10 Best Evergreens for Hedges and Privacy Screens

Evergreens make wonderful, hedges and privacy screens. Some grow quickly into dense hedges, while others develop slowly and require less frequent trimming. They retain their foliage year round to enhance your landscape and create a permanent green barrier. Besides creating privacy, they can hide unsightly structures, including rudimentary fencing. Tall hedges serve as windbreaks and provide shade where needed for garden plants. Evergreens like hollies, with sharp pointed leaves or thorns, can even act as a barrier to discourage animals and pets.Evergreens come in all shapes, sizes, and types of foliage. Flowers, if any, are usually insignificant but may attract bees and other pollinators. Variegated foliage features a wide range of colors and patterns which, along with leaf size and type, can create a look to fit your landscape plan.Here are 10 evergreen shrubs to consider for creating a hedge to meet your needs.19 Classy Living Privacy Fences (Plus Plant Examples) Best Evergreen Hedges for Privacy 01 of 10 Boxwood The Spruce / Cara CormackLong a European favorite, boxwood responds very well to pruning and shaping. Besides making great hedges, boxwoods are a favorite tree for a topiary. The tiny, evergreen leaves remain tidy when clipped. Korean boxwood is proving to behardier than the English varieties. Prune in late spring, as new growth darkens. Size varies with species and it prefersfull sun to partial shade.Name: Boxwood (Buxus)USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 8Sun Exposure: Partial or dappled shadeSoil Needs: Well-drained soil in the 6.8 to 7.5 pH range 02 of 10 Yew The Spruce / Adrienne LegaultYew makes a dense hedge that responds well to pruning. Overgrown yew hedges can often be restored by hard pruning in late winter. Many yews used for foundation plantings remain squat. T. baccata grows to 6 feet tall and 16 feet wide, making it great for hedging. The uniformity of a yew hedge makes a great wall for enclosed gardens. It is a slow-to-medium grower.Name: Yew (Taxus baccata)USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 10, depending on the varietyColor Varieties: Non-flowering; dark green needles and red berriesSun Exposure: Sun, partial shade, or full shade depending on varietySoil Needs: Well-draining soil with a neutral pH 03 of 10 Arborvitae Green Giant (Thuja Green Giant) Valery Kudryavtsev/Getty ImagesArborvitae Green Giant was introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum. You can grow it in almost any soil conditions from sand to clay. It forms a pyramid shape and requires no pruning. It is pest resistant and even deer resistant. For a quick hedge or windbreak, plant these plants 5 to 6 feet apart. For a more gradual hedge, plant 10 to 12 feet apart. These fast-growers can reach 60 feet tall and 20 feet wide.Name: Arborvitae Green Giant (Thuja standishii × plicata)USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 7Sun Exposure: Full to partial sunSoil Needs: Tolerates a range of soils but prefers moist well-drained loams 04 of 10 Holly The Spruce / Autumn WoodPopular for its glossy green leaves, and bright red berries,hollies look best if kept trimmed and full. Only the females set berries, but you will need a male to cross-pollinate. There are some new varieties that do not require two sexes. Hollies prefer acidic soil and the addition of peat or garden sulfur may be necessary. The American holly is more widely adaptable than English holly. It is a medium grower, reaching a height of 6 to 10 feet and a spread of 5 to 8 feet. Plant hollies 2 to 4 feet apart and take care of heavy pruning for shaping in late winter or early spring. Hollies can be lightly pruned any time of year.Name: Holly (Ilex)USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9Color Varieties: Greenish-white flowers and red berriesSun Exposure: Full sun to partial shadeSoil Needs: Well-drained, slightly acidic, fertile soilContinue to 5 of 10 below. 05 of 10 Firethorn The Spruce / Evgeniya VlasovaFirethorn can be a bit unruly, but it still looks striking in the landscape. It is an evergreen with white flowers in spring and orange-red berries from summer into winter and is popular for Christmas decorations. This drought-tolerant plant likes full sun to partial shade. Plant firethorns 3 to 4 feet apart. It is a fast grower and can reach a height of 8 to 12 feet and a spread of 3 to 5 feet. Prune if necessary, after flowering.Name: Firethorn (Pyacantha coccinea)USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 9Color Varieties: Small white flowers resulting in orangey fruitsSun Exposure: Full sun to partial shadeSoil Needs: Moist, well-drained soil 06 of 10 Leyland Cypress The Spruce / Evgeniya VlasovaThe Leyland cypress is a column-like evergreen with flat scale-like leaves. It makes a tough privacy screen or windscreen that is salt tolerant and grows best in full sun. Many new cultivars are being bred for bluer color, variegation, and more feathery foliage. It is a fast grower and you can prune to shape it as new foliage deepens in color. It can reach a height of 60 to 70 feet and a spread of 15 to 20 feet.Name: Leyland Cypress (x Cupressocyparis Leylandii)USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 10Color Varieties: WhiteSun Exposure: Full to partial sunSoil Needs: Acidic or neutral clay, loam, and sand 07 of 10 Variegated Japanese Laurel (Aucuba japonica) The Spruce / Evgeniya VlasovaAlso known as the gold dust tree,’Variegata’ has leathery pale bright green leaves mottled with yellow variegation. This tree is a standout, especially when used to light up a shady area, which it prefers.Variegata is a female and requires a male for pollination, to produce red berries. Good choices include ‘Mr. Goldstrike’ and ‘Maculata’. This laurel likes moist soilbut can handle periodic dry spells. It is a slow grower that can be pruned in early spring to summer. It can reach a height of 6 to 9 feet and a spread of 3 to 5 feet.Name: Variegated Japanese Laurel (Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’)USDA Growing Zones: 7 to 10Color Varieties: Variegated foliage, gold spots, red berriesSun Exposure: Full sun to partial shadeSoil Needs: Almost all well-drained soils 08 of 10 Cotoneaster The Spruce / Leticia AlmeidaThe more upright cotoneasters can be used to form a solid hedge. Several cotoneaster species are evergreen or semi-evergreen. There are several varieties; C. lucidus grows up to 10 feet tall, C. glaucophyllus grows 3 to 4 feet tall with a 6-foot spread; and C. franchetii grows 6 feet tall with a 6-foot spread. This shrub requires little pruning but any shaping should be done in early spring for evergreens and just prior to the start of new growth for semi-evergreens.Name: Cotoneaster (C. lucidus, C. glaucophyllus, C. franchetii)USDA Growing Zones:5 to 9 depending on the varietyColor Varieties:Red berries and bright foliage in fallSun Exposure:Full sun to partial shadeSoil Needs:Moist but well-drained,loamysoilContinue to 9 of 10 below. 09 of 10 Heavenly Bamboo The Spruce / Gyscha RendyNandina domestica is popular in the southern U.S., where its fall/winter berries are the most striking. However, Nandina is tougher than its delicate foliage would suggest. White spring flowers come in hydrangea-like panicles and are followed by bunches of red berries. The foliage blushes red for fall and winter. It is a medium-to-fast grower and can be pruned before new growth. Expect a height of 5 to 7 feet and a spread of 3 to 5 feet.Name: Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 10Color Varieties: white or pinkish blossoms; red berries; fall foliageSun Exposure: Partial sunSoil Needs: Rich, acidic soil 10 of 10 Privet The Spruce / Evgeniya VlasovaA classic hedge plant, not all privets are evergreen. The dense foliage responds extremely well to pruning and can be pruned after flowering. Most have white summer flowers followed by black berries. Privet is very adaptable and will grow in just about any conditions fromfullsun to shade.These fast growers reach a height of 15 feet and a spread of 5 to 6 feet.

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