15 Best Plants for Fence Lines

15 Best Plants for Fence Lines

Some plants are supposed to grow jostling along the fence line, poking their heads through the wooden slats. Likewise, some fence styles are designed to be wrapped in flowers. It is difficult to imagine a white picket fence, for example, that is not bathed in flowers. Whether you're trying to camouflage a chain-link fence, dress up a solid wood wall, or take advantage of vertical space, we've rounded up some of the best plants for a fence line.

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The style and height of the fence will determine the plant selection to some extent. Regular picket fences, split rails and other open-style fences give way to flowering annuals and perennials, as well as trailing shrubs, whose flowers move in and across the fence line. These fence styles tend to function as an integral part of farming. Our goals vary greatly when planting along a sturdy fence that can be visually dominant. Mixed plantings of shrubs, ornamental grasses and perennials soften the fence line and dress up an otherwise empty surface. The following list includes plants for a range of fence styles and design goals.

Climbing rose

Getty Images/Gina Ardell


  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Rosa Hybrids
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Moist, well-drained, rich
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (6.0-7.0)

Climbing roses add romance and fragrance to any garden. Roses don't really climb the way morning glory or peas do. Varieties that are considered climbers produce very long canes or stems, which can be easily trained to a fence or other structure. As such, climbing roses should be secured to the fence with ties.

Mohide hydrangea

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  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Hydrangea macrophylla
  • Sun exposure: Partial to full shade
  • Soil type: Moist, well-drained, rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic to slightly acidic (5.0-6.5)

The blooming hydrangea flowers are magical cascading through the fence rails. Flower color varies depending on the variety and soil pH. For blueflowers, keep the soil pH between 5.0 and 5.5. Above this level, the flowers will take on purple or pink hues.

Holly

Getty Images/Catherine McQueen


  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Green oak Classify
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil type: Good drain, Rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic (5.0-6.0)

Break up the monotony of tall solid fences with evergreen foliage. With the wide variety of species available in everything from small, rounded shrubs to large pyramidal trees, there is a holly plant for every garden size and style. The red berries provide additional beauty in winter and attract songbirds.

Marshmallow

Photo: Ralph Lee Anderson
  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Alcea rosea
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil type: Good drain, Rich
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (6.0-8.0)

Hollyhocks are an ideal home garden plant. Because of their height, they are usually planted at the back of flower gardens, often along fences. Hibiscus plants typically grow as biennials, producing foliage in their first season and flowering in their second year. However, they are easily grown in the garden. By planting seeds in two consecutive years, you can get a stand that blooms every year.

Fountain grass

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  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Penicitum allobicoroids
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil type: Moist and dry draining
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (6.0-7.0)

Nothing adds texture to a garden like ornamental grasses. Hardwood fences provide a backdrop for the beautiful, arching foliage and soft blooms of fountain grass. For planting against white picket fences, the closely related purple fountain grass, Pcetacean insetum 'Rubrum' is a great alternative, although it is not winter-hardy. Grasses also look beautifully swaying along picket fences.

Clematis

Getty Images/Valery Maximov


  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Clematis Classify
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Moist and dry draining
  • Soil pH: Neutral to slightly alkaline (6.5-7.5)

Jasmine plants climb by wrapping their leaf stalks around support structures. Because these stems are relatively short, the jasmine plant may need to be tied or secured to fences. You can also add fishing line or wire to climb plants. Jasmine plants prefer to have their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade, which makes them great for planting between hedges and other plant materials that will shade their base.

foxglove

Getty Images/Eriko Tsukamoto


  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Digitalis purpurea
  • Sun exposure: Part shade to full sun
  • Soil type: Moist, well-drained, rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic to slightly acidic (5.5-6.5)

Foxgloves add vertical dimension to the garden with their stunning floral spikes. Although the plants tolerate full sun, they do best in afternoon shade. Foxglove is a biennial or short-lived perennial that produces a basal rosette of foliage in its first growing season and flowers in the subsequent year(s). Foxglove will replant easily into long-term stands in the garden.

Abilia

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  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Linnaea (Abelia) x grandiflora
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil type: Good drain, Rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic to alkaline (5.0-8.0)

Solid fences require a different planting strategy. Evergreen and semi-evergreen shrubs, such as abelia, along with deciduous perennials, herbs and shrubs, provide lasting color and structure. Many types of Abelia are available, providing stunning combinations for any style of fence. The fragrant flowers throughout the growing season attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Rose of Sharon

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  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Syrian hibiscus
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Moist, well-drained, rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic to slightly alkaline (5.5-7.5)

Rose of Sharon adds cottage charm to any fence line, whether looking over a solid wall or running through wooden slats. The plants are easy to grow and widely adaptable to a variety of growing conditions. Sterile varieties are available for gardeners concerned about self-sowing, including some wonderful double-flowered varieties.

Spider flower

Getty Images/Jackie Parker Photography


  • Estimate the life of the zoya: every day
  • Sun exposure: Full to part sun
  • Soil type: Moist and dry draining
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (6.0-7.0)

These tall annuals bloom from early summer through fall, producing eye-catching pink, white or lavender flowers. Plants can reach 4 to 6 feet tall and work well against a fence. If desired, you can pinch the plants back in early summer to encourage a bushier habit. The plants self-seed easily and come back year after year.

Azalea

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  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Rhododendron Hybrids
  • Sun exposure: Partial shade
  • Soil type: Moist, well-drained, rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic (4.5-6.0)

Shaded fence lines and wrought iron rails invite a touch of elegant azaleas. The vibrant blooms of these beauties accent any garden, from rustic woodland gardens to formal entryways. They bloom in shades of purple, pink, white and red as the spring garden awakens. Azaleas come in a variety of sizes, and some will rebloom.

Coral honeysuckle

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  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Lonicera sempervirens
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Medium, well-drained
  • Soil pH: Acidic to slightly alkaline (5.5-8.0)

The native twining vine is a great jammer for hedgerows. Unlike the exotic honeysuckle, this beloved vine is not invasive. It will delight you with coral-red tubular flowers that appear in the spring flush followed by scattered blooms throughout the season. Watch hummingbirds sipping from the flowers and songbirds nibbling on tiny berries.

Universe

Getty Images/Thang Tat Nguyen


  • Estimate the life of the zoya: universe bipinnatus
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Medium, well-drained
  • Soil pH: Neutral to slightly alkaline (6.5-8.0)

Cosmos soften fence lines with their airy foliage and long-lasting blooms. It is a centerpiece in the home garden, it looks amazing planted a lot Or used as drapes between other flowers. True annual cosmos are usually planted in the garden. Plants may benefit from being cut back to a height of 12 to 18 inches after the first flush of flowers if they have an abundance of seed heads. Let the seed heads fall onto the soil if you want to promote a self-sustaining stand.

Black-eyed Susan

Getty Images/Jennifer Shields


  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Rudbeckia hirta
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Medium, well drained, rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic (5.5-6.8)

This biennial blooms easily for several months and is a beacon for butterflies in the summer garden. Sparrows and other songbirds that feed on seeds are attracted to the seed heads late in the season. Black-eyed Susans are perennial or short-lived, flower in their first season after planting and are often grown as an annual. They also self-seed in the garden to keep your hedges looking great.

asparagus

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  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Asparagus officinalis
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Good drain, Rich
  • Soil pH: Neutral l Slightly alkaline (6.5-7.5)

Why not plant something edible along your fence row? Asparagus is a perennial crop, making it an ideal plant for mixed garden beds. After early harvest, the plants produce delicate, fern-like leaves that rise to heights of three to five feet and look stunning in the back of flower gardens.

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