What Is The Fastest Growing Hedge? Our List Of UK's Top Hedges!

Written By James
Updated July 7, 2021 by James

What Is The Fastest Growing Hedge? Our List Of UK's Top Hedges!

There's something about bright, balmy weather that just revs up our creative engines and makes us so much more productive than ever. In fact, research published by Eco Business showed that workplaces with sufficient daylight observed a 5-40% uplift in productivity!

One of the effects of this burst of fecundity is cleaning, organising, and polishing things up. If you're here, you're likely in search of a way to help enhance your garden. Hedges are known as a green giant- and this article is all about the green giant.

If you're looking for a "quick-fix" in adorning your garden, you're in the right place. We've got a comprehensive guide on the fastest growing dense hedge in the UK, so you'll be able to materialise your vision of a luscious lawn with attractive foliage- and the fastest growth rate.

Benefits of Fast-Growing Hedging

You don't need to worry about excessive pruning or maintenance; twice a year or so is ideal and sufficient to keep it a neat hedge- well-kept, tidy condition.

The privacy you get with a fast growing hedge is an important factor in itself, and a hedge is also essential in sustaining a healthy environment for other insects and creatures to keep your lawn healthy. Under the hedges is where a lot of wildlife bustles, and a lot of this culture is vital for your grass' life cycle to keep it healthy.

Fast-growing hedges can reach up to 5 metres in height, much quicker than other hedges in average conditions. Fast-growing Conifer formal hedges (deciduous hedge type) or evergreen shrub types are generally popular options. The growth rate for a deciduous hedge varies massively, from 50 to 80 centimetres per year depending on the type of dense hedges you opt for. This increases in late summer, and other ideal time periods.

It's important to consider the required conditions (evergreen or deciduous), and bear in mind the types of settings required for optimal growth. Sustaining optimal growing conditions will boost the speed of growth of your hedge massively; so think about whether you need cold temperatures or hot, deep shade locations, or any amount of shade (a field hedge which requires deep shade locations are best for UK residents, as we have cold winters and dull winter months).

How much annual pruning will be needed (annual pruning follows a "the less the better" rule); annual or semi-annual pruning? What kind of soil is needed? Chalky soils, free-draining (i.e. not waterlogged) soil, or moist soil?

Our team have collated a wide range of options in this comprehensive guide on which fast-growing shrub is best for you- a wide range of fast-growing plants from cold winters to hot summers. 

1. Cherry Laurel

Perhaps the most popular amongst the overall choice for hedges in the UK, the Cherry Laurel is an excellent choice. This type of laurel is commonly named the "common laurel". This evergreen hedge is an extremely fast-growing privacy hedge with thick, waxy green leaves and a naturally moist soil. The culture and range of insects that will inhabit underneath the evergreen hedge plants will increase the vibrancy of your grass and richness of the earth.

These evergreen shrubs can survive and grow in partial shade, however, they most certainly thrive in deep shade locations and cooler spots. You can still grow them in the warmer months this summer. In terms of the speed of growth, the growth rate of this attractive garden hedge reflects about 60 centimetres per year- in average environmental conditions. If they're optimal, the fastest growth is up to 75 centimetres. The growth is also dense, making it an excellent garden hedge or field hedge option. They're great for a formal garden hedge too, for example if you garden professionally.

The only downside to this wonderful hedge variant with its beautiful evergreen leaves is that it is quite toxic. If you have a pet dog- avoid this hedge at all costs.

2. Bay Laurel

Another Laurel variant is the evergreen garden hedge, the bay Laurel. This majestic hedge was highly valued amongst the Ancient Greeks, and thus has strong historical links with the Greek god Apollo. The evergreen leaves were also wound and transformed into wreaths, to commemorate or award victors of the early Olympics.

This aromatic evergreen garden hedge, the laurus nobilis, is renowned as one of the fastest growing privacy hedges.

The best thing about the Bay Laurel is that it's (sort of) edible! One main reason people love the Bay Laurel is because of its dark, aromatic, glossy foliage leaves. They can be used as they are, or dried for cooking purposes. Indian cuisine uses Bay leaves in rice often, to add aroma and a mild earthy flavour. Additionally, this fast-growing hedge plant will fill your garden with a sweet aroma.

The downside with this evergreen garden hedge is that the growth rate is slower, with a speed of growth of around 40 centimetres a year. The fastest growth (when planted in optimal soil and sunlight conditions) is about 45-50 centimetres when planted in soil in sun.

3. Privet

Another option for an attractive garden hedge is (debatably) the most beautiful dense growth of a garden hedge is the Privet hedge species. Their dainty, rounded, glossy leaves are not only the perfect texture, it has attractive apple-green leaves. They're a great choice for achieving an overall polished hedge appearance, as the small leaves help the hedge look much denser.

These hedges are rather ubiquitous, hence it has significantly waned in terms of its popularity recently. Nevertheless, this shrub is a crowd-pleasing, traditional, and very formal option to go for if you're interesting in gardening and landscaping. Since the growth of this hedge ensures such dense coverage, you'll find it an ideal dense screen to provide you with the privacy you need.

The growth rate varies for the Privet, as environmental factors seem to have a significant effect. The average speed of growth for this hedge is between 30 and 60 centimetres per year. For maximum growth, this hedge responded best when given plant feed. However, due to this, the hedge will need pruning many more times a year than the Cherry Laurel, for example.

4. Leylandii

This hedge variant is the best option to go for if you're after privacy. The dense, compact growth and speed of growth are an excellent solution for anyone who doesn't have a hedge yet, or would like to renew it and plant a more effective one for providing privacy.

The Golden Leylandii is a popular option like this. When this is a mature plant, the golden-green evergreen plant foliage looks stunning. This one will serve well as a formal garden hedge or an informal hedge too. They make a great hedge for privacy due to them being fast-growing hedging plants. They also grow well in most soil in sun (we suggest well-drained soil in sun, or moist, well-drained soil size).

The Leylandii is a fast-growing variant of a conifer hedge, and forms a hedge the fastest in comparison to any other. The appearance is slightly more generic, but it does a great job at giving you the privacy you need. They can stand up to 4 feet tall, and grow very wide (18 inches on average)- so it's an excellent choice to go for if you need a hedge for practical, rather than aesthetic purposes.

The newer Leylandii are a green foliage that grow as well as their original, traditional Leylandii- but it looks better when grown out. Go for the newer Leylandii if aesthetics and practicality/privacy are equally as important.

These hedges are generally quite tolerant in terms of the conditions they grow in- whether that's wet soil or dry soil; direct sunlight, soil in sun, partial shade, or deep shape locations. In fact, they are also pretty resistant to sodium-exposure (salt). In UK weather, this is quite a useful point to consider. The salt tolerance remains low, however, meaning occasional hailstones won't make a difference- but being directly on a shorefront would! While these hedges are water-tolerant, ensure the soil and environment doesn't become water-logged.

5. Bamboo

One of the most beautiful garden hedge options to go for if you're truly in it for the aesthetics, is the bamboo plant. Not only is the bamboo variant highly space-efficient, it creates a striking set of privacy screens to achieve the main aim of having a hedge. It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of trees for privacy, or hedges for privacy, or even plants for privacy- but it sure does the job.

There's several types of bamboo that are primarily used for hedging purposes, making them great hedges for privacy. The two main variations which we recommend are the golden bamboo or the fountain bamboo. Both will attain a successful screening effect while also adding a stroke of lush greenery and an exotic, oriental ambience. You can buy pre-grown bamboo and just fit them in, too.

Generally, the reason why Bamboo is a popular choice for an aesthetically-pleasing yet excellent choice for privacy/extra privacy is because they have a high growth rate. Their speed of growth is extremely quick, with many varieties being able to reach around 75 centimetres per year. Some Bamboo variants are an anomaly, with a speed of growth of about 40 centimetres, but these aren't the best choice for hedging.  Nevertheless, this is a beautiful garden hedge option to go for- not just an excellent garden hedge.

Tips for Optimal Growth

If you're looking to plant a Leylandii hedge for example, look no later than late spring. Frosty weather and wet or cold conditions (for example colder regions and late winter) are not ideal growth environments for your hedges. If you want to obtain a deep, rich, dark green colour from your hedges and grow to be tall trees for privacy- make sure you plant them in the right period.

Another tip to bear in mind is the condition in which the ground is before planting. The ground must be weeded thoroughly at around the six-week mark before planting. The second weeding session must take place again before starting the planting process, whichever type of hedge you're using. Before planting, make sure you use a good quality plant food (universal types are great for any type of hedge). This will ensure all types of hedges benefit from the nutrition you provide and grow into a strong, tall hedge.

If you're in a real rush to get things done, begin with an already mature plant native species (at a mature size). You can purchase a low-maintenance hedging plant with mature height from a greenhouse or any other homeware store. The benefit of a low-maintenance hedging plant is that you don't need to worry about preliminary planting steps or fundamental years' care and regular pruning. You only need to maintain the health they're at. The downside is that they can be rather expensive.

  • For the majority of evergreen foliage, for example Laurel (Bay and Cherry Laurel are the best evergreen garden hedge options to go for) or Leylandii (golden Leylandii hedges or green Leylandii are popular varieties that may even blossom flowers in Summer), you'll want to keep a spacing of around 60 centimetres. This is ideal for achieving a screening/fence effect. You'll want to grow these to a reasonable height- taller than the average person.
  • Bamboo are another type of hedges to go for that are exotic and unique, adding a huge amount of charisma and identity to your garden while growing into a tall hedge. Keep the spacing greater than 60 centimetres, at around one plant per 100 to 150 centimetres. This will grow into a magnificent hedge with iconic bamboo stems
  • If you're dealing with Privet, which are my personal favourite types of hedges since it's such an attractive hedge to go for- you'll want to plant them closer together. This is pricier if you're trying to build a beautiful hedge around a large area. The more plants required, the more money it will cost. You'll need to plant about 4 plants per metre to get the best screening effect possible out of these- so be prepared to spend more and not cut any corners.

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My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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