Hedges are used for privacy, landscaping and to designate borders and property lines. They can be short or tall, neatly trimmed or wild and unruly. Some hedges contain blooming plants and others are evergreen. There are different varieties of hedges available for landscapes with different moisture and light requirements.
The common boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) is an evergreen shrub that is appropriate for USDA horticultural zones 5 and warmer although it can suffer from minor cold damage in areas as warm as zone 8. The slow growing common boxwood grows very dense and responds well to shearing or drastic pruning.
It can grow to 20 feet high and spread 15 feet if grown in the right conditions with moist soil and full to part sun. The leaves emit a strong ammonia-like smell so it performs best if planted away from where people gather.
The Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) is a fast-growing semi-evergreen shrub. It is an aggressive plant that grows easily in most soils. The Chinese privet is appropriate for USDA horticultural zones 8-9 and grows to 15 feet with a spread of 8 feet. The Chinese privet responds well to shearing and forms a dense hedge when maintained correctly.
The knockout rose bush (Rosa 'Radrazz') makes a semi-evergreen blooming hedge that is low maintenance. It grows to 3 feet high and 3 feet wide and displays rose blooms from spring until frost with sporadic winter blooms in warmer areas. Needs little pruning but can be sheared in early spring to form a dense hedge. The knockout rose is appropriate for USDA horticultural zones 5-9.
The cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus Rotundifolia) is a fast growing evergreen shrub that can grow to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide if not sheared every year. It grows in dense shade or full sun and is tolerant of dry soil. Attracts birds and wildlife. The cherry laurel is appropriate for USDA horticultural zones 7-10.
The cherry elaeagnus (Elaeagnus multiflora) is a fast growing deciduous shrub that thrives in full sun in USDA horticultural zones 4-9. It grows to 8 feet and is best left to grow into its natural form although it can be sheared to produce a tight hedge. The cherry elaeagnus is drought tolerant once established
and produces edible fruit that is attractive to wildlife. It has the capacity to fix nitrogen in the soil so needs little if any fertilization.