One of the Quickest and best ways to make a property feel more secluded and private is to install a fast-growing Privacy Hedge. Today we show you the Fastest Growing Evergreen Shrubs for Privacy – And each of these best privacy hedges to install based on the “region” you live in.
The challenge for many homeowners is they believe even the fastest-growing shrubs can take many years to grow high and dense enough as a hedge to provide a real sense of privacy.
All of us with backyard privacy concerns ask, “what are the fastest-growing privacy shrubs.” The truth is that many evergreen privacy hedges can give you backyard privacy almost immediately – and in our opinion – these are the 10 Fastest-Growing Shrubs for Privacy.
Today, we’ll only be looking at Evergreen Bushes and Shrubs – Because they stay “Green” and provide privacy all year round.
For your convenience, we also categorize each plant listed with its particular plant hardiness zone. The plant’s hardiness zone calculator quickly identifies the most suitable area for growing that particular plant within the United States.
To find the hardiness zone where you live, visit the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map page.
Once you know the plant hardiness zone for your home, read further to discover the 10 “Fastest Growing Evergreen Shrubs for Privacy” – and find the recommended Plant Hardiness Zone for each Privacy Shrub listed:
The 10 Fastest-Growing Evergreen Shrubs For Privacy
Wichita Blue Juniper Hedge
A dense, attractive bush, Wichita blue juniper grows at a rate of about one foot each year for the first several years of its life, then settles into a slower growth pattern with age. As a result, the bushes get large enough to provide adequate privacy fairly quickly without becoming unmanageable.
This juniper variety is one of the best large bushes for privacy.
Wichita Blue Juniper Hedge: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7
Regarding evergreen shrubs for privacy, few options are better than the arborvitae. With an ability to grow three feet or more each year, all while producing dense foliage – the Arborvitae is considered one of the best plants for privacy you can buy.
This bush can produce excellent results in a concise time. If you don’t already have a wood privacy fence in place, these evergreen shrubs will reach a standard wood privacy fence height – of 6 ft. in about two years.
For many people, this arborvitae variety is the obvious answer when wondering what to plant for privacy.
Arborvitae Hedge: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7
While technically a tree rather than a shrub, the Italian cypress deserves a spot on this list of the best privacy plants – because of its spectacular appearance and fast growth rate.
The Italian Cypress tree can grow up to two feet yearly while maintaining a narrow, neat appearance. Beware: If you’re looking for total privacy, let it reach its maximum natural height of 40-60 ft!
Plan accordingly – These privacy trees are beautiful (and narrow), so research the spacing requirements for privacy and understand the maximum overall height before selecting this beautiful privacy hedge tree.
Alternatively, you can clip it when it reaches your desired height.
Italian Cypress: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone = 7, 8, 9 & 10
English Holly Hedge
Another of the best shrubs for privacy fence purposes – is the English holly, a beautiful plant that can grow quite quickly under the right conditions. English holly is around 15 feet in height, but you can cut it shorter if desired.
The English Holly plant has a somewhat limited range in North America.
English Holly Hedge: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones – 7, 8, & 9 (Usually ok in zone 6b)
With broad leaves and attractive color patterns, Euonymus makes a great addition to an outdoor space and is one of the best large bushes for privacy.
Depending on the specific variety, Euonymus leaves can range from light green with hints of yellow to dark green – so make sure you select the variety with the color you hope to achieve.
The unique color variations in Euonymus Hedges will allow you some latitude when matching these shrubs to the other plants in your yard.
Euonymus Hedge: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5, 6, 7, & 8
Skip Laurel Hedge
One of the best plants for privacy from neighbors is the Skip Laurel, a lush bushing evergreen that can grow at rates of up to two feet per year.
Skip laurel can grow to more than 15 feet in height for maximum privacy but can also be clipped at any size you prefer.
Skip Laurel Hedge: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6, 7, 8, & 9
A perennial favorite among fast-growing privacy shrubs is the Viburnum Tinus bush, sometimes colloquially known as the snowball bush for its spectacular white flowers.
Viburnum Tinus bushes grow between one and two feet each year until they reach a mature size of 6-12ft,
This reasonable but practical height makes them perfect for quickly establishing a manageable privacy screen in your yard.
The one downside of viburnum in America is that it doesn’t have an extensive range for growing in the U.S.
Viburnum Hedge: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 8, 9, & 10
A personal favorite of mine, I maintain our home in Arizona with Pyracantha Bushes, which we love. With their ability to grow up to two feet each year and produce spectacularly colorful fall berries – the Pyracantha is a rare, fast-growing, and beautiful privacy hedge plant to own.
One problem you may have with Pyracantha is that the bush is quite thorny and causes deep scratches if not wearing protective gloves or clothing when trimming.
Pyracantha berries are beautiful and have been claimed by some to be poisonous to humans and animals, but this is not a proven fact. However, the consumption of a large dose can cause mild stomach upset.
Pyracantha Hedge: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6, 7, & 8
The Leyland cypress is an impressively fast-growing tree that can add as much as four feet to its yearly height. Leyland cypresses are full-size trees, but they can be trimmed when they reach the desired size.
This cypress variety is difficult to beat if you’re looking for a tall privacy hedge in just a couple of years.
Leland Cypress Hedge: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10
Wax myrtle is one of the best tall shrubs for privacy, growing up to 12 feet high when mature. The plant can also grow relatively quickly and offers dense foliage to keep neighbors and passersby from looking into your yard.
Wax Myrtle Hedge: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7b, 8, 9, 10, & 11
How to Plant a Privacy Hedge
Now that we’ve highlighted the fastest-growing evergreen shrubs for privacy – Let’s talk about how to plant a privacy hedge.
Step 1 – Measure
Measure the total length of the Privacy hedge you plan to install and pound stakes at each end. Tie a string to each stake, then equally space the plants between those stakes – with an equal distance between each plant.
Step 2 – Dig The Hole
Using a good Long Handled Shovel – Dig a hole at least 18″ deep x 24″ – 28″ wide, depending on your plant container size.
Step 3 – Add Compost To the Soil
Most soils lack proper nutrition and the ability to retain moisture. Add compost inside the hole to help roots spread and grow.
Step 4 – Install Privacy Plants
Place each plant with the ball just above (1-2″) ground level. Cover with a mixture of fresh topsoil and the original native dirt, and gently tamp down to keep the plant in place but not unnecessarily compact the roots.
Step 5 – Water the Plants
After your plants are all in the ground, adequately saturate them with water, being careful not to wash away any soil. Set up a drip line or other means of irrigation to keep roots moist for the next 7-10 days.
Step 5 – Spread Mulch
Cover the top of your new privacy “row” with mulch to help retain moisture, and dress up your new privacy hedge. Mulch also provides a natural barrier between the privacy bed and the lawn.
Step 6 – Fertilize The Plants
Carefully spread a slow-release fertilizer around, but not on, the ball of each privacy plant. This will ensure a steady delivery of nutrients to the plant’s roots. We recommend a good slow-release fertilizer for bushes & shrubs, such as Miracle Grow’s Shake & Feed, sold at Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Plant Privacy Hedge
A few factors will impact your plantings, the most notable being the type of shrub you’re using and how quickly you would like total privacy.
How far apart should I Plant Hedges?
For something like arborvitae that will grow tall and narrow, you’ll want to install these 2-3 feet apart to prevent gaps in your privacy screen, or even closer with our 3rd choice – the Italian Cypress, which is a very narrow tree that should be planted 2 feet apart.
On the other hand, bushier plants like laurel or wax myrtle will expand outward to fill in gaps as they grow taller, allowing you to get away with broader plant spacings. Just plant bushes too close, or you may need to replace them as they mature.
In almost all cases, the recommended spacing for privacy hedges is 2 to 3 feet apart. However, if you are less patient and want to see quicker privacy, a spacing of 2 feet apart is recommended.
How Often Should You Trim Privacy Hedges?
Most “leafy hedge” varieties should be trimmed once a year for height and at least once or twice annually for width. Trimming leafy hedges for width or “on the face” will promote dense growth.
Narrow tall-growing hedges, such as arborvitae and cypress, rarely require any trimming except removing a dead branch due to winter damage.
Use a good, sharp hedge trimmer, and trim the “face” of the hedges on both sides – This will promote the active growth and density the plant requires, giving you a thicker, more private hedge.
How Much Does a Privacy Hedge Cost To Plant?
Cost is another major factor determining how you plant your hedge. If money isn’t a problem – buy and plant large evergreen shrubs that have already been allowed to reach 50% or full maturity in a nursery. This approach is excellent if you can afford it since it will give you instant privacy.
However, buying nearly mature plants will be too expensive for most people. If possible, try to get plants that have been allowed to grow to at least three or four feet in height. This will give you an excellent jump start on your privacy hedge.
Here’s a fun “How-To” video on how to plant a Privacy Hedge:
Follow these vital steps to establish the best privacy hedge possible, and prevent having to fill in the gaps later – as you wait for new shrubs to grow.
By selecting the right privacy plant for your climate, these fantastic privacy bushes or shrubs planted correctly will grow fast and help you quickly establish a beautiful privacy hedge for your home.
Don’t forget that after selecting one of these recommended best plants for privacy, you’ll need to maintain it properly. Keep new plants lightly watered daily – for the first two weeks of growth. Trimming both faces will promote thick, dense foliage.
Be sure to use a suitable leaf blower to keep the base of new plants free from debris or cut foliage.
If you don’t care for your plants as they grow, they can become stunted and fail to achieve their maximum potential growth rate. Check with your local nursery and know the best practices to grow evergreen privacy plants before you buy them.
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References & Further Reading
- Balcony Privacy Hedge Ideas – Balconygardenweb.com
- Top 10 Best Gas Fire Pit Tables – Besthomegear.com
- Selecting & Planting Best Hedges – IowaStateUniversity.edu
- 4 More Tips for Growing Hedges – Nola.Com
- Top 5 Best Leaf Blowers – Cordless and Electric – Besthomegear.com
- The Best Gas-Powered Weed Eater You Can Buy – Besthomegear.com