The 12 best plants for hedges

*Best according to the editor’s review. About the selection criteria. This material is subjective, not an advertisement and does not serve as a guide to purchase. You should consult a professional before buying.

A hedge is a nice way to fence off neighbors or to zone your own plot. It is decorative, and with good care and durable. If you choose the right crop, the hedge will blend in with any style of site design. In our list – easy to look after plants which make a nice garden decoration thanks to their high ornamental value.

Recommendations for selection

Before arranging a hedge, you need to think carefully about the details: it will be difficult and expensive to redo later.

Selection criteria:

  1. Determine the purpose – whether the living wall will replace the fence or perform the role of a low border, plants for this need different;
  2. take into account the climate, light and soils on the site – they must meet the requirements of the selected plants;
  3. Unpretentiousness – complex in the care of plants will require a lot of labor;
  4. Ability to tolerate repeated mowing – the hedge should look neat;
  5. Plants should do well in a dense planting;
  6. Grow quickly and branch well;
  7. Are easy to propagate;
  8. the price of seedlings – not too high: you will need a lot of them.

Our rating will help you choose the most suitable option.

12 best plants for hedges

The 12 best plants for hedges1Thuja5.0
2Cotoneaster shining4.9
5Cypress Lavsona4.6
6White currant4.5
8Thunberg’s barberry4.3
10Caragana tree4.1
11Cornelian bubbler4.0
12Prickly Pear Lime4.0


Rating: 5.0


It is an evergreen plant that has scaly needles. Depending on the species, thuja can grow as a tree or a shrub. Most of them are less than 3 m tall. The crown can have different shapes: column, cone or ellipse. When planting, keep a plant spacing of 80-100 cm. To calculate the planting distance for the different species, add the crown diameter of two adult plants and divide the value in half. You can place them in two rows in staggered order – such a hedge will be thicker. The Western Thuja is best suited for the middle belt. Varieties:

  1. “Kuban emerald” – has a dense pyramidal crown of green color, which does not change during the season, gives a good annual growth, do not need frequent pruning, suitable for urban conditions, withstands frosts up to -34 degrees, in young age requires regular watering, does not like heavy soils and full shade;
  2. “Brabant” – grows wide cone-shaped column, in one year adding up to 35 cm in height and up to 15 cm in width, suffers from spring burns, with mowing two or three times a season the hedge can be given any shape, frost resistance is high (the third climate zone), the needles are dark green at any time of year;
  3. “Smaragd” – the shape of the crown is regular cone-shaped, the branches are arranged very densely, the annual growth – up to 10 cm, the needles do not change color in winter, demanding to moisture and soil, winter-hardy;
  4. “Danica” – spherical variety with green-colored needles, height does not exceed 80 cm and width – 100 cm, suitable for low borders, excellent frost resistance, withstands a little shading.


  • decorativeness at any time of the year;
  • Good frost resistance;
  • Suitable for urban conditions;
  • grows not only in the sun, but also in the shade, but develops worse there;
  • Does not require frequent watering;
  • cuts well;
  • The plant is long-lived, some specimens are ornamental up to 100 years;
  • Gives off phytoncides.


  • like many other conifers, burns in late winter, early spring, the needles turn red, decorativeness decreases.
  • The problem is solved if the plantings on the southern side are covered with fleece for the winter.

Cotoneaster shining

Rating: 4.9


For low to medium hedges, cotoneaster is very well suited:

  1. It has small, very dense foliage;
  2. Height up to 3 m;
  3. The plant is ornamental throughout the growing season – in May it blooms with pink flowers in clusters of 5-12 and lasts up to 25 days;
  4. In the fall, the foliage is colored dark red or purple;
  5. Its glossy, black, round berries, which have medicinal properties, are clearly visible on its background.

The plant tolerates frosts down to -30 degrees, it is not afraid of strong wind and heat, too moist soil and polluted city air. To create a hedge, cotoneaster is planted in a staggered pattern in 2 rows, keeping a distance of 45 cm. For a particularly dense hedge planting in 3 rows is possible.


  • rapid growth;
  • dense crown;
  • unpretentiousness;
  • undemanding to soil and soil moisture;
  • good frost resistance;
  • ornamentality;
  • attracts bees, is an excellent honey bearer;
  • non-poisonous berries;
  • emits phytoncides;
  • it can be cut into any shape;
  • In good conditions lives up to 50 years;
  • easy to propagate;
  • tolerates penumbra;
  • Suitable for urban environments.


  • To keep the hedge looking tidy, it needs shaping pruning up to 4 times per growing season.


Rating: 4.8


Juniper can be used to create a hemispherical border or a tall trapezoidal or prism shaped hedge. This is achieved by pruning twice during the growing season. You can also not cut the plants at all, then they will look like a green fence. Of the 70 species of juniper, not all are suitable for hedges:

  1. Cossack juniper – grows perfectly, especially if located in the sun, is not demanding of soil and moisture, can withstand frosts to – 30 degrees, plant height from 1.5 to 4m;
  2. Juniper common, can grow up to 10 m high, but growth is not more than 10 cm a year, this plant is long-lived – 200 years for it is not the limit;
  3. It can grow in a slight shading, when selecting seedlings stop only at the male or only female individuals, because of the difference in the thickness of the trunks uniformity of planting will be difficult to achieve, varieties: “Meyer”, “Hibernica”, “Arnold”;
  4. Virginia juniper – the tallest of all species, grows up to 30 m in height, annual growth is large, looks great even without formation, but then after 30 years of life the lower part of the trunk may bare, completely undemanding to the soil, watering is needed only in strong heat; there are many varieties, most often for hedges use bright blue “Blue Arrow” preferring the sun, “Glauca” with blue-green needles, which acquire a bronze shade in winter
  5. some varieties of Chinese juniper – “Stricta”, “Spartan”, “Obelisk”, but in regions with cold winters they will need shelter;
  6. unpretentious and frost-resistant juniper “Skyrocket”.

In winter, juniper branches should preferably be tied together so that they do not break off from the snow.


  • Does not require careful maintenance;
  • excellent shaping;
  • Lives a long time;
  • emits a lot of phytoncides;
  • The needles do not fall off;
  • Most species do not bare their undersides.


  • It prefers to grow in the sun, in the shade it loses its decorativeness.


Rating: 4.7


Birch twigs can be used to create impassable thickets of any shape – the plant gives branches from the root and constantly throws out new shoots, so there will be no cavities in the hedge. It perfectly tolerates pruning, which is required twice a season in May and August. The bush branches well and is covered with small leathery leaves.

Loose panicles of white flowers in bunches bloom in May; they resemble lilac inflorescences but are less ornamental than lilacs. The smell is strong, but not too pleasant, acrid with a touch of smoke. The black berries formed in place of the flowers are poisonous. If pruned annually, there may be no flowering and fruiting.

Of the 50 species of this plant only a few are well frost-resistant. For greenhouses the most common species used is common privet, which can stand frosts down to -29 degrees. Varieties:

“Atrovirens” – height up to 4 m, bush diameter – up to 2 m, strength of growth – medium, as well as frost resistance (climate zone 5), leaves are dark green, grows well in the sun, but also tolerates penumbra, tolerant to drought, heat, short-term flooding and strong winds, air gassiness;

Privet-leaved privet “Aureum” – a shrub with yellow-golden leaves growing up to 1.3 m without pruning, suitable for low borders, because of the medium frost resistance wintering under snow or with cover is advisable, if planted in the shadow the yellow color of the leaves is lost, does not like stagnant moisture and acidic soils.


  • Grows quickly;
  • perfectly tolerates pruning;
  • high resistance to damage by pests and diseases;
  • excellent ornamental value;
  • Suitable for urban conditions.


  • poisonous berries;
  • medium frost resistance.

Lawson’s cypress

Rating: 4.6


This plant is most often used for free hedges that are not cut regularly several times a season. Controlling growth pruning is carried out in the spring, at the same time remove dried branches.

It is one of the most beautiful representatives of conifers. But it has significant disadvantages that limit its use in areas with cool climates:

  1. low frost resistance (climatic zone 6), it increases a little with age;
  2. spring scorch of needles, it destroys decorativeness of plants.

The only way out here is to keep the plants in a shrunken form. The hedge will turn out low in the form of a border. A complete living wall can be grown only in the southern regions. Plant care features:

  1. Protection from strong winds, especially northerly winds is required;
  2. planting in sunny places;
  3. The root system is superficial, sprawling horizontally, so the plants cannot tolerate both drought and stagnation of moisture;
  4. protect the root system in winter by mulching with a layer of organic material at least 10 cm thick;
  5. a double layer of Loutrasil will help to protect against burning, but it must not be placed too densely, so that the air circulation is preserved.


  • high decorative effect;
  • Good annual growth;
  • resistance to disease and pest damage.


  • poor frost resistance.

White currant

Rating: 4.5


White currant is a plant that has all the qualities needed to be a hedge:

  1. good branching;
  2. fast growth;
  3. the ability to root the shoots lying on the ground, due to this, the lower part of the bush is not bare, and the formation of impassable thickets;
  4. decorativeness at any time of year – flowering twice a season, beautiful bluish-white berries, brightly colored shoots, in winter they perfectly contrast with the white snow;
  5. unpretentious;
  6. high frost resistance.

Garden forms and varieties:

  1. “Argenteomarginata” – leaves have a gray-green color with a creamy-white border, in the fall they are colored in yellow and brown-red tones, white flowers are collected in shield-shaped inflorescences, often there is repeated flowering in the fall, shoots are red, height to 3 m, grows well in the shade;
  2. “Siberica” – height of only 2 m with a crown diameter of 3 m, green leaves in summer take on a dark purple color in autumn, gives large increments, shade tolerant, grows in any soil, requirements to moisture are average;
  3. “Kerna” – well branched, height up to 3 m, shoots are dark red, on the leaves – uneven yellow border, likes sunny, damp places.


  • high ornamental value;
  • unpretentiousness;
  • excellent frost resistance;
  • suitable for urban conditions;
  • Mows well.


  • Must be trimmed frequently.


Rating: 4.4


The maximum height of the hedge is 3 m, but it can be easily adjusted by pruning. It is an unpretentious and frost-resistant shrub that can grow on any soil, except heavy and swampy. It branches well and perfectly tolerates pruning, ornamental all season of vegetation thanks to the bright green foliage. But especially good during flowering, when the entire bush is covered with fragrant white flowers with bright yellow stamens.

For a hedge, the basic forms well adapted to the local climate are most suitable – they are the most unpretentious, but it is quite possible to use decorative variety plants as well:

  1. “Aureus” – has a spherical crown with bright yellow leaves in spring and yellowish-green the rest of the growing season;
  2. “Variegatus” is a shrub up to 1.5m tall, the leaves have small denticles, their coloration is mottled, there is more white than green on part of the leaves, the flowers are cream-colored, fragrant.

Plant young plants at a distance of 50 cm from each other.


  • It perfectly recovers after heavy pruning;
  • grows quickly;
  • long-lived;
  • Does not freeze in winter;
  • Withstands a little shading, but blooms better in bright sunshine;
  • The elongated habitus of the bush – the width is much less than the height;
  • suitable for planting in the city.


  • Flowering is scarce in the shade.

Thunberg’s barberry

Rating: 4.3


Such a variety of coloring of leaves as a barberry Tunberg does not have any other plant: they can be red, yellow, orange, pink and even purple, often mottled. Adding to decorativeness are bell-shaped, bright yellow flowers with a reddish outer edge that appear in May and coral-red berries that ripen in autumn. They can remain on the shrubs even in winter.

Green-leaved forms not bad in the penumbra, the rest for maximum decorativeness requires sun. Soil for barberry needs dry and light in mechanical composition, heavy and wet areas he does not suit. Pruning is carried out twice a season – in the spring before the beginning of the sap movement and in the fall – before the onset of frosts.

Different varieties have differences in height. Quite possible to pick up plants, both for a small border and for a full living wall. And all of them will be impassable, thanks to the sharp long thorns, with which the shoots are dotted. This complicates the care of the plants, but the insulating properties of the hedge are improved.

The following varieties are considered the most showy:

  1. “Red Carpet” – a bush no taller than 1.5 m with a pillow-shaped spreading crown and red or purple small leaves;
  2. “Atropurpurea” – bushes reach a height of 180 cm, the leaves all season purple-red-brown;
  3. “Helmond Pillar” is a bell-shaped shrub up to 1.5 m high with pink-colored young leaves and purple adults;
  4. “Red Rocket” with orange-red leaves, grows up to 2 m;
  5. the mottled form “Rose Glow”, the height and diameter of the crown is the same – 1.5 m.

For low borders will do: “Aurea” with yellow color of leaves, “Coronita” – leaves are dark purple, green border along the edge, “Admiration” – the main color of the leaf plates is orange, the border is yellow.


  • unpretentiousness;
  • high ornamental value;
  • hardy;
  • large number of varieties;
  • Mows well and creates impenetrable hedges;
  • grows quickly.


  • can be infected with fungal diseases in humid summers.


Rating: 4.2


This beautifully flowering shrub has many varieties and varieties. Combine them to form a continually flowering hedge; low to medium height.

Spireas grow well in any soil, but do not tolerate heavy or wet soils. They do well not only in the sun, but also in the penumbra. These shrubs have good frost resistance and endurance. Spirei hedges are always ornamental:

At the time of flowering, the beautifully shaped shoots are entirely covered with paniculate or corymbiform inflorescences of white or pink in various shades, which have a pleasant fragrance;

In autumn, the brightly colored purple, yellow or orange leaves stop the eye.

For hedges are suitable for different varieties of spireas:

  1. medium;
  2. willowy;
  3. Japanese;
  4. serrated;
  5. Wangutta;
  6. Douglasas,
  7. Billard.

Pruning this shrub has its own features:

  1. Those species that bloom in the spring, cut back after the flowering is over;
  2. Those that bloom in the second half of summer need spring pruning;
  3. From the 4th year of life, bushes are gradually rejuvenated by cutting out old branches;
  4. it is possible to do and more radically – to cut plants on a stump, then 1 season of flowering will be missed.


  • Long ornamental period;
  • the possibility of combining different varieties;
  • unpretentiousness;
  • tolerance to gassiness;
  • fast growth;
  • easy propagation.


  • shrubs need to be rejuvenated quite often.

Caragana arboreal

Rating: 4.1


This unpretentious plant survives in all conditions:

  1. it does not suffer from wind, heat, dry air and the same soil;
  2. Will tolerate any frost (frost zone -2);
  3. grows on soils of different composition and acidity, except for clay and swamp;
  4. Tolerates a little salinization.

Caragana belongs to the legume family and, like all of them, can enrich the soil with nitrogen. The crown of the plant is openwork, spreading, fan-shaped. It is very decorative with its complex green leaves and yellow flowers in bunches of several. They appear in the spring.

Over time, the trunk in the lower part becomes bare. If the plant is cut by the root in early spring, in one season it will grow shoots to a height of 1.5 m. Karagana or Acacia yellow, as it is called differently, makes beautiful openwork hedges cut or free-form. In the latter case, it can grow up to 7 m. Best planted in full sun, it grows less well in the penumbra.


  • high frost resistance;
  • amazing unpretentiousness;
  • longevity – lives up to 100 years;
  • ornamentality.


  • Requires twice yearly pruning.

Blackthorn berries

Rating: 4.0


It has practically no disadvantages that would prevent its use as a green hedge. But the mass of the undoubted advantages:

  1. Height of 1,5 to 3 m;
  2. fast growth;
  3. good foliage, starting from the base of the shrub;
  4. Dense spherical crown;
  5. beautifully shaped leaves with a carved serrated edge and corrugated surface, their coloration varies in different varieties;
  6. White or pink shield-shaped inflorescences that last up to 4 weeks on the plant and appear in June;
  7. Reddish fruits that adorn the shrubs from early fall.

This plant is frost-resistant, undemanding and feels well in urban areas.

The most spectacular varieties:

  1. “Diablo” – grows up to 3 m and has the same width of the crown, during the summer the leaves retain a purple-purple color, in the fall – turn red, the flowers – pink and cream shade;
  2. ttle Devil” – a shrub up to a meter in height with vertical shoots and dark purple leaves, flowers white;
  3. “Red Baron” – a well-growing shrub up to 2 m in height with dark red leaves, which turn bronze in autumn, flowers white-pink;
  4. The “Center Glow” variety of leaves change color several times during the growing season: first they are red with a golden midpoint, in time leaving only a small spot at the base of the leaf, in autumn they turn purple, height up to 2 m.

Vesicle is easy to make a real living wall or a spectacular low border. It is not bad withstanding penumbra.


  • original coloring of the leaves;
  • unpretentiousness;
  • easy care;
  • rapid growth;
  • resistance to pests and diseases;
  • easy pruning;
  • high frost resistance.


  • no.

Prickly Pear

Rating: 4.0


This shrub is not too similar to the common cranberry – a familiar plant in our gardens:

  1. The leaves are ovate-oval in shape, they are wrinkled and can reach 19 cm in length;
  2. Their color – dark green, in the fall – red, from the underside of the leaf plate is noticeable felted pubescence;
  3. Flowering begins in May or early June and lasts about 3 weeks;
  4. creamy-white or yellowish flowers gathered in shield-shaped inflorescences;

The ripening fruit-bone fruits turn red at first, then turn black; at this time the plant is especially ornamental.

Prickly Pear has a good frost resistance (climate zone 4), grows equally well in the sun and in the penumbra, likes soils of average fertility and moisture. The bush can grow up to 6 m, has a crown width of 3 m, suitable for hedges of any height up to 3 m free form.

Basic varieties:

  1. “Aureovariegata” – young plants have golden yellow spots on the leaf plates, in older plants they become completely green, the height of the bush to 3 m, annual growth of 15 cm;
  2. “Aureum” – the young leaves are yellow, then they turn green, the bush does not grow higher than 2.5 m, the berries are poisonous, grows well in wet soils;
  3. “Mohican” – the crown is compact, the height of the bush up to 4 m, flowering is long.

Requires annual pruning in spring before budding. Every 10 years, bushes are rejuvenated by cutting to a stump height of 30 cm. Regular pruning is carried out only to restrain growth, traditional shaping is not suitable for this plant.


  • high ornamental value;
  • The ability to grow not only in full sun, but also in semi-shade;
  • easy care;
  • Long liveability – can live up to 500 years.


  • shoots that grow higher than 3 m lose their shape, they will have to be pruned.
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