Hedge Plants

Formal Hedge
Formal Hedge

Selecting the best plants for a hedge is going to depend on the climate, the soil and the aspect. And of course the type of hedge you want.

  • Formal or Informal.
  • Evergreen or Deciduous.
  • Flowering or not.
  • Tall growing or short.
  • Fruiting OR productive hedges.

When selecting hedging plants a few decisions need to be made. These relate to the best plants for the conditions and the style of hedge.

The factors that need to be taken into account include climate, soil, amount of sun and the style of hedge.

Given that climate and soil conditions can be easily determined, what are the best hedging plants for sun or shade. And which plants are better for formal ‘clipped’ hedges.

Hedge density

If you are looking for privacy then a dense growing plant is best. Some plants are naturally denser growing than others, some will thicken up well with pruning.

Hedge plants for Sun or Shade

As far as sun and shade are concerned some species of plants perform better in the shade than others. For example camellias are usually better plants for shade than the evergreen magnolias

It is also worth looking at leaf size, in general larger leafed varieties are better in shade than smaller leafed types. So the cultivar Camellia ‘Pope John Paul’ with its large leaves will perform better in the shade Camellia transnokoensis which has small foliage.

And of course for a sunny position where a formal hedge is required Camellia transnokoensis will be a better choice. It will be much easier to prune.

Hedge growing over wall.
Hedge growing over wall.

Hedge plants for formal hedges

For formal hedges the smaller leafed plants are the ones for easy pruning. They can be pruned with power hedge clippers and will look great.

Larger leafed types will have leaves cut in half and look a little scrappy, so you will need to prune by hand. So large foliaged plants such as Magnolia grandiflora ‘Teddy Bear’ are a lot more difficult to prune to a strict formal shape than some others.

And not all formal hedges need to strictly ‘formal’. The tightly clipped hedge pictured right, with its undulating effect as it flows over a low stone wall is a great example.

Fruiting Hedge Plants

Here we are looking at productive hedges, they need to plants that can be pruned and here is out list.

  • Blueberry
  • Pomegranate
  • Feijoa
  • Cumquats and Calamondins
  • Chilean Guava