a two level garden with fast growing hedges for privacy

10 Incredible Fast Growing Hedges

It’s easy to overlook the boundaries in your garden and let them fade into the background. However, there are so many beautiful hedges and shrubs that can bring your boundaries to the forefront of your garden without stealing the spotlight from your flower beds. And many of the most beautiful are fast growing hedges! Planting some fast growing hedging plants will soon bring privacy and aesthetic beauty in your garden with little maintenance. Fortunately, we’ve put together our suggestions for the best fastest growing hedges to make this job even easier for you. So, take a look at these beautiful quick growing hedges, and find some inspiration to spruce up your garden boundaries in just a few weeks. 

Benefits Of Planting Quick Growing Hedges

There are so many benefits of planting fast growing hedges, not least their quick growing times. Here are some of the major benefits of planting fast growing hedging for you and your garden:

  • Privacy: Fast growing hedges are an excellent way to create a private outdoor space in your garden. They can provide a natural screen to block unwanted views and create a secluded retreat for you and your family.
  • Aesthetics: Hedging adds visual appeal to your garden, and fast growing varieties quickly establish themselves, providing a lush and vibrant backdrop to your outdoor space.
  • Noise Reduction: Shrubs help to reduce noise pollution by acting as a natural sound barrier. They can absorb noise and create a more peaceful environment in your garden.
  • Windbreak: Hedges can also act as a windbreak, helping to protect your garden from strong winds and preventing soil erosion. This is particularly important if you live in an exposed area or have a garden susceptible to wind damage.
  • Wildlife Habitat: Hedges can provide a haven for wildlife, providing shelter and food for birds, insects, and small mammals. As fast growing hedges will quickly establish themselves, you can create a diverse and vibrant ecosystem in your garden in no time.

Read More: How To Attract Birds To Your Garden

When Should You Plant Fast Growing Hedging?

luxurious garden planted with flowers and quick growing hedges

The ideal time to plant these quick growing hedges in the UK is during the autumn and winter months, between October and March. During this time, the soil is still warm from the summer, which allows the hedge to establish a strong root system before the onset of the next growing season. The cooler temperatures and increased rainfall during this time also help reduce the plants’ stress, providing them with optimal conditions for healthy growth.

Planting during the autumn and winter months also allows the hedge to establish itself before the warmer and drier spring and summer conditions, which can be challenging for new plants. Planting later in the spring or summer can increase the risk of water stress and other environmental factors that can impact the growth and health of the hedge.

That being said, you can plant fast growing hedges at any time of the year as long as the soil is not waterlogged or frozen. However, planting during the recommended time frame can help to ensure the best chances of success and healthy growth.

10 of the Best Fast Growing Hedges

So, now you know why fast growing hedges are an effective solution for natural boundaries around your property, and it’s time to get into choosing them! Choosing a fast-growing species that can provide the desired privacy and aesthetics in a relatively short time is important. For example, if you want year-long coverage, a fast growing evergreen hedge may be what you’re looking for. However, if you want privacy throughout the summer, a fast growing privacy hedge will be more up your street. Whatever you’re looking for, we have selected 10 of the best fast-growing hedges for UK gardens. From evergreens to deciduous, here is a range of shrubs will suit all tastes and growing conditions. 

Read More: 10 Evergreen Shrubs For Pots

1. Chinese Fringe Bush

flowers of chinese fringe bush

Chinese Fringe Bush, also known as Loropetalum Chinense, is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 1m per year, making it an ideal fast growing hedge option. This shrub has striking, fringe-like pink or white flowers that bloom in the spring, adding a splash of colour to your garden. Chinese Fringe Bush prefers full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil, and although it is generally hardy in the UK, you may need to protect it from frost in severe winters.

You can prune Chinese Fringe Bush to maintain the desired size and shape. It will reach its full height within a few years with proper care and maintenance, providing a colourful and unique boundary for your property.

2. Mock Orange

mock orange shrub in a fast growing hedge arrangement

Mock Orange, also called Philadelphus, is a fast-growing deciduous shrub that makes an excellent hedge. It can grow up to 2m per year and produce fragrant white flowers blooming in early summer, creating a beautiful and fragrant boundary for your property.

Choose a location with well-draining soil and partial shade to plant Mock Orange. Full sun can also work, but the shrub will need adequate moisture. Water regularly, especially during the first few months after planting, and apply a balanced fertiliser according to the manufacturer’s instructions to encourage healthy growth.

To maintain their shape and size, you can prune Mock Orange in late summer or early autumn. Wearing protective gear such as gloves, long sleeves, and eye protection is recommended when handling plants and using pruning tools. This shrub can reach its full height within a few years with proper care and maintenance.

Mock Orange is generally hardy in the UK but may need protection from frost in severe winters. Despite this, it is a popular choice among gardeners due to its fast growth rate, fragrant flowers, and attractive appearance.

3. Red Twig Dogwood

bare red twig dogwood branches

Red Twig Dogwood, also known as Cornus alba, is a fast-growing deciduous shrub that can provide year-round interest to your garden. It is best known for its bright red stems that are particularly striking in winter, but it also produces clusters of white flowers in the spring and blue-white berries in the summer.

This shrub can tolerate various soil types, including wet soils, but requires adequate moisture. Therefore, water regularly, especially during the first few months after planting, and apply a balanced fertiliser according to the manufacturer’s instructions to encourage healthy growth.

You should prune Red Twig Dogwood in early spring to remove damaged or diseased stems and promote new growth. We’d also recommend removing up to one-third of the oldest stems yearly to encourage new, vibrant growth. With proper care and maintenance, this shrub can reach a height of 2 to 4 metres within a few years.

4. Shrubby Honeysuckle

flowers of shrubby honeysuckle

Shrubby honeysuckle, also known as Lonicera nitida, is a popular shrub in the UK. This evergreen fast growing hedge is native to China and has small, glossy green leaves that create a dense shrub when planted together. Shrubby honeysuckle produces small white or yellow flowers in the spring followed by black or red berries in the fall.

Shrubby honeysuckle grows best in well-draining soil and can tolerate full sun to partial shade. It’s a hardy plant that can withstand harsh winter conditions and is relatively low-maintenance. However, you may want to regularly prune shrubby honeysuckle to stop it from reaching its full height of 3-4 metres.

To grow shrubby honeysuckle as a hedge, you should plant them about 30-60 cm apart. Although regular pruning will ensure they maintain a neat shape, you shouldn’t prune too heavily, as this can damage the plant and reduce its overall health. You can also apply a balanced fertiliser in the spring to encourage healthy growth.

Generally, shrubby honeysuckle is pest and disease-resistant, but it may attract aphids and spider mites if conditions are not optimal. You can control these pests with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

5. Lilac Bush

a lilac bush alongside other fast growing hedges

Lilac bush (Syringa vulgaris) is a deciduous flowering shrub commonly used in fast growing hedges due to its full height and spread of 6 feet. It is known for its fragrant, colourful blooms in late spring to early summer in various colours, including shades of purple, pink, and white.

Lilac bushes prefer full sun and well-drained soil but can tolerate some shade and a range of soil types. As a result, they are generally low-maintenance and do not require regular pruning unless necessary to control size or shape. 

Although lilac bushes can grow up to 6 feet tall and wide, they may take several years to reach their full size. However, they are generally hardy and can withstand cold winters, making them a good choice for UK gardens.

It is best to prune lilac bushes immediately after flowering to encourage new growth and maintain a desired shape. Remove any dead or damaged wood and any crossing or rubbing branches. However, you should avoid heavy pruning as it may reduce flowering the following year.

6. Camellia

camellia flowers

Camellia is a beautiful flowering plant native to eastern and southern Asia. It is a popular choice for a fast growing evergreen hedge due to its stunning blooms, evergreen foliage, ease of care, and full height, reaching up to 20 feet without pruning.

Camellia plants prefer moist, well-drained soil and partial shade. You can plant them in spring or autumn, but preferably not during the hottest summer months. In terms of maintenance, Camellia plants require little pruning except to remove dead or damaged branches. They are generally not susceptible to pests or diseases but may be prone to scale insects, which you can treat with insecticidal soap. Additionally, they require regular watering, especially during hot, dry weather.

Camellia plants are prized for their stunning flowers, which come in various colours, including pink, red, white, and yellow. The blooms can range from small to very large, depending on the variety. Flowers typically bloom in late winter to early spring, providing a welcome burst of colour to a winter landscape.

When planting Camellias for hedging, choosing a suitable variety that will grow to the desired height and width is important. Some popular Camellia cultivars for hedging include Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’, Camellia japonica ‘Kramer’s Supreme’, and Camellia x williamsii ‘Debbie’.

7. Forsythia

a forsythia tree planted with quick growing hedges

Forsythia is a deciduous shrub popular for its early spring blooms. It produces masses of bright yellow flowers on its bare branches before its bright green foliage emerges. You can grow this hardy shrub in most soil types, and it is tolerant of frost, making it a great option for the UK climate.

Forsythia is one of the large fast growing hedges, capable of reaching a height of 3-4 metres within a few years. It has an upright arching habit and can spread up to 4 metres in width. Plus, it is relatively easy to maintain without much pruning, so you can plant it as a standalone shrub or as part of a mixed hedge. 

Forsythia is generally pest and disease resistant, although it can be susceptible to aphids and scale insects. However, you can control these with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. In addition, it is important to monitor the shrub for signs of canker, which can cause dieback and should be pruned out promptly.

This shrub also has a range of cultivars available, including dwarf varieties suitable for smaller gardens or as a low-growing hedge. Some of these varieties you could plant include ‘Northern Sun’, ‘Spring Glory’, ‘Fiesta’, or ‘Gold Tide’. 

8. Laurel 

laurel tree leaves

Laurel (Laurus nobilis) is a popular evergreen shrub commonly used in fast growing hedges. It can reach a height of up to 12 metres if left untrimmed, but gardeners often maintain it at the height of 1 to 4 metres to form a dense and formal hedge.

Laurel has glossy, dark green, oval-shaped leaves that release a fragrant aroma when crushed. Also, it produces small, yellow flowers in the spring, followed by black or purple berries in the autumn. However, unless the variety is Bay Laurel, the berries are poisonous, and people should not consume them.

Laurel grows best in well-draining soil and prefers a sunny or partially shaded location. It is tolerant of various soil types and can grow in coastal areas. Establishing a strong root system requires regular watering during the first few years after planting. However, once established, it is relatively drought-tolerant.

Laurel is easy to maintain and can be trimmed to maintain its desired shape and size. Pruning should be done in the late spring or early summer to allow the new growth to mature before the winter. Laurel can be susceptible to leaf spot, so it is important to monitor the plant for any signs of disease and treat it promptly if necessary.

9. Hawthorne 

hawthorne tree berries

Hawthorn, also known as Crataegus, is a popular choice for fast growing hedges in the UK. This deciduous shrub is known for its thorny branches and clusters of small, fragrant flowers that bloom in spring. Also, gardeners often use it as a hedgerow plant to create a natural barrier since it can grow up to 5m in height if left unpruned. However, one of the main benefits of hawthorn as a hedge plant is its ability to attract wildlife, such as birds and insects, to the garden. The flowers provide a valuable source of nectar for bees and butterflies, while the thorny branches provide shelter for nesting birds.

Hawthorn is an adaptable plant that grows in a range of soil types, including clay and sandy soils, and can tolerate full sun, partial shade and even harsh winter conditions.

When planting hawthorn, you should space the plants at least 60 cm apart to allow for proper air circulation and to prevent disease. Regular pruning is also essential to maintain the shape and size of the hedge and to promote healthy growth.

10. Callistemon 

callistemon flowers

Callistemon, commonly known as bottlebrush, is a genus of flowering plants that are native to Australia. These evergreen shrubs are known for their unique, cylindrical flowers that resemble the shape of a bottlebrush, hence its nickname. Callistemon is great for fast growing hedges due to its dense foliage and rapid growth rate.

Callistemon species are hardy and tolerant of a range of soil types, but they prefer well-draining soils in full sun to partial shade. They can also tolerate periods of drought once established, making them a low-maintenance option for quick growing hedges.

To maintain a Callistemon hedge, you should prune it regularly to keep its size and shape under control. It is also important to remove any dead or damaged branches to promote new growth. Callistemon can be prone to insect infestations and diseases, so regular monitoring is essential to catch any problems early.

In addition to being a great choice for hedges, Callistemon can also attract wildlife, such as birds and butterflies, with its unique flowers. Its drought tolerance also makes it a suitable choice for water-wise gardens.

Other Fast Growing Hedges For Your Garden

Although our top fast growing hedges look beautiful in any garden, naturally, our list isn’t extensive. There are many other types of quick growing hedges that you could include in your garden. Here are more of our favourites that you could consider:

  • Leylandii – This evergreen hedge can grow up to 1m per year and is known for its dense foliage, making it an ideal choice for privacy screening. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil.
  • Privet – Another evergreen option, privet can grow up to 50cm per year and has small, glossy green leaves. It is a popular choice for formal hedging and topiary and can tolerate a range of soil types and conditions.
  • Boxwood – A slow-growing option but still fast compared to other species, boxwood can grow up to 30cm per year and has small, dense foliage that can be trimmed into a variety of shapes. It prefers partial shade and well-draining soil.
  • Griselinia – This evergreen hedge has glossy, dark green leaves and can grow up to 60cm per year. It prefers a sheltered position and well-draining soil and is tolerant of coastal conditions.
  • Hornbeam – A deciduous hedge that can grow up to 40cm per year, hornbeam has dark green leaves that turn yellow in the autumn. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil.
  • Photinia – Another evergreen option, photinia has vibrant red leaves when new growth appears, which then mature to green. It can grow up to 60cm per year and prefers full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil.
  • Portuguese Laurel – This evergreen shrub can grow up to 1m per year and has glossy, dark green leaves that are popular for topiary and formal hedging. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil.
  • Japanese Spindle – A deciduous or semi-evergreen hedge, Japanese spindle has small, glossy leaves that turn yellow in the autumn. It can grow up to 60cm per year and prefers partial shade and well-draining soil.
  • Blackthorn – A deciduous hedge that can grow up to 60cm per year, blackthorn has white flowers in the spring, followed by edible sloe berries in the autumn. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil.
  • Dog Rose – A deciduous or semi-evergreen hedge that can grow up to 1m per year, dog rose has pink or white flowers in the summer followed by red hips in the autumn. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil.

Read More: Alternatives To Box Hedging

How To Maintain Fast Growing Hedges

a garden with fast growing hedges at the boundary

Once your fast growing hedges have established themselves, all that’s left is maintenance. However, if you want your new hedges to thrive and last, you shouldn’t slack when it comes to maintenance. Here are some jobs you can expect to do to look after your quick growing hedges:

  1. Pruning – Regular pruning is essential for maintaining the health and shape of the hedge. Prune the hedge during the growing season to encourage bushy growth and promote a dense foliage cover.
  2. Watering – Newly planted hedges need regular watering to establish a strong root system. Water the hedge deeply and frequently during the first few months after planting. After the hedge is established, reduce watering to once or twice a week, depending on the species and climate.
  3. Fertilising – Apply a balanced fertiliser in the spring and fall to promote healthy growth. Avoid over-fertilising, which can lead to excessive growth and weaken the hedge’s structure.
  4. Mulching – Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as bark or compost, around the base of the hedge to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and provide nutrients as it decomposes.
  5. Pest Control – Monitor the hedge for pests and diseases and apply appropriate control measures as needed. Common pests that can affect hedges include aphids, spider mites, and scale insects. Fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and rust can also be a problem, particularly in humid conditions.
  6. Invasive Species Control – Choose non-invasive species and monitor the hedge for any potential invasiveness. Invasive species can quickly spread and outcompete native plants, leading to ecological imbalances.

When maintaining any fast growing hedge, it’s important to wear protective gear such as gloves, long sleeves, and eye protection when handling plants and using pruning tools. Also, keep pruning tools sharp and clean to avoid damaging the hedge.

Choose the Right Fast Growing Hedges for Your Garden Needs

Fast growing hedges are a great way to create privacy and beauty in your garden or outdoor space. However, with so many options to choose from, it’s important to consider the growing conditions, maintenance requirements, and aesthetic appeal so you get the right plants. 

Whether you’re looking for a quick growing hedge to create a boundary or a fast growing evergreen hedge for year-round privacy, we hope that our suggestions for fast growing hedging have helped inspire you. Now, with a little care and attention, you can enjoy the benefits of a beautiful and functional fast growing hedge in no time.

Fast growing hedges are a fantastic way of providing privacy, particularly in a sunken garden. Take a look at our sunken garden ideas for more inspiration. 

FAQs

What Are The Fastest Growing Hedge Plants?

Some of the fastest growing hedge plants include the leyland cypress, privet, laurel, thuja, boxwood, and arborvitae.

How Quickly Do Hedge Plants Grow?

The growth rate of hedge plants can vary depending on the species and growing conditions, but many fast-growing hedges can grow several feet per year.

What Are Some Examples Of Fast-Growing Evergreen Hedges?

Some examples of fast-growing evergreen hedges include the leyland cypress, thuja, and arborvitae.

What Are Some Examples Of Fast-Growing Deciduous Hedges?

Some examples of fast-growing deciduous hedges include privet, hornbeam, and beech.

Can Fast-Growing Hedges Be Trimmed Or Pruned?

Yes, fast-growing hedges can be trimmed or pruned to maintain their shape and size.

How Often Should Fast-Growing Hedges Be Trimmed Or Pruned?

The frequency of pruning depends on the species and desired shape of the hedge, but typically fast-growing hedges need to be pruned 2-3 times per year.

What Is The Best Time Of Year To Plant Fast-Growing Hedges?

The best time to plant fast-growing hedges is in the fall or early spring when the soil is moist, and temperatures are cooler.

What Are The Best Growing Conditions For Fast-Growing Hedges?

Fast-growing hedges generally prefer well-draining soil, full sun to partial shade, and regular watering.

Do Fast-Growing Hedges Require A Lot Of Maintenance?

Fast-growing hedges do require regular maintenance, such as watering, pruning, and fertilising, to ensure their health and growth.

Resources

Jacksons Nurseries. (n.d.). Hedging Planting Guide. Jacksons Nurseries. Retrieved April 21, 2023, from https://www.jacksonsnurseries.co.uk/hedging-planting-guide.html [Accessed 08/05/2023]

The Spruce. (2022, June 19). Red Twig Dogwood Shrubs: Growing Tips and Varieties. The Spruce. https://www.thespruce.com/red-twig-dogwood-shrubs-2132727 [Accessed 08/05/2023]

Royal Horticultural Society. (n.d.). Shrubby honeysuckle. RHS Gardening. Retrieved April 21, 2023, from https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/honeysuckle/shrubby [Accessed 08/05/2023]

Royal Horticultural Society. (n.d.). Forsythia. RHS Gardening. Retrieved April 21, 2023, from https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/forsythia [Accessed 08/05/2023]

Hedges Direct. (n.d.). Laurel Hedge Guide. Hedges Direct. Retrieved April 21, 2023, from https://www.hedgesdirect.co.uk/acatalog/laurel-hedge-guide.html [Accessed 08/05/2023]

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