19 Easy-Care Shrubs to Use as Hedge Plants for Outdoor Privacy

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19 Easy-Care Shrubs to Use as Hedge Plants for Outdoor Privacy

Block wind, buffer noise, or create more private outdoor living spaces by planting a row of these easy-care shrubs for hedge plants. They offer a range of textures, loose or dense growth, evergreen or deciduous, and a few even have showy blooms or berries, but all will grow beautifully without requiring much care from you.

Arborvitae

You will almost always find arborvitae on popular hedge plant lists. This upright evergreen has flat sprays of scalelike, aromatic, yellow-green to green foliage. While some types of arborvitae grow as tall, narrow trees, other varieties are more shrublike and rounded in form, so choose carefully depending on the look you want your hedge to have.

Name: Thuja selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 40 feet tall

Zones: 2-8

Boxwood

Setting the standard for formal clipped hedging plants, boxwood can withstand frequent shearing and shaping into perfect geometric forms. It can also be left unpruned to take its natural shape. This versatile evergreen hedge plant is a popular border plant for formal and informal gardens, or you can use taller varieties to create a dense living wall to block out undesirable views.

Name: Buxus selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in evenly moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 4-9

Dwarf Golden False Cypress

While Japanese or Sawara false cypress tends to grow into a large tree, there are several dwarf varieties with threadlike, golden foliage and shrubby forms that make excellent evergreen hedge plants. These include ‘Filifera Aurea’, ‘Gold Mop’, and ‘Sungold’, each offering slight variations in foliage color and mature size.

Name: Chamaecyparis pisifera f. filifera

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 5 feet tall

Zones: 4-8

Flowering Quince

Justin Hancock

Light up the early spring landscape with the scarlet, pink, or white blooms of flowering quince. This deciduous shrub has sharp spines, making it an effective hedging plant or privacy screen. Its flowers are followed by hard, edible, yellowish-green fruits that are delicious in preserves and jellies.

Name: Chaenomeles selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 10 feet tall

Zones: 4-8

Glossy Abelia

Butterflies love the fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers that dangle from glossy abelia branches all summer. This flowering hedge plant naturally forms a tall arching mound, but you can prune it in late winter to early spring to create a lower hedge. Its dark green leaves turn purplish-bronze in autumn.

Name: Abelia x grandiflora

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 6 feet tall

Zones: 5-9

Holly

Many species of holly work well as hedge plants. Smaller hollies, such as yaupon holly, Meserve holly, and inkberry (pictured here), are the easiest to use because they don’t require much pruning. Many varieties of holly bear red or orange berries but may require a male pollinator nearby. Some are deciduous, and others, like Japanese holly, are evergreen.

Name: Ilex selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 50 feet tall

Zones: 5-9

Hydrangea

Huge bouquets of hydrangea flowers, which vary from mophead to lacecap types, look stunning from summer to fall. Varieties of hydrangea differ in size, flower shape, color, and bloom time. Know the best time to prune your chosen variety’s stems to ensure the best summer blooms.

Name: Hydrangea varieties

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 15 feet tall

Zones: 3-8

Japanese Euonymus

Create a more interesting landscape by selecting varieties of Japanese euonymus with gold-, cream-, or white-variegated foliage. This fast-growing hedge plant can reach towering heights, but it’s easy to prune it back to grow it as a lower hedgeplant. Its greenish-white flowers bloom in late spring, followed by small pink fruits.

Name: Euonymus japonicus

Growing Conditions: Part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 15 feet tall

Zones: 6-9

Juniper

Among the most versatile evergreens, junipers range from ground-hugging creepers to mounded shrubs and upright trees. Whether you are looking for a steely blue groundcover or a tall tree for a fast-growing privacy hedge, junipers fit the bill. All respond well to pruning, making them useful hedge plants.

Name: Juniperus selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun in dry to moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 65 feet tall

Zones: 2-9

Oleander

You can always count on oleander to put on a show with abundant, fragrant flowers from summer to fall. This sub-tropical shrub thrives with little care in California and the Deep South. It tolerates drought, heat, wind, and air pollution. Its narrow, leathery leaves form a deep green backdrop for its pink, peach, white, or red blooms.

Warning

All parts of the plant are toxic, so avoid planting it in areas used by pets and small children.

Name: Nerium selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 8 feet tall

Zones: 8-10

‘Golden Ticket’ Privet

While Privet has a reputation for getting out of control, ‘Golden Ticket’ is a newer, non-aggressive variety that works for hedges. Its glossy foliage emerges bright yellow in spring and ages to chartreuse. Clusters of fragrant, white flowers appear in summer. Without shearing, this deer-resistant, deciduous shrub develops an attractive vase shape, but feel free to give it a heavy pruning if you want a formal hedge.

Name: Ligustrum x Vicaryi

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 6 feet tall

Zones: 5-8

Variegated False Holly

The spiny, evergreen foliage of variegated false holly resembles holly upon first glance, but if you look closer, you’ll notice its gold-variegated green foliage and soft spines. In mid-fall, fragrant white flowers bloom along its branches. This low-maintenance hedge plant grows slowly and can be sheared into a tidy wall of green in late winter.

Name: Osmanthus selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 10 feet tall

Zones: 7-9

Japanese Pittosporum

A popular evergreen shrub in the South, Japanese pittosporum has dense, compact foliage that makes it suitable for privacy screens or informal hedges. It can be closely sheared to create formal hedges or topiary shapes. In spring, it bears white flowers with the scent of orange blossoms.

Name: Pittosporum selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 15 feet tall

Zones: 7-11

Korean Lilac

Dwarf Korean lilac with light pink flowers

One of the easiest lilacs to grow is the Korean lilac. Fscented purple flowers, also known as Meyer lilac, cover this deciduous shrub in May. It’s one of the few lilacs that remains under 10 feet tall and resists powdery mildew, a common plant disease. This shrub blooms on last year’s stems, so prune it immediately after it flowers to ensure a good floral hedge plant the following year.

Name: Syringa meyeri

Growing Conditions: Full sun in dry to medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 8 feet tall

Zones: 3-7

Scarlet Firethorn

Denny Schrock

An evergreen in mild climates but deciduous in colder regions, scarlet firethorn has stiff, thorny branches that adapt well to being trained as an espalier or informal hedging plant. It features cheery white flowers in spring and orange-red berries in summer.

Name: Pyracantha selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in dry to medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 18 feet tall

Zones: 6-9

Hybrid Yew

Known for its upright growth, hybrid yews have both the ornamental excellence of English and Japanese yews’ winter hardiness. These versatile evergreen shrubs make excellent hedge plants since they have few pest and disease problems as long as they have good soil drainage. They also don’t mind regular shearing, making them popular for formal hedges and topiary. However, protection from deer may be necessary, especially in winter.

Name: Taxus selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 20 feet tall

Zones: 4-7

Arrowwood Viburnum

A multi-stemmed deciduous shrub, arrowwood viburnum bears creamy-white flowers in spring, blue fruits in late summer, and lovely yellow, red, or reddish-purple foliage in fall. ‘Blue Muffin’ arrowwood viburnum (shown here) is a compact variety that matures to 5 feet tall.

Name: Viburnum dentatum

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 10 feet tall

Zones: 2-8

Spirea

Fine-textured foliage and white or pink spring flowers are two traits that characterize spirea. These deciduous shrubs also grow densely, making them excellent privacy hedge plants. Bridal wreath spirea, an old-fashioned variety with cascading branches covered in frothy white blooms, has been a landscaping favorite for decades.

Name: Spiraea varieties

Growing Conditions: Full sun in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 8 feet tall

Zones: 3-8

Shrub Rose

One of the easiest types of roses to grow is the shrub rose. These tough hedge plants combine many of the best attributes of other roses. For example, shrub roses are often strongly disease-resistant and some of the easiest to prune. But even if you don’t trim these beauties yearly, they’ll still bloom like crazy.

Name: Rosa varieties

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 10 feet tall

Zones: 5-9

Most Popular Flowers & Plants in the USA

RegionPopular FlowersPopular Plants
Northeast (e.g., New York, Massachusetts)Rose, Purple Lilac, Mountain LaurelSugar Maple, American Elm, White Pine
Southeast (e.g., Florida, Georgia)Orange Blossom, Cherokee Rose, Southern MagnoliaLive Oak, Spanish Moss, Saw Palmetto
Midwest (e.g., Ohio, Illinois)Carnation, Violet, Purple ConeflowerBur Oak, Prairie Grasses, Wild Bergamot
Southwest (e.g., Texas, Arizona)Bluebonnet, Saguaro Cactus Flower, Indian PaintbrushJoshua Tree, Agave, Mesquite
West (e.g., California, Washington)California Poppy, Coast Rhododendron, BitterrootGiant Sequoia, Redwood, Manzanita
Rocky Mountain (e.g., Colorado, Montana)Rocky Mountain Columbine, Bitterroot, Indian PaintbrushBlue Spruce, Aspen, Sagebrush
Great Plains (e.g., Kansas, Nebraska)Sunflower, Goldenrod, Purple ConeflowerCottonwood, Bluestem Grasses, Buffalo Grass
Pacific Northwest (e.g., Oregon, Alaska)Oregon Grape, Forget-me-not, Pacific RhododendronDouglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Ferns

This table includes the most popular flowers and plants in the USA by region, which considers a range of botanical species, including native and widely cultivated varieties.

Most Popular Flowers & Plants in Australia

RegionPopular FlowersPopular Plants
New South WalesWaratah, Bottlebrush, Flannel FlowerEucalyptus, Acacia, Banksia
VictoriaCommon Heath, Waxflower, Pink HeathMountain Ash, Silver Wattle, Victorian Blue Gum
QueenslandCooktown Orchid, Golden Penda, Umbrella Tree FlowerMoreton Bay Fig, Macadamia Nut, Queensland Bottle Tree
South AustraliaSturt's Desert Pea, Kangaroo Paw, Eucalyptus BlossomAdelaide Blue Gum, South Australian Blue Gum, Saltbush
Western AustraliaRed and Green Kangaroo Paw, Mangles Kangaroo Paw, Swan River DaisyJarrah, Marri, Karri
TasmaniaTasmanian Blue Gum, Leatherwood Flower, Tasmanian WaratahHuon Pine, Tasmanian Oak, Myrtle Beech
Northern TerritorySturt's Desert Rose, Frangipani, Desert RoseBoab, Gidgee, Spinifex
Australian Capital TerritoryRoyal Bluebell, Australian Daisy, CorreaSnow Gum, River Red Gum, Black Mountain

This table offers a basic overview of popular flowers and plants in each Australian region, focusing on a combination of state flowers, native species, and other characteristic plants. It's important to note that specific species' popularity and prevalence can vary. This table is a simplified representation. Consulting local botanical gardens or regional horticultural societies in Australia would be ideal for more detailed and accurate information.

Charlotte Gammon

By Charlotte Gammon

Meet Charlotte Gammon, our expert and author. She's our true treasure, as she has got 20+ years of experience in gardening, winery and house design. In early 2000s, she worked for today.com magazine and was in charge of the gaardening section. Later on, Charlotte opened her own designer agency and worked as a designer and decorator. We are happy to have Charlotte with us, as she is our good friend. We value her experience and we're sure you will love the articles she created for our blog.