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Evergreen hedge plants provide year-round privacy. However, the selection of plants that are green all year round is manageable. Hedges can be designed differently through numerous breeds with optical varieties.

In a nutshell

  • Native hedge plants are characterized by high frost tolerance
  • Arborvitae and cypress quickly form an opaque hedge
  • Berries of firethorn and holly are attractive fruit ornaments in the fall

Occidental tree of life (Thuja occidentalis)

The western tree of life is the most common hedge plant. It also copes well with problematic soils and is extremely tolerant of pruning. In winter, some varieties have an attractive coloring with copper-red shoot tips.

  • Height: up to 1000 cm
  • Growth form: upright, slender
  • Annual growth: 20 - 40 cm
  • Space requirement: 200 - 300 cm
  • Leaves: green needles
  • Soil: moderately moist, normal garden soil

There are different breeds of the western tree of life, which differ, for example, in color or growth rate.

Popular breeds for an opaque hedge are:

  • may green
  • emerald
  • Brabant
  • column
  • Golden Emerald
  • sunkist
  • aurescens

Notice: Regular pruning is essential for the Occidental Tree of Life. The plants no longer sprout from the old wood, which is why neglected or over-aged plants usually have to be replaced.

Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)

The boxwood was a popular hedge plant, especially in baroque gardens. Low hedges were deliberately created here as landscape elements, as the boxwood grows only slowly.

  • Height: up to 450 cm
  • Growth form: upright, bushy
  • Annual growth: 5 - 20 cm
  • Required space: 100-200 cm
  • Leaves: ovate, dark green, leathery
  • Soil: normal garden soil

The boxwood is an ideal hedge plant for locations in full sun. Compared to many other plants, it can withstand extreme temperatures thanks to its firm leaf structure. In recent years, the box tree has been increasingly affected by an introduced butterfly, the box tree moth. In the meantime, however, there are some preparations on the market that can be used to keep the insect in check if it is fought early.

Yew (Taxus baccata)

The yew is one of the hedge plants that has become increasingly popular in recent years, although the plant is poisonous. The reason for its popularity is that it forms an opaque hedge within a short time and is also very easy to cut. As a result, it has always been a popular topiary, because even severe pruning does not damage it and it recovers quickly.

  • Height: up to 1000 cm
  • Growth habit: upright, bushy, heavily branched
  • Annual growth: 20 - 30 cm
  • Space requirement: 30 - 40 cm
  • Leaves: needle-shaped, glossy, dark green
  • Soil: undemanding, clayey - loamy soil, permeable

Firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea)

Firethorn is an underestimated hedge shrub that has so far been used mainly as a solitary plant. With the right cut, the plants form an evergreen and opaque hedge that does not take up much width. In autumn, the fruit decoration is popular with birds.

  • Height: up to 300 cm
  • Growth form: upright
  • Annual growth: 20 - 50 cm
  • Space requirement: 20 - 30 cm
  • Leaves: oval, leathery, dark green
  • Soil: normal garden soil, well drained

Tip: The firethorn is available with different fruit decorations. The "Red Column" variety has red berries and "Orange Glow" has orange fruits.

Large-leaved barberry (Berberis julianae)

The barberry is extremely adaptable to climate extremes. It survives both dry summers and extreme cold in winter without any problems.

Source: Plant Image Library from Boston, USA, Berberis julianae (Wintergreen Barberry) (33208964902), Edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Height: up to 300 cm
  • Growth form: upright, dense, overhanging
  • Annual growth: 30 - 40 cm
  • Space requirement: 30 - 40 cm
  • Leaves: oval, glossy
  • Soil: undemanding, moderately nutritious

Hedge myrtle (Lonicera nitida)

Hedge myrtle is an evergreen small perennial that is not suitable for edging plots. It should be sheltered from the wind and, due to its height, is an ideal hedge within the garden to give structure to an area.

  • Height: up to 100 cm
  • Growth habit: low, compact
  • Annual growth: 15 - 25 cm
  • Space requirement: 20 - 30 cm
  • Leaves: medium green, glossy, small, oval
  • Soil: undemanding

Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

The cherry laurel is still a comparatively young hedge tree, but due to its properties it quickly became very popular. This is because they have excellent frost hardiness. Especially after a few years, when they have rooted themselves deeply in the ground, hardly any extreme weather can harm them. The cherry laurel is also suitable for a tall hedge. Even at its full length of 3.5 meters it is still robust and strong.

  • Height: up to 350 cm
  • Growth habit: upright, strong
  • Annual growth: 15 - 40 cm
  • Space requirement: 30 - 50 cm
  • Leaves: dark green, oblong, oval, glossy
  • Soil: normal garden soil

There are also different breeds of cherry laurel that have slight visual variations.

Selection of varieties:

  • Caucasica
  • etc
  • hostelii
  • novita
  • Rotundifolia
  • Genolia

Leyland cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii)

Cypress and thuja are often confused. However, these are different species that also have different requirements for care or the soil

  • Height: up to 2500 cm
  • Growth form: upright, conical
  • Annual growth: 40 - 100 cm
  • Space requirement: 30 - 60 cm
  • Leaves: small, green, needle-shaped
  • Soil: fresh, moist, soil tolerant

The Leyland cypress is a popular plant when an evergreen and opaque hedge is needed quickly. In good conditions, it easily manages a growth of up to one meter per year.

Spoon holly (Ilex crenata)

Spoon holly has no prickly leaves and is therefore preferred as a hedge plant over Ilex meserveae. Due to its wind intolerance, it is not suitable for border planting. However, it lends itself to being used as a structure-giving hedge plant within gardens.

  • Height: up to 150 cm
  • Growth habit: low, dense, compact, sprawling without regular pruning
  • Annual growth: 5 - 15 cm
  • Space requirement: 20 - 30 cm
  • Leaves: small, dark green
  • Soil: normal garden soil

Portuguese laurel (Prunus lusitanica)

The Portuguese laurel cherry is related to the cherry laurel. Compared to Prunus laurocerasus, this species is much more suitable for locations in full sun.

  • Height: up to 400 cm
  • Growth habit: upright, heavily branched
  • Annual growth: 10 - 30 cm
  • Space requirement: 30 - 50 cm
  • Leaves: dark green, shiny, ovate, pointed
  • Soil: normal garden soil

False cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)

Breedings of false cypresses are characterized by different colorings. There are cultivars with blue tones or multi-colored cultivars that have white tips.

  • Height: up to 500 cm
  • Growth form: columnar
  • Annual growth: 10 - 20 cm
  • Space requirement: 50 - 70 cm
  • Leaves: green, needle-shaped
  • Soil: normal garden soil

Umbrella Bamboo (Fargesia murielae)

Many gardeners do not like bamboo in the garden, because many have had bad experiences with varieties that form strong runners and thus overgrow large areas within a short time. However, this does not apply to Fargesia species. They form little or no runners, the rootstock increases over the years with new shoots. The umbrella bamboo is an attractive one of the common hedge plants, but it takes some time to create an opaque hedge.

  • Height: up to 300 cm
  • Growth form: umbrella-shaped
  • Annual growth: 20 - 40 cm
  • Space requirement: 50 - 60 cm
  • Leaves: light green, oblong
  • Soil: well-drained, nutrient-rich, moderately moist, slightly acidic

Notice: In winter, the evergreen umbrella bamboo can suffer from a heavy snow load. It should therefore be freed from snow in good time before the individual shoots are pushed apart.

Holly (Ilex x meserveae)

Holly is one of the most unusual hedge plants, but it offers advantages because the thorns also deter various animals from entering the garden. The holly is characterized by an extremely good winter hardiness and this already applies to young plants.

Source: Neelix at English Wikipedia, Beautifulflowers6, Edited by Plantopedia, CC0 1.0
  • Height: up to 400 cm
  • Growth habit: upright, densely branched
  • Annual growth: 20 - 40 cm
  • Space requirement: 30 - 40 cm
  • Leaves: dark green, shiny, elliptical, thorns on the leaf margin
  • Soil: rich in nutrients, constantly moderately moist

frequently asked Questions

Can I also plant hedge plants more densely?

With some plants that grow slowly like the boxwood, you can also fall short of the space requirements. However, older plants need more frequent pruning.

Which hedge plants have a beautiful flower?

Most evergreen plants that form an opaque hedge usually have very inconspicuous flowers. Only the cherry laurel and holly have recognizable flowers. However, some species have attractive fruit decorations, including holly and yew. The firethorn has both attractive flowers and attractive fruit decoration.

Does an evergreen hedge need special care in winter?

No, the hedge plants should only be freed from heavy snow loads so that no branches break off and leave unsightly holes.

Is a rhododendron also suitable as a hedge plant?

The rhododendron is not particularly tolerant of pruning and is therefore not suitable as an evergreen hedge plant. The rhododendron can only complement a hedge that does not have a strict cut.

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