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Know your: Hedging plants

Photo - tea maeklong/


Inspired to get hedging? Choosing the right plant for your hedging plan is critical. Look for a height range and maintenance regime that suits your needs, as well as plants that will do well given the soil and position you can offer. Here are a handful of the hedging plants we think should be on your shortlist.


Orange jessamine

Murraya paniculata

ID: Glossy, green with fragrant blossoms all through the warmer months (as you would expect of a member of the citrus family. No wonder it’s so popular!

Grow: Grows in the 1.5-3m range, and will grow into a small tree if left unpruned. Clip at the end of summer and in mid-spring. Works best as a ‘hedgey’ backdrop to a garden or as a privacy screen against walkers-by. Likes sun and nutrient rich soil.



English box

Buxus sempervirens

ID: Nothing says ‘formal English garden’ more than kilometres of box hedges. It’s ubiquitous, but we love it anyway for its hardy nature, and fine, deep-green leaves. Look out for the Korean variety, which has the best leaves.

Grow: Best for low hedges, intricate hedges, topiary, spirals, spheres and parterres. Clip every two months for the best results. Likes sun. Can be troubled by virus and scale.

Photo - vbmark/


Coastal rosemary

Westringea fruticosa

ID: Silver, grey and blue tinged growth and blu flowers make this a firm favourite for coastal gardens. Look for ‘Zena’, ‘Smokey’ and ‘Jervis Gem’.

Grow: A great choice for spheres and balls, and westringia also makes a good 0.5 – 3m high hedge. Clip once a year in autumn. If you miss a prune the centre of the plant is likely to get sticky and scrappy-looking. Rarely troubled by pest or disease. Likes sun.


Photo -, no longer available


Emerald lustre viburnum

Viburnum odoratissimum ‘Emerald Lustre’

ID: The lime-green glossy leaves are larger than the rest of those on these pages, and much quicker growing too, reaching a height in the 4-5m range.

Grow: This is the people’s choice for a fast thick hedge between neighbours. Will take sun or shade. Frost tender.

Photo -, no longer available


Indian hawthorn

Rhaphiolepsis indica

ID: there are a few different types and heights, all with leathery, deep-green leaves and cherry blossom-like flowers in spring.

Grow: These are hardy plants, resilient to dry weather and neglect. Avoid growing near bushland areas as birds can spread them. Best as a tabletop hedge, or low hedge along a pathway. Likes sun or shade.


Photo - Casey K. Bishop/


Red robin


ID: Loved for its striking red foliage in late winter, this shrub is a popular hedge choice for warm temperate gardens. Low-growing ‘Red Robin’ will get to 1-2m high; taller-growing ‘Superhedge’ will reach the 3m mark.

Grow: Avoid using this in areas of bad drainage. Plants can be slow to establish and thicken – more pruning will encourage more growth. Best as a thick privacy hedge to screen passersby and cars. Popular on acreage. Likes sun.

Photo - Feng Yu/


Eumundii Quandong

Eleocarpus eumundii

ID: Midsized, rainforest tree from the east coast of NSW/Qld. Glossy dense foliage makes for a handsome hedge, with the bonus of scented cream flowers in summer.

Grow: Best as a tall privacy hedge to screen out a second-storey neighbour, along narrow side passages, or as windbreak. Will take shade.

Photo -, no longer available


Text: Linda Ross