Fast-Growing Hedges, Explained

Curious about which fast-growing hedge you could plant in your home? We’ve got you covered.

Fast-growing hedges have multiple benefits. Whether it’s for landscaping and gardening aesthetics, privacy, or shade, we have a list of options for you.

This article will explore details about each fast-growing hedge plant and how best to maintain them for your garden!

How Long Does It Take to Grow a Hedge?

To achieve full height, most hedges take up to five years. However, it also depends on how fast they’ll grow.

Varieties of Fast-Growing Hedges

It’s important to choose the proper variety of fast-growing hedges.

This can depend on the weather, location, and area you want to plant your fast-growing hedge. For the best varieties of hedges, read the following list.

#1 Flame Amur Maple

  • Deciduous (sheds leaves)
  • Hardiness Zone: 3-8
  • Growth Rate: Two feet per year
  • Thrives in full sun, part-shade
  • Best for screening and privacy

This fast-growing hedge has some of the best foliage colors during autumn. Once you plant these evergreen trees, you’re bound to have a burst of yellows, oranges and reds come fall!

At the height of wintertime, it can survive temperatures down to negative forty degrees Celsius.

This can be considered a “privacy hedge” due to its multi-stemmed characteristics. They’re also quite resilient due to being drought-resistant.

#2 Schip Laurel or Skip Laurel

  • Evergreen
  • Hardiness Zone: 6-9
  • Growth Rate: Two feet per year
  • Thrives in full sun to full shade
  • Best for hiding fences and as a privacy screen for your home

A schip or skip laurel is one of the most popular, fast-growing, evergreen shrubs used as a hedging plant. This laurel adapts well to different soil types and doesn’t mind smog in the air.

These evergreen shrubs make a tall, narrow hedge that’s also quite durable.

#3 English Laurel or Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

  • Evergreen
  • Hardiness Zone: 6-9
  • Growth Rate: Three feet per year
  • Thrives in full sun to part shade
  • Best for privacy and large areas due to its size and thickness

Also known as prunus laurocerasus, the English or cherry laurel is an enormous, fast-growing hedge. This laurel hedge tolerates different soil types, salt and smog, and drought.

A cherry laurel may require more regular pruning though, up to twice per year.

#4 Privet

  • Semi-evergreen (can shed in the winter)
  • Hardiness Zone: 6-8
  • Growth Rate: One to two feet per year
  • Thrives in full sun to part shade, though some varieties require full sun
  • Best for privacy and windbreak

This famous hedge is usually evergreen in warmer zones, so if you live in a sunny location, you’re in luck!

When used as a hedge, this fast-growing shrub is easy to shape due to its spreading and is drought-tolerant. They don’t mind pollution as well, so city dwellers can plant this hedge without worry.

One thing to keep in mind before planting privets is they aren’t ideal around farmlands or paddocks. Their foliage may be poisonous!

#5 Portuguese Laurel

  • Semi-evergreen (can shed in the winter)
  • Hardiness Zones: 9-8
  • Growth Rate: One to two feet per year
  • Thrives in full sun to part shade
  • Best for privacy, as a sound barrier, or for hiding a homeowner’s fence

This laurel tolerates drought, smog, salt, and deer. The Portuguese laurel also adapts well to a variety of soils.

While slower to grow compared to the schip laurel or cherry laurel, Portuguese laurels are still low-maintenance, fast-growing hedging plants.

#6 Leylandii Hedge or Leyland Cypress

  • Evergreen
  • Hardiness Zone: 6-8
  • Growth Rate: Three feet per year
  • Thrives in full sun to part shade
  • Best for privacy and windbreak

The evergreen Leylandii hedge is one of the fastest-growing hedges you can put in your garden!

It grows extremely fast – Leylandii hedging plants can reach up to a height of 9 to 13 feet.

This height makes it an ideal privacy hedge. With enough space, it will grow into a columnar tree with plenty of green leaves.

It’s a good idea to prune and maintain this privacy hedge frequently.

#7 Green Giant Arborvitae

  • Evergreen
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-8
  • Growth Rate: Three to five feet per year
  • Thrives in full sun to part shade
  • Best for privacy and windbreak

The Green Giant Arborvitae is a fast-growing, hybrid hedge plant.

Its dark green color makes it an attractive hedge plant to put on your property. While it can adapt to a wide range of soils, poorly-drained soils should be avoided. They don’t thrive well in a consistently damp yard.

The Green Giant is ideal as it is resistant to many diseases and pests. It’s quite a healthy, resilient hedge! It also has a thread-like texture.

#8 Virescens Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata virescens)

  • Evergreen
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-8
  • Growth Rate: Two feet per year
  • Thrives in full sun to part shade
  • Best for privacy, hiding fences, and windbreak

The Western Red Cedar or Thuja plicata virescens is a fast-growing hedge for those with a garden in warmer climates. Its bright green leaves don’t fade in color no matter the time of the year.

It grows into a tall, narrow privacy hedge. It also has a unique upright branching habit!

#9 American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis smaragd)

  • Evergreen
  • Hardiness Zone: 2-8
  • Growth: Two feet per year
  • Thrives in full sun to part shade
  • Best for privacy

The American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis smaragd) can survive colder temperatures and is a quick grower. These upright, columnar evergreen trees can reach a height of 20 feet tall!

It’s also drought-tolerant. While we may enjoy the foliage of this dense, privacy hedge, it can be a deer problem.

#10 Bamboo Hedge

  • Evergreen
  • Hardiness Zones: 7-13 (can vary by species)
  • Growth: One to two feet per year
  • Thrives in sun to part shade
  • Best for privacy and screening

While it may be unlikely for one to associate bamboo as one of the types of hedging plants, bamboo is just as effective as any other evergreen trees or shrubs!

Use non-invasive, clumping types of bamboo to form a dense hedge.

As it’s one of the fastest-growing plants, it can tend to grow rampant. Be careful with the variety of bamboo you choose and always look out for its maintenance needs.

This dense and bushy hedging plant is a unique addition to your garden!


Tips on Planting a Fast-Growing Hedge

Prepare the Soil

Preparing the soil for your hedge plants is a critical step. If possible, prepare your soil while it is warm – before the winter planting season.

If the soil is prepped correctly before the hedges are planted, then the hedges will have workable, moist conditions to grow in.

Choose the Right Space

Make sure that your hedge plants will thrive in the right conditions.

If it’s the type of plant to require a lot of sun, plant it where it’s going to have just that! If your plant is particularly water-loving, then it can’t be planted in deserts.

While this seems like common sense, we never know what attributes our chosen hedge plants may have until we do our research.

Be informed about the plants you choose and set aside zones that are going to meet all of their needs.

Remove Weeds

Do landscaping to your chosen zone and weed it at least six weeks before planting!

When you’re planting the hedges already, keep an eye out for any secondary weeds. Pull them out then.

Dig Trenches, Clear Circles

A trench at least 45 cm or 18 inches wide and 30cm or 1 foot long is best for proposed hedges.

For trees and shrubs, a circle around 1 meter or 3 feet will do. Dig at least one foot deep.

Prevent Poor Drainage

It’s best to ensure that the soil is well-drained. Well-drained soil might be one of the conditions that your hedging plant requires.

Soil that allows moderate water drainage without pooling or puddling is what you should aim for. Plants can die if they don’t absorb water, or if they are left in a pool of water for too long.

Usually, gardeners add sharp sand or coarse grit to achieve proper drainage. However, this can also make the soil for your growing hedge plant more concrete.

Use organic materials such as compost, shredded bark, or manure instead.

Compost won’t just help poor drainage! It can also help improve the structure of the soil. Rich nutrients from well-rotted farmyard manure or garden compost will help.

Take Note of the Planting Time

You don’t want to set back a plant in its growth. One can’t exactly plant hedges year-round. The right planting time will have a significant impact on a hedge plant’s growth rate.

Research Whether It Can Thrive in the Full Sun or Shade

See what kind of light requirements your hedging plant will need to have during planting and while it’s growing. You can look into plant hardiness zones as well. We’ve listed both hardiness and light requirements above!

During the height of summer, the warmer climate and limited watering can set a hedge plant back.

Similarly, wintertime isn’t that ideal as well. Frost can kill off new roots and the ground may freeze hard.

The best time for hedge plants to start growing would be in early spring.

If you want to do it in winter, ensure you’re in a state where frost isn’t an issue. The ground shouldn’t be frozen as well.

Go Bare Root

The most cost-effective manner to plant hedges is with bare-root plants. Unlike potted or root-balled plants, it’s less expensive and can be done quickly during the ideal dormant season.

Water Well

Provide a lot of water for your growing hedge plants during their first two years! During those first years, their roots are still trying to establish themselves into the ground.

You can install a drip line irrigation system to encourage fast-growing plants to be robust and healthy. Lay the drip line along your hedge and run for an hour every few days.


Hedges are low-maintenance, but you can always accelerate growth with some fertilizer.

A slow-releasing product high in nitrogen can help! These slow-release fertilizers will provide a small but steady amount of nutrients to your soil.

Apply it during early spring as well.

Add Plant Food

Plant food is different from fertilizer, but the outcome will be the same: a nutrient-rich soil to encourage health in fast-growing hedges.

It is full of micronutrients that your fertilizer may not have. If you want adequate conditions for the optimum growth of your hedge, then consider adding plant food along with fertilizer.

Prune Properly Once or Twice Per Year

Stimulate growth with your fast-growing hedges by pruning them regularly.

Early spring is the best time to prune your plants. This ensures that no new, tender shoots will be frozen come wintertime. Annual pruning will be necessary for the first couple of years you have your hedges.

After the fast-growing hedges have matured properly in your area, you can prune once or twice during the growing season. This will help maintain your nice, dense hedge!

Alert Your Neighbors

This is also important to keep in mind. Hedges aren’t precisely the type of plants that will escape attention from people!

If your area heavily relies on the sense of community, or just as a common courtesy, notify your neighbors about your hedges.


The Benefits of Planting Hedges

There are a lot of benefits that come with hedging plants on your property.


Hedging plants provide a dense, leafy screen that blocks outsiders’ view into our garden and home.

Of course, one could reason that we could do the same thing with a mix of plants and trees, but hedges take our privacy a step further. The height some hedging plants can reach is unmatched!

You can opt for solid screening with evergreen hedging plants, or allow some light to pass through with deciduous hedging plants.

Some of these deciduous hedging plants are listed above: the Flame Maple Amur or the Portuguese laurel hedge are both good options.

While we all want privacy from the outside, hedging plants can also screen views from the inside-out. Unsightly views such as trash cans and fences can be blocked from the safety of our homes.


The lovely green foliage of all types of hedging plants provides a good backdrop for your vibrant blooms.

Spring flowers in your garden will pop if combined with blooming hedges as well – take the bright yellows and reds of the Flame Maple Amur tree, for example.

Quiet Living

Hedges are quite effective when used to screen sounds. If your living conditions include constant traffic and loud neighbors, a hedge in your garden may help.

You’ll notice more peace as you have relaxed conversations with people around you. Best of all, you’ll start noticing the sounds of nature.

Bustling Nature

A hedge is more than a wall of green in your garden! Healthy hedge conditions will attract birds, bees, and butterflies, especially during the flowering season.

Some may also bear fruit, so don’t be surprised when other small animals start popping up during fall and winter.


Fast-growing hedges can take a lot of time. It can be hard just from choosing the best variety you’d like for your home to growing and maintaining them in your garden. 

Whatever the case may be, you’re now ready with all the information necessary for the best fast-growing hedge!

Keep our hedging plant selection and planting and maintaining tips in mind. If you have any questions or experiences to share, feel free to comment on this post.