Not all hedges are created equal, of course, and while some require a careful pruning and plant care routine, there are plenty of varieties that, once established, only need minimal attention.
Most hedge work concerns the pruning necessary to keep the branches and foliage in shape and under control. Although it is tempting to choose a fast-growing hedge to ensure the fastest possible coverage, slow-growing hedges will create less work in the long run.
Evergreen shrubs, which do not lose their leaves in winter, are easier to care for than their deciduous counterparts, so keep this in mind if you are looking for hedge plants.
Reduce gardening tasks with the best low-maintenance hedging plants
Get a garden border that requires minimal maintenance with our top picks for the best low-maintenance hedging plants. From classic evergreens to options covered in beautiful spring flowers, there’s something to suit all yard sizes and styles.
Once you’ve chosen the right hedge for your garden or backyard, even low-maintenance varieties should be watered during the first few months as the roots become established. Once that happens, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the many benefits of a soft, lush green hedgerow for wildlife.
1. Euonymus japonicus
When it comes to low-maintenance shrubs, this is a great versatile solution for any plot of land because it suits every site and situation. It is a dense shrub with elegant evergreen leaves that tolerates open sites, coastal sites, sunny or shaded sites, and any type of soil. It is also resistant to rabbits.
Prune it lightly after it blooms, but otherwise, it’s a fuss-free privacy hedge. We like Silver King Euonymus in Nature Hills for USDA zones 6-9.
Also known as Mexican orange, it is one of the best low-maintenance hedges that grows in most light and soil conditions. “Aztec Pearl” and “Sundance” for his clients.
Coysia is a drought-tolerant plant with glossy, aromatic narrow green leaves and sweet-smelling spring flowers that return in the fall. It grows to between 5-6.5 feet tall and is suitable for zones 7b to 10 in the United States, preferring milder winter locations.
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3. Thuja smaragd
An evergreen coniferous tree with erect, fan-like leaves. Some thuja varieties make fast-growing, tall hedges, which means they need careful monitoring and pruning, but Thuja smaragd It takes 10 to 20 years to reach its final height of about 8 feet, yet it still provides a dense, attractive display of bright green color year-round.
It is a popular choice for screening ideas in the United States.
4. Cherry laurel
Whether you use it as a windbreak, or plant it to muffle noisy neighbors and improve the privacy of your garden, cherry laurel is a hedge plant’s soldier, and it’s attractive, too. Try Otto Luyken Cherry Laurel at Fast Growing Trees.
Another evergreen plant, it has elegant, glossy leaves that will form a dense display, with white flowers in spring and bright red berries in winter. It grows in full sun or shade and only needs one annual cutting. So prune evergreen shrubs in late winter or early spring.
Finished height is approximately 16 feet, but can be easily cut to size. This plant is also known as “English laurel”.
One of the best low-maintenance hedging plants for a more formal and classic look, the yew is a dense, dense, evergreen tree with berries and fine, needle-like dark green leaves.
It will grow to about 49 feet tall, so it is suitable for larger backyards, although it can be kept under control with vigorous pruning in the spring or summer. It copes well with sun or shade.
Yew berries and leaves are poisonous, so take care in gardens with small children or pets. Yew is native to Europe, Turkey, and Iran. It does well in the cooler northern regions of the United States, but can be difficult to grow well in hot, dry climates.
If you want a low-maintenance fence that will also deter intruders, this thorny plant is a great choice. Try ‘Mojave’ which has small, dense green leaves, white flowers in summer and thick clusters of red berries in fall.
It can be cut back into shape in spring and early summer (be sure you have a thick pair of gardening gloves to take over) or left alone for a more informal, wildlife-friendly hedge.
Its prolific nature means that pyracantha is classified as invasive in certain parts of the United States. But if it’s appropriate for your area, it creates a vibrant frontier for privacy.
7. English Holly (Ilex Aquifolium)
A slow-growing evergreen, with spiny leaves and showy red berries in winter, holly forms a strong, thick, secure hedge and needs little more than a pruning in summer to keep it happy and healthy.
There are many different types of holly, with solid green and variegated leaves, but generally this plant has flexible needs, tolerating full sun, partial shade and any type of moist, well-drained soil.
In rural areas, holly plants may require a rabbit guard around the trunk as they grow, especially if you’re already struggling with how to keep rabbits out of your garden.
It thrives in growing zones 7-9 in the United States, but American nightshade is a good alternative for gardens outside these zones. Try American holly on fast-growing trees.
Just because a plant is evergreen doesn’t mean it stays the same boring color all year round, and this beautiful choice for the best low-maintenance hedging plants certainly resonates with the changes.
Try Fotinia x friserie ‘Louise’, which changes from red to olive green to dark gray with the change of seasons. It is a spring flowering shrub in which white flowers appear, followed by red berries. It will thrive in sun or partial shade, in moist, well-drained soil.
Minimal pruning is needed, just light pruning in spring and summer (avoid peak summer). It is a popular choice for gardeners in Australia and will grow in the United States, Zones 7-9.
9. Osmanthus × burkwoodi
An evergreen shrub with sharp, leathery leaves that have a shape similar to holly, Burkwood osmanthus, as it is also known, is a hardy, easy-going hedge plant that tolerates full sun or partial shade.
It is a slow-moving and well-behaved plant, and does not need pruning unless it becomes too large for the plot. This is best done in late spring, after the starry white flowers have displayed a wonderful scent (the botanical name actually means “fragrant flower”).
It is a good choice for small backyards and grows well in USDA zones 7-10.
What low maintenance hedges will stay green all year round?
Any hedgerow that is described or labeled as an evergreen will maintain its color and foliage through every season of the year. But it’s important to choose species that won’t grow too large for your space as some can become dominant in record time.
What low maintenance hedging plants are best for shaded areas?
For areas that get hardly any sunlight, choose shade plants such as holly (Green oak(or Japanese laurel)Aucuba japonica), as both will withstand low light levels.
Not only do hedges add interest and evergreen structure to your backyard, but they can also act as home security plants as a break-in deterrent.