Choosing evergreen hedging
Evergreen hedging is a great choice if you want year-round foliage cover, a tidy, formal look, or to screen something off.
Uses for evergreen hedging include:
- marking a boundary
- creating structure
- adding winter interest
- as a barrier to air pollution and noise
- knot gardens and mazes, for the adventurous!
We stock a range of evergreens that are suitable for these purposes. Some popular choices are listed below, but it's always worth browsing the aisles for ideas. Staff are always happy to advise what might be suitable for your site.
CHERRY LAUREL Prunus laurocerasus
The fastest growing broadleaf hedging available, cherry laurel is a garden standard, useful for creating a quick screen of lustrous mid-green foliage.
Pros: speedy growth and shade tolerance
Cons: It can be tricky to avoid slicing through the large leaves when using a hedge trimmer, but we don't find this too much of an issue
LEYLANDII X Cupressocyparis leylandii
A fast-growing conifer with a mixed reputation, leylandii grows quickly into a thick and dense hedge. Great if managed properly.
Pros: Copes with all soil types and grows very fast
Cons: Needs regular maintenance to keep it under control. If you cut into old growth, bare branches will remain on show.
PHOTINIA 'RED ROBIN' Photinia x fraseri 'Red Robin'
For a colourful evergreen, Photinia 'Red Robin' is hard to beat. Bright red leaves appear as new growth pushes through in spring and summer.
Pros: Easy to care for
Cons: Grows best in full sun and can take a few seasons to become dense
Photinia robusta 'Compacta' - smaller leaves, denser
Spotted laurel (Aucuba japonica 'Variegata'/'Crotonifolia') - leaves brightly spotted with yellow, perfect for shade
Variegated forms of oleaster (Elaeagnus), Griselinia, holly (e.g. Ilex 'Golden King') and Euonymus (e.g. 'Aureomarginatus' and 'Bravo') are also usually available for a hedge that packs in some bright colour
COMMON HOLLY Ilex aquifolium
For a spiky evergreen hedge to deter intruders but attract wildlife, our native holly is a good choice.
Pros: A traditional, native evergreen, good for a countryside setting and Christmas wreaths. Colourful berries on female plants. Grows well in shade.
Cons: Can be tricky to establish as prefers good drainage; spiky to deal with
Formal styles and topiary
COMMON BOX Buxus sempervirens
Box is a classic, slow-growing, dense-leaved shrub used for tightly clipped hedges and topiary.
Pros: Doesn't need clipping too often as slow-growing
Cons: Susceptible to box blight. Best suited to low growing hedges as takes a long time to grow tall.
Exposed or coastal sites
OLEASTER Elaeagnus x ebbingei
A tough plant with thick leaves that can take exposure to cold winds. Autumn to winter brings fragrant, though inconspicuous, flowers. Leaves have an interesting 'dusted' texture and silvery-grey undersides.
Pros: Grows at a decent rate to form a nice thick hedge, hardy in exposed sites. Variegated forms available.
Cons: Perhaps a bit common!
BEECH Fagus sylvatica
Not actually evergreen, but well-known for the copper-coloured leaves it holds onto in winter, bringing inviting warm tones at a bleak time of year.
Pros: Offers year-round coverage as well as seasonal interest
Cons: Prefers a well-drained soil, so can be tricky to establish (see hornbeam below)
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) - similar to beech in that it holds its leaves in winter, though they are a darker colour. Copes well with wetter soils so can be easier to establish than beech.
Cotoneaster franchetii - a semi-evergreen whose silvery leaves sometimes take on a purple hue in autumn. Attractive winter berries.
What size and how many do I need?
Our evergreen hedging generally comes in sizes from 3 litre to 30L. Larger sizes may be available for some types.
We recommend planting at these densities: