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Fast-growing colourful hedges

Updated February 21, 2017

Hedges not only add privacy to your garden, but they also improve its aesthetics. Hedges are often thought to be evergreen shrubs or trees, but some large, fast-growing flowering shrubs make colourful hedges, offering a variety of foliage, texture and blooms. The best hedges are those with a dense and compact growth habit. If you want year-round privacy, choose flowering plants with evergreen foliage.

Showy border forsythia

Showy border forsythia, Forsythia x intermedia, is a fast-growing shrub with a mature size of around 3 metres (10 feet) tall and 3.6 metres (12 feet) wide. Its upright growth habit and long-lived nature make it ideal for a hedge offering seasonal privacy. In early spring, border forsythia produces bell-shaped yellow flowers that are around 3.75 cm (1 1/2 inches) long, followed by dark-green foliage that lasts into autumn. Plant the shrub in full sun. It prefers fertile, well-drained soil, but adapts to a variety of soil types. Prune border forsythia to keep it in shape as a hedge.

Cherry laurel

Cherry laurel, Prunus caroliniana, is a fast-growing evergreen shrub reaching 6 metres (20 feet) tall or more and is commonly used as a low-maintenance hedge. Its glossy leaves are 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) long and range in colour from yellow-green to dark green. Cherry laurel produces 7.5 cm (3 inch) long flower clusters in late winter and early spring, followed by 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) blue-black fruit. Cherry laurel thrives in areas of sun but is moderately tolerant to shade. Established plants are drought tolerant.

Buddleia

Buddleja -- also known as the butterfly bush -- is a flowering, semi-evergreen to deciduous shrub suitable for a hedge. A rapid grower, butterfly bush reaches a mature height of 3.6 metres (12 feet) with a spread of up to 4.5 metres (15 feet). It bears tiny, fragrant flowers in cone-shaped clusters that are up to 45 cm (18 inches) long. Depending on the variety, the flowers can be purple, pink, red, blue or white. Its lance-shaped, grey-green foliage growsto 25 cm (10 inches) long on arching stems. Butterfly bush prefers average, well-drained soil but adapts to dry soil once established. Plant in areas of full to partial sun. In some areas, butterfly bush is considered invasive, so check your local area before planting.

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About the Author

Irum Sarfaraz is a freelance writer with over 20 years of nonfiction writing experience in newspaper op-eds and magazine writing, book editing, translating and research writing. Sarfaraz is originally from Pakistan and has been published in both American and Pakistani newspapers and magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, and diplomas in nonfiction writing.