- Holly (Ilex aquifolium – another species which is really well suited to shade and will produce berries – prickly and evergreen and quite slow growing
- Cotoneaster franchetii – one of the few flowering species which will perform in shade – this species has sage green leaves and pretty pink/white flowers like pearls and plenty of red berries – average growth rate
And others which are well suited to shade
And there are a number of additional species that are fine in pretty heavy partial shade
Good in windy situations
When choosing species for windy sites, you need to think about whether you want an evergreen (which blocks the wind like a fence or a wall but can make the wind whirl over the top) or a deciduous species which filters the wind more gently, creating a more sheltered spot to the leeward side. The rule of thumb is that a good hedge on level ground will provide full wind protection for a distance of five times its height (so a 3m tall hedge will give full protection for 15m (50ft) on the leeward side). Then the wind protection reduces until the full wind speed is restored at a distance of 12 times the height of the hedge (in the example of a 3m hedge, the protection applies to a reducing degree up to 36m from the hedge). Our top five hedging species for windy sites are
- Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) – the staple of a farm hedge – even in very windy sites and will grow to 3m plus to provide good shelter
- Leylandii (Cupressocyparis leylandii)– a full evergreen – very fast growing and will grow very tall if adequately spaced. The golden version (Castlewellan Gold) is also suitable for windy situations.
- Field Maple – a deciduous species which has gorgeous butter yellow leaves in autumn – fast growing
- Cotoneaster franchetii – a lovely flowering evergreen species with sage green leaves, and pink/white pearl flowers and plenty of red berries – fast growing
- Yew - (Taxus baccata) – a super quality dense dark green species – quite slow growing
And the following are also suitable for fairly windy situations
Native hedging species
Plants are defined as “native” if they grew here before the formation of the English Channel. The benefits of planting with native hedging species are
- You can be sure they are acclimatised to UK weather conditions, and soils and have low maintenance requirements
- Once established, native plants usually withstand long periods of dry weather
- Local plants are the essence of regional identity and preserve the character of the British countryside
- They are the backbone of local ecology – insects, birds and other animals cannot survive without the food and shelter they provide
Our top selling native species are
- Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) – there are millions of miles of this wonderful native deciduous hedging plant, which both produces flowers and haws – with the extra bonus of being one of the cheapest hedging plants we sell
- Beech (Fagus sylvatica) – a semi evergreen which is very popular both to provide some winter cover in rural hedges and also as a posh urban hedge.
- Yew (Taxus baccata) – one of the few native evergreens, used for centuries for beautiful hedging
- Holly (Ilex aquifolium) – another of the very few evergreen species that is native
- Blackthorn – this species is often used as a complementary species to Hawthorn in field hedging – one of the first species to flower in April and produces blue/black sloes in autumn
And the others are
Good hedging species for low hedges
Hedging species are very useful for forming low barriers in a garden –sometimes low hedging is better than taller hedging – if the hedge length is short, if a tall hedge would take up too much width, if it would create too much shade or be too difficult to maintain. Low hedging is also very useful to separate off areas without forming structural barriers eg around a veg garden. It can also look great to plant a low hedge in front of a taller hedge which is a different colour or where one is evergreen and one deciduous – for example a low Beech hedge in front of a tall Yew hedge looks fantastic with the copper winter leaves shown to their best against the dark background of the Yew. Our top five recommendations are
- English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia and Hidcote and French Lavender Lavandula stoechas) – an excellent and popular choice for low hedging – in summer with its full flower spikes, these species reach 80-100cm and in autumn they should be trimmed down to a low hedge about 30/40cm tall. Stoechas is the smallest variety, then Hidcote and then the tallest one is the English Lavender.
- Box (Buxus sempervirens) – this species would grow quite tall in time (about 2m) but because it is slow growing, it is very easy to keep as low hedging – anything from 30cm to 1m
- Compact Laurel (Prunus lauroceraus “Otto Luyken” – an evergreen with white flowers and dark green upright pointing leaves – very good for hedging at about 1m
- Potentilla – a deciduous flowering species – available in lovely colours – very easy to keep trimmed at 1m
- Lonicera pileata – this evergreen species has a slightly arching habit so it forms a wide bush, but it’s easy to keep to a neat shape. Good for hedging at 1m.
And others worth considering which are either compact varieties or are easy to keep as low hedges
Many of the medium height hedging species can also be kept as low hedges – just plant them densely and be aware that you’ll need to trim them a couple of times rather than just once a year.
Medium height hedging (1.5m to 2.5m (5ft to 8ft)
This is the most popular hedging height that we are asked for and most species are suitable. Our five most popular species for this height of hedging are
- Cherry Laurel (Prunus lauroceraus) – fast growing, evergreen, with glossy bright green leaves
- Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) – fast growing semi evergreen, easy to trim to a sharp shape
- Beech (Fagus sylvatica) – average growth rate – a luxury hedge for urban settings and good to add some winter semi evergreen colour to field hedging
- Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) – our top selling species – really inexpensive, gorgeous flowers and red haws – deciduous
- Escallonia – a very popular evergreen flowering species, with red, pink or white flowers – fast growing
And the considerable list of others that are suitable for hedging at 1.2 – 3m is
Good for tall hedging (over 2.5m)
Most of the species that are suitable for medium height hedging will grow taller, especially if you plant with fairly low density ie a good distance between each plant. That gives each plant more nutrients and moisture to promote growth. Our most popular species for tall hedging (all evergreens) are
- Leylandii (Cupressocyparis leylandii and “Castlewellan Gold”) – very fast growing species so this is an inexpensive way to grow a tall hedge. Looks great when trimmed regularly.
- Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) – great for hedging up to about 5m providing there’s sufficient width for this bushy plant
- Bamboo (Phyllostachis) – great for tall hedging where there isn’t the width for bushy plants
- Western Red Cedar – a conifer which is easier to keep than Leylandii because it can be trimmed back into last season’s growth
- Yew (Taxus baccata) – quite slow growing so it takes a while to get there but this variety forms a super dense hedge
And the others
Evergreen screens are a great way to ensure you have some privacy in your garden and can also be used to hide unsightly features and to create a property border that is much more attractive than a fence or wall. Evergreen hedging gives year round colour and cover, providing the ultimate living screen. And, as birds love nesting in the dense foliage, they can also help to turn your garden into a wildlife haven. Here are our top five hedging species for evergreen screens
- Leylandii (Cupressocyparis Leylandii) – this fast growing species will provide you with a dense, evergreen screen in no time that makes a good windbreak whilst also reducing noise pollution
- Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus Rotundifolia) – one of our most popular hedging species, Cherry Laurel, is the ideal choice for an evergreen screen as the large, glossy foliage makes an attractive aesthetic addition to your garden whilst providing both privacy and cover
- Box (Buxus sempervirens) – this species offers very small, dense foliage which makes an attractive screen and as Box is slow growing, your hedge won’t require much maintenance to keep it looking neat
- Photinia Red Robin (Photinia x fraseri) – Photinia makes an attractive evergreen screen with the young, bright red foliage that appears in spring providing a colourful display
- Yew (Taxus baccata) – known as the King of Hedges, Yew is a great choice for an evergreen screen as it has dense, dark foliage that takes well to pruning into a variety of different forms
Other species that would work well as an evergreen screen You can also take a look at our Ivy screens for instant, evergreen screening.
As growing your own food becomes an increasingly popular trend, planting an edible hedge is the best way to get home-grown treats as well as a wealth of other benefits. Edible hedges provide all the features of a traditional hedge, such as privacy screening, evergreen foliage for year-round interest, intruder deterrent spikes, summer flowers and much more, all whilst supplying you with tasty, fresh food for free. Some edible hedges provide berries perfect for baking whilst other have aromatic foliage that can infuse your cooking with fantastic flavours. And, not only are edible hedges great for you, they hold huge value for wildlife supplying hungry birds with a much needed food supply over the winter months, so be prepared to share! Here are our top five edible hedging species
- Rowan (Sorbus acuparia) – the bright berries that decorate Rowan may well be the best feature of this hedging plant, but the warm, red colour that bronzes the foliage in autumn and the ability to handle a wide range of planting sites come a very close second
- Dog Rose (Rosa Canina) – this fast growing hedging plant offers flowers that open with a blush of pink and release a sweet, pleasant fragrance in summer. Tolerant of most soil types, Rosa Canina makes a fantastic dense hedge and, once you’ve tasted Rose petal jam, this will quickly become your favourite part of the garden
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – classically found in herb gardens, Rosemary will add fragrance, texture and colour to your borders and as it looks best when left to grow naturally, it requires little maintenance – stealing sprigs for your cooking should be enough to keep it under control
- Crab Apple (Malus Sylvestris) – with something for every season, a Crab Apple hedge makes a great garden feature. And, as a native species, Crab Apple works wonderfully planted with other edible species to create a mixed hedge
- Elder (Sambucus nigra) – the dark foliage of Elder adopts a buttery shade of yellow in the autumn providing seasonal interest and if planted in full sun, a Sambucus Nigra hedge will provide you with an abundance of Elderberries to experiment with in the kitchen
The following species would also make a wonderful addition to your kitchen garden