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Advice on Choosing the Right Species

Advice on Choosing the Right Species

Introduction
Introduction

Introduction

This section has been written to help you choose the right species of hedging plant for your situation. We’ve listed and described the main hedge plant species for each situation but if you need help to navigate the options (e.g. if you need a coastal, prickly, evergreen option) then sometimes a quick phone call to us will be easier. For each situation, we’ve given our top five recommendations (so that we don’t overwhelm you with choice) but there is also a list of additional species you can consider if you wish to do a bit more research.

Instant Hedging
Instant Hedging

Instant Hedging
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 hedge 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 hedging 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.

Intruder Hedges
Intruder Hedges

Intruder Hedges
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 hedge plant species in our opinion for intruder hedging 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 (Crataegus monogyna) 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 Silver Holly (Ilex aquifolium 'Argentea marginata') all are evergreen, with glossy, spiky edged leaves and profuse berries

Additional species all with good thorns are:

Berberis stenophylla
Berberis thunbergii Rose Glow
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Gorse (Ulex europaeus)
Rosa rugosa - White (also available in Pink)
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)

Coastal Hedging
Coastal Hedging

Coastal Hedging
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 hedge plant 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 wouldn't recommend this for very cold coastal situations

  • Griselinia littoralis - a gorgeous evergreen with bright apple green leaves - again not an ideal hedge plant for the coldest areas. We also have a variegated version, Griselinia Dixon's Cream.

  • Oleaster (Elaeagnus x ebbingei) - 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 japonicus 'Ovatus Aureus' - this gorgeous evergreen features a gilded edge to its vibrant green leaves

  • Gorse (Ulex europaeus) - dazzling egg yolk yellow flowers, very thorny, appearance of an evergreen

These are our top five hedge plants for the coast but providing you don’t get too much salt wind, the following are also good options

Berberis ottawensis Auricoma
Berberis stenophylla
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Cotoneaster franchetii (Franchet's cotoneaster)
Cotoneaster lacteus (Late cotoneaster)
Dog Rose (Rosa canina)
Elder (Sambucus nigra)
Field Maple (Acer campestre)
Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum),
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
Holly - English (Ilex aquifolium)
Holly - Silver (Ilex aquifolium 'Argentea marginata')
Laurel - Bay (Lauris nobilis)
Laurel - Spotted (Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia')
Lavender (Several varieties including English, French and Hidcote)
Leylandii - Green (Cupressocyparis leylandii)
Leylandii - Golden (Cupressocyparis leylandii “Castlewellan Gold”
Lonicera nitida
Lonicera pileata
Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternata)
Potentilla Pink (Also in orange, white and yellow)
Privet - Green (Ligustrum ovalifolium)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officionalis)
Rowan or Mountain Ash (Sorbus acuparia)
Viburnum tinus
Willow (Salix capraea)

Evergreen Hedging
Evergreen Hedging

Evergreen Hedging
Many of our customers want an evergreen hedge 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. Evergreen hedges 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 or Common Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) we sell thousands of these excellent hedge 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 Green (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:

Bamboo - Black (Phyllostachys nigra) - Our most popular variety - we also have Green, Golden and Umbrella Bamboo
Beech - Green (Fagus sylvatica) - not quite a full evergreen but does keep its (copper) leaves in winter until new growth pushes through
Berberis stenophylla
Box (Buxus sempervirens)
Brachyglottis (Senecio 'Sunshine')
Cotoneaster franchetii (Franchet's cotoneaster)
Cotoneaster lacteus (Late cotoneaster)
Escallonia (Read our full guide to all varieties of Escallonia)
Euonymus 'Emerald Gaiety' and Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'n' Gold' Hedge
Leylandii - Golden (Cupressocyparis leylandii 'Castlewellan Gold')
Euonymus japonicus 'Ovatus Aureus' and Euonymus 'Kathy'
Griselinia littoralis
Griselinia 'Dixons Cream'
English Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
Holly - Silver (Ilex aquifolium 'Argentea marginata')
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) – like Beech, a semi evergreen which keeps it’s copper leaves in winter
Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica)
Spotted Laurel (Aucuba japonica crotonifolia)
English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender Hidcote (Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote')
French Lavender (Lavandula Stoechas)
Lonicera pileata
Lonicera nitida 'Baggesen's Gold' (Honeysuckle 'Baggesen's Gold')
Monterey cypress 'Goldcrest' (Cupressus macrocarpa 'Goldcrest')
Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternata)
Mexican Orange Blossom - Golden (Choisya ternate 'Sundance')
Oleaster (Eleagnus ebbingei)
Photinia Red Robin (Photinia fraseri x Red Robin)
Pyracantha - Here you can read our full pyracantha hedge plant guide for info on all the different varieties
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Viburnum tinus
Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata 'Atrovirens') - this one nearly made the top 5 - another very popular species

Flowering Hedging
Flowering Hedging

Flowering Hedging
A hedge is more than a hedge when it flowers. Our top five flowering hedge plants 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

  • Cotoneaster franchetii (Franchet's cotoneaster) 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:

Berberis ottawensis 'Auricoma'
Berberis stenophylla
Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Cotoneaster horizontalis (Wall cotoneaster)
Cotoneaster lacteus (Late cotoneaster)
Dog Rose (Rosa canina)
Dogwood (Orange, Red, Vivid Red, Yellow)
Elder (Sambucus nigra)
Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum)
Forsythia
Juneberry (Amelanchier lamarckii or canadensis)
English Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia)
Hidcote Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia “Hidcote”)
French Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)
Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternata)
Mexican Orange Blossom - Golden (Choisya ternate “Sundance”)
Potentilla Pink (Also varieties in yellow, orange and white)
Prunus x cistena (Purple Sand Leaf Cherry)
Pyracantha (Firethorn)
Rowan or Mountain Ash (Sorbus acuparia) - Also known as Mountain Ash
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)
Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose)
Weigela (Weigela florida variegate)
Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)

Variegated Foliage
Variegated Foliage

Variegated Foliage
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 through the winter. If any leaves come through as plain green, just nip them off back to a main stem.

Our top five hedge plant species for variegated foliage are:

And if you want to consider others there’s also:

Oleaster 'Limelight' (Elaeagnus x ebbingei 'Limelight')
Euonymus japonicus 'Ovatus Aureus'
Weigela (Florida Variegata) (this one’s deciduous)
Photinia 'Red Robin'
Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'n' Gold' Hedge
Euonymus 'Emerald Gaiety'

Golden Foliage
Golden Foliage

Golden Foliage
Brilliant for bringing permanent bright colour into a garden, these are our top five hedge plant species with golden foliage. With the exception of golden privet which is semi-evergreen, our other species with golden foliage are all evergreen:
  • Golden Leylandii (Cupressocyparis leylandii 'Castlewellan Gold') bright foliage and not quite as fast growing as the green version (which can be a bonus!)

  • Golden Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium aureum) - not fully golden foliage but theres so much yellow on these leaves that we think it counts (keeps most of its leaves in winter)

  • Lonicera nitida 'Baggesen's Gold' - a true yellow evergreen

  • Mexican Orange Blossom - Golden (Choisya ternate 'Sundance') - very bright yellow foliage and lovely fragrant flowers in early autumn

  • Monterey cypress 'Goldcrest' - commonly called Goldcrest, this species of hedge is an upright conifer with almost lemon coloured foliage - gorgeous!

Red/Purple Foliage
Red/Purple Foliage

Red/Purple Foliage
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 or Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica purpurea) fantastic dark bruise coloured foliage. This is a semi evergreen so it keeps most of its leaves in winter but they turn copper coloured.

  • Berberis ottawensis Auricoma (Red Berberis) this is a deciduous species. It has dark red foliage all summer which turns flame coloured in autumn. It also has lovely yellow flowers and red berries.

  • Photinia 'Red Robin' the foliage on this species is 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 thunbergii Rose Glow dark pink/purple somewhat variegated foliage which is really unusual. This is a deciduous species.

  • Prunus x cistena (Purple Sand Leaf Cherry) as youd expect, this hedge plant has purple leaves and also pretty cherry flowers. This is a deciduous species.

Hedging with Berries, Fruits, Nuts, Hips and Haws
Hedging with Berries, Fruits, Nuts, Hips and Haws

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 hedge plant species in this category (this was a really hard choice because they are all so lovely) are:
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) - with so many red haws in late autumn, the whole bush looks to be red coloured. Hawthorn is deciduous.

  • Pyracantha a gorgeous evergreen with profuse red, orange or yellow berries

  • Cotoneaster franchetii (Franchet's cotoneaster)- a lovely evergreen with sage green coloured leaves and plenty of red berries

  • Holly - the classic berrying hedge species. Youll 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) - grows cherry fruits which are too bitter for us but much appreciated by birds

And the additional list all worth a place in the garden:

Berberis ottawensis
Berberis stenophylla
Berberis thunbergii Rose Glow
Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Cotoneaster horizontalis (Wall cotoneaster)
Cotoneaster lacteus (Late cotoneaster)
Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris)
Dog Rose (Rosa canina)
Elder (Sambucus nigra)
Hazel (Coryllus avellana)
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
Juneberry (Amelanchier lamarckii)
Oleaster (Elaeagnus x ebbingei)
Rosa rugosa - Pink (Pink Ramanas Rose) or Rosa rugosa - White (White Ramanas Rose)
Rowan or Mountain Ash (Sorbus acuparia)
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)
Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose)
Viburnum tinus
English Yew (Taxus Baccata)

Good in Wet Soils
Good in Wet Soils

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 hedge plant speices 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 as a deciduous hedge. Its also really good for improving the soil by fixing nitrogen. Although its not one of the most familiar species for hedging, its 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 hedge with gorgeous catkins.

If the soil is wet but not waterlogged, there’s a bit more choice including some evergreens:

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Dogwood (Orange, Red, Vivid Red, Yellow)
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
Juneberry (Amelanchier lamarckii)
Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) – Also evergreen
Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica) – Also evergreen
Spotted Laurel (Aucuba japonica Crotonifolia) - Also evergreen
Rowan or Mountain Ash (Sorbus acuparia)
Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose)
Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata 'Atrovirens') – Also evergreen

Good in Shade
Good in Shade

Good in Shade
Nearly all of our hedging plants will grow in partial shade and 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 in this instance 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).

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.

Our top five hedge plant recommendations for shade are:
  • Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) one of our best selling hedging plants and good in shade its 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 its 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 (Franchet's cotoneaster) 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

Others which are well suited to shade are:

Berberis ottawensis Auricoma
Berberis stenophylla
Box (Buxus sempervirens)
Cotoneaster horizontalis (Wall cotoneaster)
Cotoneaster lacteus (Late cotoneaster)
Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'n' Gold' Hedge
Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum)
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
Hypericum 'Hidcote' (St John’s Wort)
Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica)
Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Lonicera pileata
Oleaster (Eleaegnus x ebbingeii)
Privet - Green (Ligustrum ovalifolium)
Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata 'Atrovirens')

In addition there are also a number of species that are fine in pretty heavy partial shade:

Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Bamboo - Green (Phllostachys-bissettii) - also available in Black, Golden and Umbrella Bamboo varieties
Beech - Green (Fagus sylvatica)
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Dogwood (Cornus) - Click to read our guide on all varieties of Dogwood
Elder (Sambucus nigra)
Escallonia - Click to read our guide on all varieties of Escallonia
Euonymus 'Kathy'
Euonymus japonicus 'Ovatus Aureus'
Field Maple (Acer campestre)
Forsythia
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
Hazel (Coryllus avellana)
Holly - Silver (Ilex aquifolium 'Argentea marginata')
Juneberry (Amelanchier lamarckii)
Laurel - Spotted (Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia')
Lonicera nitida
Monterey cypress 'Goldcrest'
Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternata)
Photinia 'Red Robin'
Potentilla Pink (Also available in white, orange and yellow flowering varieties)
Privet - Wild (Ligustrum vulgare)
Prunus x cistena (Purple Leaf Sand Cherry)
Rowan or Mountain Ash (Sorbus acuparia)
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)
Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose)
Viburnum tinus
Willow (Salix capraea)

Good in Windy Situations
Good in Windy Situations

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, so in the example of a 3m hedge, the protection applies to a reducing degree up to 36m from the hedge.

Our top five hedge plant species for windy sites are:
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) the staple of farmland hedging even in very windy sites and will grow to 3m and above to provide good shelter

  • Leylandii (Cupressocyparis leylandii) a full evergreen which is very fast growing and will grow very tall if adequately spaced. The golden version Leylandii Castlewellan Gold is also suitable for windy situations

  • Field Maple a deciduous species which has gorgeous butter yellow leaves in autumn and is fast growing

  • Cotoneaster franchetii a lovely flowering evergreen species with sage green leaves, and pink/white pearl flowers and plenty of red berries as well as being fast growing

  • Yew - (Taxus baccata) a super quality dense dark green species which is quite slow growing

And the following hedge plant species are also suitable for fairly windy situations:

Berberis ottawensis
Berberis stenophylla
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Cotoneaster horizontalis (Wall cotoneaster)
Cotoneaster lacteus (Late cotoneaseter)
Dogwood (Orange, Red, Vivid Red, Yellow)
Griselinia littoralis
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
Hazel (Coryllus avellana)
Hypericum 'Hidcote' (St John’s Wort)
English Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
Holly - Silver (Ilex aquilfolium 'Argentea marginata')
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica)
Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Lonicera pileata
Oleaster (Elaegnus x ebbingeii)
Potentilla Pink - Also available in white, orange and yellow varieties
Privet - Green (Ligustrum ovalifolium)
Rowan or Mountain Ash (Sorbus acuparia)
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)
Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose)
Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata 'Atrovirens')
Willow (Salix capraea)

Native Hedging Species
Native Hedging Species

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 hedge 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 hedge plant species are:
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) there are millions of miles of this wonderful native deciduous hedging plant, which produces both 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 an upmarket urban hedge.

  • Yew - English (Taxus baccata) one of the few native evergreens, used for centuries for beautiful hedging

  • Holly(Ilex aquifolium) another of the very few native species which is also evergreen

  • Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) this hedge plant is often used as a complementary species to Hawthorn in field hedging, is one of the first species to flower in April and produces blue/black sloes in autumn

And the other native hedging species are:

Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)
Box (Buxus sempervirens)
Dog Rose (Rosa canina)
Elder (Sambucus nigra)
Field Maple (Acer campestre)
Forsythia
Hazel (Coryllus avellana)
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
Potentilla Pink - also available in orange, yellow and white varieties
Rowan or Mountain Ash (Sorbus acuparia)
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)
Viburnum opulus (Viburnum opulus)
Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)
Willow (Salix capraea)

Good Hedging Species for Low Hedges
Good Hedging Species for Low Hedges

Good Hedging Species for Low Hedges
Hedging is very useful for forming low barriers in a garden, and sometimes low hedging is more suited 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 if it would be too difficult to maintain. Low hedging is also very useful to separate off areas without forming structural barriers e.g. around a vegetable garden. An alternative option which can create a very pleasing effect, is to plant a low hedge in front of a taller hedge of a different colour, or where one hedge is an evergreen species and the other is 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 hedge plant species recommendations for low hedging are:
  • Lavender (Several varieties including English, French and Hidcote) 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 of about 30/40cm tall. Stoechas is the smallest variety, followed by Hidcote and then finally the tallest is 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 which is very good for hedging at about 1m

  • Potentilla a deciduous flowering species which is available in a lovely range of colours and is very easy to keep trimmed at 1m

  • Lonicera pileata this evergreen species has a slightly arching habit so it forms a wide bush, but its 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

Berberis thunbergii
Berberis thunbergii 'atropurpurea'
Cotoneaster franchetii (Franchet's cotoneaster)
Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'n' Gold' Hedge
Euonymus 'Emerald Gaiety'
Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum)
Hypericum 'Hidcote' (St John’s Wort)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officianalis)

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 or 5ft to 8ft)
Medium Height Hedging (1.5m to 2.5m or 5ft to 8ft)

Medium Height Hedging (1.5m to 2.5m or 5ft to 8ft)
This is the most popular hedging height that we are asked for and most species are suitable.

Our five most popular hedge plant species for this height of hedging are:
  • Cherry Laurel (Prunus lauroceraus) fast growing and evergreen with glossy bright green leaves

  • Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) fast growing and semi evergreen, as well as easy to trim to a sharp shape

  • Beech (Fagus sylvatica) a luxury hedge for urban settings with an average growth rate which is also good to add some winter semi evergreen colour to field hedging

  • Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) our top selling species, which is really inexpensive and has gorgeous flowers and red haws, as well as being deciduous

  • Escallonia a very popular evergreen flowering species that is fast growing, with red, pink or white flowers

And the considerable list of others that are suitable for medium height hedging is:

Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Berberis ottawensis
Berberis stenophylla
Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Cotoneaster franchetii (Franchet's cotoneaster)
Cotoneaster lacteus (Late cotoneaster)
Dog Rose (Rosa canina)Dogwood (Orange, Red, Vivid Red, Yellow)
Elder (Sambucus nigra)
Euonymus 'Kathy'
Euonymus japonicus 'Ovatus Aureus'
Field Maple (Acer campestre)
Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum)
Forsythia
Griselinia littoralis
Griselinia 'Dixons Cream'
Hazel (Coryllus avellana)
English Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
Silver Holly (Ilex aquifolium 'Argentea marginata')
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
Juneberry (Amelanchier lamarckiii)
Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica)
Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Spotted Laurel (Aucuba japonica)
Leylandii - Green (Cupressocyparis leylandii) and Leylandii - Golden - plant fairly densely for medium hedging
Lonicera nitida
Monterey Cypress 'Goldcrest'
Mexican Orange Blossom
Oleaster 'Limelight' (Elaeagnus x ebbingeii)
Photinia 'Red Robin'
Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) and Privet - Golden (Ligustrum ovalifolium Aureum)
Privet - Wild (Ligustrum vulgare)
Prunus x cistena (Purple Sand Leaf Cherry)
Pyracantha (Firethorn)
Rowan or Mountain Ash (Sorbus acuparia)
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)
Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose)
Viburnum tinus
Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata 'Atrovirens')
Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)
Willow (Salix capraea)
Yew - English (Taxus baccata)

Good for Tall Hedging (Over 2.5m)
Good for Tall Hedging (Over 2.5m)

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 hedge plant species for tall hedging (all evergreens) are:
  • Leylandii - Green (Cupressocyparis leylandii) and Leylandii - Golden (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 theres sufficient width for this bushy plant

  • Bamboo - Black(Phyllostachys Nigra) great for tall hedging where there isnt the width for bushy plants. Also comes in Golden, Green and Umbrella varieties.

  • Western Red Cedar a conifer which is easier to keep than Leylandii because it can be trimmed back into last seasons 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 to consider are:

Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Beech - Green (Fagus sylvatica)
Berberis ottawensis
Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Elder (Sambucus nigra)
Field Maple (Acer campestre)
Forsythia
Griselinia littoralis
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
Hazel (Coryllus avellana)
English Holly (Ilex aquifolium) and Silver Holly (Ilex aquifolium 'Argentea marginata')
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
Juneberry (Amelanchier lamarckii)
Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica)
Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Laurel - Spotted (Aucuba japonica)
Monterey cypress 'Goldcrest'
Photinia 'Red Robin'
Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) and Golden Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium Aureum)
Privet - Wild (Ligustrum vulgare)
Rowan or Mountain Ash (Sorbus acuparia)
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)
Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)
Willow (Salix capraea)

Evergreen Screen
Evergreen Screen

Evergreen Screen
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 hedge plant 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 wont 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:

Griselinia littoralis (Griselinia littoralis)
Beech - Green (Fagus Sylvatica)
Holly - English (Ilex Aquifolium)
Leylandii - Golden (Cupressocyparis Castlewellan Gold)
Lonicera nitida (Lonicera nitida)
Beech - Purple or Copper (Fagus Sylvatica 'Purpurea')
Privet - Green (Ligustrum Ovalifolium)

You can also take a look at our Ivy Screens for instant, evergreen screening.

Edible Hedging
Edible Hedging

Edible Hedging
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 hedge plant species:
  • Rowan or Mountain Ash (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 hedge 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 youve tasted Rose petal jam, this will quickly become the favourite part of your garden!

  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) - classically found in herb gardens, Rosemary will add fragrance, texture and colour to your borders. 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:

    Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
    Hazel (Coryllus avellana)
    Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
    Juneberry (Amelanchier lamarckii)
    English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
    Pyracantha (Firethorn) - Read our guide to the Pyracantha family of hedge plants with their colourful varieties
    Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)
    Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)
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