Hedging plants fill many purposes within the landscape. They are good for creating privacy screens, outlining borders, accenting a walkway or just adding color to an otherwise bland landscape. Gardeners have a wide variety of choices in plants suitable for use in hedges. Whether you're creating a small or tall hedge, there is a plant to fill your requirements.
Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is an attractive, smallish, woody shrub well suited for use as a hedging plant. It grows well throughout USDA planting zones 4 through 9. It is semievergreen; in warmer areas of its growing range it retains its foliage during winter. Clusters of yellow flowers bloom in May with red berries following and lasting on the shrub through winter. Birds use the berries as a source of food. It is attractive in fall as the foliage turns bright colors of red and orange.
Considered an invasive species in some regions of the United States, Japanese barberry has escaped cultivation, taking over native plant habitats. Plants are tolerant to wide variety of light conditions from full sun to shade and tolerate many well-draining soil mediums. Shrubs grow 3 to 6 feet in height and width, and gardeners should consider the thorny branches when selecting a planting site. Plants have a medium growth habit and are quite drought-tolerant when established in the landscape.
Thryallis (Galphimia glauca) is an attractive, evergreen, perennial shrub that is suitable for use as a hedging plant in USDA planting zones 9 through 11. Its thin branches have a flowing effect and plants fill with clusters of small, yellow, starlike flowers all year. Thryallis is also an attractive plant to use within mixed hedges or in large containers, added to the landscape where color is lacking.
Plants grow up to 9 feet in height with a spread of up to 6 feet and have a medium habit of growth. It grows and flowers best when situated in full sun but tolerates partial sun conditions. Pruning will control its shape and size and plants will become thicker. It tolerates a wide range of well-draining soils and has a medium tolerance to drought conditions. Thryallis grows best when given regular applications of water.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is an evergreen perennial that is one of the most popular shrubs used in subtropical and tropical areas of the United States as a hedging plant. It grows well throughout the frost-free regions of USDA planting zones 9 through 11. Hibiscus has many cultivars producing year-round flowers in a single or double form. Flower colorations vary plant to plant ranging in pinks, reds, purples, orange, peach, yellow, white and bicolor.
Depending on the particular cultivar grown, plants grow up to 20 feet in height with an average 10-foot spread. Pruning is required to maintain the plant's size and shape. Regular pruning thickens the plant and promotes more blooms. Hibiscus is tolerant to a wide variety of well-draining soils and grows best situated in full to partial sun. Established plants have a moderate drought tolerance, but perform best given regular applications of water.