Hedges planted in the landscape are useful in a variety of situations. They add privacy, make good background plants, add lushness to the garden and give shelter and a food source for wildlife. Gardeners have a wide range of choices in quick-growing plants suitable for use as hedges. Many of these plants are relatively problem and maintenance free other than requiring an occasional trim. For year-round greenery, select evergreen shrubs.
Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera) grows well in USDA zones 8 through 10. It is suitable for use as a quick-growing, perennial hedging plant but is also trainable as a small tree. Planted in the landscape, it is a shelter and food source for wildlife. Early pioneers used the waxy berries for making candles. Wax myrtle plants grow anywhere from 8 to 10 feet in height at maturity with a spreading habit of 20 to 25 feet.
Plants grow best in full sun to partial sun. Its high tolerance to drought and salt make it suitable for coastal plantings. Wax myrtle will grow best if given weekly watering and is tolerant to a wide variety of well-drained soils.
Pittosporum (Pittosporum) is well-suited for growing in USDA zones 8 through 10. This fast-growing, perennial evergreen is ideal for use as a hedge or screening plant. Growing 8 to 12 feet in height with a spreading habit of 12 to 18 feet, pittosporum fills in quickly forming a dense hedge that takes well to pruning. Plants produce white, fragrant flowers throughout spring. There is a solid green cultivar as well as variegated.
Plants grow best when situated in full to partial sun conditions. Tolerant to a variety of well-drained soils, pittosporum performs best in slightly acidic soil. Gardeners living along the coast can utilize pittosporum in hedges and screens as the plant has a high salt tolerance. Plants are relatively drought-tolerant once established but will benefit from regular watering.
Marlberry (Ardisia escallonioides), also called marbleberry, is a fast- to medium fast-growing perennial shrub well adapted to living within USDA zones 9 through 11. It makes an attractive hedge or screening plant with green foliage and fragrant, white flowers produced year-round. Marlberry can grow quite large, obtaining a mature height of anywhere from 10 to 21 feet with a spreading habit of 3 to 12 feet. Purple fruits produced throughout fall and winter are a food source for wildlife.
Plants are adapted to a variety of soils but grow best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Marlberry grows well in either sun or shade and suffers no pest problems making it relatively problem-free for gardeners. Coastal landscapes can utilize marlberry as it has a high salt tolerance. Mature plants are drought-tolerant but will grow and flower best with regular watering.