Which Flowering Hedge is Best For You?
Posted: February 27, 2020
Categories: Which Plants
Which Flowering Hedge is Best For You?Flowering hedges are ideal for creating privacy in the garden, with the bonus of bright flowers to liven things up! Flowering hedges may be clipped neatly in formal gardens, or left to grow for a wilder rustic feel. Whenever you plant a hedge there's a few questions you need to ask yourself:
- Do you want to do a lot of clipping to keep it in shape? If not, choose a naturally compact and dense-growing plant, one that matures to your ideal preferred height.
- Do you want flowers for a long season? A mixed hedge might be the solution, with several varieties - or even different plant types - blended together.
- Do you spend time out in the garden? A scented hedge would give you extra pleasure while you sit and relax (or weed the borders...)
Winter ColourIt's uplifting to see colour about the garden in the midst of a long cold winter. Camellias are one of the earliest shrubs to flower, in shades of white, pink, and red; and their evergreen glossy foliage provides a welcome backdrop while other plants are asleep.
Sasanqua camellias are more heat- and humidity-tolerant and flower best in full sun, ideal choices for QLD and coastal NSW. Japonica camellias like it a little cooler and out of hot afternoon sun (though sheltered if possible); perfect picks for VIC and SA gardens.
Tropical BloomsHibiscus make dense flowering hedges full of blooms; and they love warm climates. The big vibrant flowers and lush foliage creates a relaxed tropical vibe in any frost-free garden space. For very dry areas, plant in shade or semi-shade, and water generously and regularly. A prune after flowering will encourage dense growth and more of those bright flowers for you next season. Some hibiscus can reach the height of small trees, left to their own devices. Clip them to a manageable height and pair them with a hedge of lower-growing Ixora. Some varieties will only get to knee height which makes them perfect plants for delineating a garden space without blocking light or views. Glossy evergreen foliage, glowing new leaf colour, and fat clusters of bright flowers over several months will give you something to look at all year round in a frost-free climate.
Native FavouritesCallistemon are extremely hardy once established and are known to survive weeks of floodwater followed by months of drought. (OK, the might look bedraggled afterwards but they survived, and that's what counts!) Most bottlebrush varieties are tolerant of light frost once established, and all will lure in those native nectar-feeding birds with pink, white, red, or purple blossoms. A standout for small spaces is Slim™. It creates a tall dense screen and flowers profusely with red flowers over a long season. As the name suggests, it has a narrow growth habit, ideal along pathways and driveway edges. If you love our native shrubs and don't mind a less-than-perfectly-square hedge, waxflowers (Chamelaucium) are a great choice too. Like bottlebrushes, they come in a range of pink-purple-white shades, and are showstopping in full flower. If you have poor sandy soil they won't mind; and they'll screen off your garden space to over head-height.
Traditional With a TwistSome of the most popular green hedges can surprise you and burst into flower, if you don't clip them for a season or two! Viburnum tinus is perfect when you need a hedge in a hurry. It establishes quickly with dense foliage, and large clusters of pink winter buds opening to white spring flowers. Photinia hedges are often clipped regularly to encourage red new leaves; but leave them alone and you'll be rewarded with fluffy while flower clusters in abundance.
Sweet ScentCatching the elusive scent of a flower on the warm breeze is one of the sensual pleasures of gardening. Port wine magnolia has a sweet fragrance that reminds some people of port, and some of bubblegum! It's a tall dense evergreen shrub that responds well to pruning, creating a privacy hedge with style and scent.
Shade LoversYou can't go past an Azalea for shade, and the wide range of flower colours mean there's at least one that would look perfect in your garden. Azaleas thrive in rich, well-drained soil; as they have a shallow root system, regular watering is a must during the dry season. There are tougher new hybrids available which are more drought tolerant and lace bug resistant than old varieties, and heat-tolerant Encore range will tolerate a wider temperature span, and flower more than once in the year. If your favourite old azalea is affected by lace bug, a natural organic pesticide like eco-neem will stop bugs in their tracks. Regular watering with seaweed fertiliser will keep plants in good health making them less susceptible to attack.