by Jennifer Poindexter
Sometimes we desire a little more privacy than our home can provide. If you feel like your neighbors are a little too close, consider planting a living fence.
This type of fence not only looks neat and natural, it can provide privacy and beauty simultaneously. However, do you know which shrubs are fast-growing and a good fit for this project?
If not, you’re right where you need to be. I’m going to walk you through a variety of shrubs and small trees that grow quickly to provide the privacy you desire.
Here are the quick-growing shrubs you should consider when you need privacy around your home.
1. Crape Myrtle
Crape myrtles are beautiful shrub-like trees that add a lot of color to their growing space. They typically produce pink, purple, and white blooms.
These trees can also handle high temperatures and are hardy in planting zones six through nine. They grow to be fifteen feet or taller and grow at a rate of two feet per year. If you need a fast-growing tree that acts a lot like a shrub, this could be a great option.
Arborvitae is a popular choice of plant when you need privacy. These trees tend to grow in a triangular shape, so it does take strategic planting to receive the seclusion you desire.
However, they grow quickly and can reach heights of around 30 feet. Most arborvitae grow at least a foot per year until they become established. If you need a simple, evergreen tree to provide privacy, arborvitae might deserve your attention.
Yew can add a unique look to your landscape. This evergreen shrub is known for its prickly needles and red berries.
The plant can handle full shade or full sun depending upon the variety. This plant is hardy in zones two through ten. At maturity, yew can become twenty feet or taller. Although, it only grows approximately one foot per year.
4. Red Twig Dogwood
Red twig dogwood is another interesting shrub to use when creating a living fence. This plant produces green foliage and berries. However, when these things die back, the show really begins. Beneath the leaves and berries is a vibrant red bark.
You may grow red twig dogwood in full to partial sunlight in planting zones three through eight. It will grow to become around nine feet tall and should grow approximately two feet per year.
5. Canadian Hemlock
Canadian hemlock frequently gets a bad reputation because they’re assumed to be poisonous. In reality, they aren’t. You may think of a taller tree when you think of this plant, but it can be pruned into a hedge.
However, if left unattended, the Canadian hemlock can grow to be 40 feet or taller. It also grows between one to two feet per year. Canadian hemlocks grow well in planting zones three through seven and prefer partial sunlight.
6. Butterfly Bush
Butterfly bushes are not only fast-growing but are an excellent way to produce a beautiful landscape while seeking privacy. These bushes produce vibrant blooms which invite pollinators into your yard or garden area.
They are hardy in planting zones five through nine and grow to be around fifteen feet tall. Butterfly bushes grow two feet per year until they reach maturity.
7. Amur Maple
Amur maple is considered either a large shrub or smaller tree as it grows to be around 20 feet tall. Also, it displays quite an array of colors during the fall season.
This shrub is also known for providing protection from the wind. You may grow amur maple in planting zones three through eight in partial to full sunlight. Be aware, this plant does grow quickly. In the right conditions, it grows as much as two feet per year.
Loropetalum is a member of the witch hazel family which explains its unique blooms. Not only does this shrub bring a unique charm to your landscape, but it also brings gorgeous colors between the blooms and the deep foliage.
In zones seven through ten, this shrub is an evergreen. It does need full to partial sunlight and can reach heights of around fifteen feet. Until it reaches maturity, loropetalum grows around one foot per year.
9. Diablo Ninebark
Diablo ninebark is an interesting shrub to add to your landscape. It’s known as a “black plant” because of how dark the shrub’s foliage is. The leaves are so dark they almost appear black.
If you’d like this unique plant around your home, be sure to plant it in full to partial sunlight. This shrub is hardy in planting zones two through seven and can reach heights between eight and ten feet. This shrub can become full-grown in only a couple of years, but they handle pruning well.
Forsythia is one of my favorite shrubs because of the stunning show it puts on in the early part of spring. It’s one of the first bushes to bloom each year. During this time of year, the plant will explode with golden blooms.
These shrubs require full to partial sunlight. They’re also hardy in planting zones five through eight. Forsythia bushes grow around two feet per year and reach heights of eight to ten feet. If you need privacy and color, this could be a great option for you.
11. Pussy Willow
Pussy willow reminds most people of a cat because of the fuzzy, white blooms this shrub produces. It’s another early bloomer and will typically bloom earlier than the forsythia bush.
If you’d like this classic shrub as part of your landscape, ensure you plant it in full to partial sunlight. Also, be sure you’re in planting zones four through eight as this is its hardy location. Pussy willow can grow to be fifteen feet or taller, and it grows a few feet per year.
You frequently hear of people growing elderberry bushes for their produce. The fruits are typically used to create syrups thought to be delicious and good for your health.
However, elderberry bushes can also be used to provide privacy in a living hedge. They reach mature heights ranging between six and twelve feet and can reach these heights in as little as three years. These shrubs will bloom in spring and are hardy in planting zones three through seven.
13. Cherry Laurel
Cherry laurel is another fast-growing shrub as it can grow up to three feet in a single year, if planted in the right conditions. At maturity, this shrub will reach about twenty feet in height.
Many enjoy this plant because it has evergreen foliage and produces white blooms during the spring. It’s also hardy in planting zones six through eight. If you choose to grow this plant, be sure to place it in a location with full to partial sunlight.
Hydrangeas are an interesting choice for a living fence. They’re known for producing beautifully colored blooms during the warmer portions of the year. However, during the cooler portions, they lose their blooms and foliage.
Though you wouldn’t receive privacy from them all year, they still make a gorgeous addition to your landscape. Plus, they’re versatile as they’re hardy in planting zones three through ten. Hydrangea bushes grow to be around fifteen feet tall and grow an average of two feet per year.
15. Burning Bush
Burning bush gets its name because of the bright red leaves the shrub displays during the fall. It’s hardy in planting zones four through eight and prefers full sunlight. This shrub usually grows to be four to eight feet tall and can grow two feet per year.
Though burning bush is fast growing, you must be careful where you plant this shrub. It’s known for becoming invasive. Take these tips into consideration when deciding if burning bush is the right plant for you.
The cotoneaster shrub is known for its stiff, full brush. It’s also recognizable by its beautiful red berries. If you’d like to grow this bush as a privacy hedge, be sure to look at all the varieties offered. You should choose a taller variety as this will provide more privacy around your home.
Cotoneaster can grow to be five to seven feet tall, depending upon variety. The shrubs also grow around one foot per year. When you know this is the right selection for you, be sure to plant the shrub in full sunlight. Also, ensure you’re in planting zones five through seven as this is where the shrub is hardy.
Beautyberry is another shrub which grows extremely fast. It usually grows about a foot per year and reaches a mature height of around ten feet. This plant can handle a hard prune in the early part of spring.
In fact, this is known to increase the production of red berries the shrub grows in the fall. Beautyberry is hardy in planting zones five through seven and grows well in full to partial sunlight.
This tree is a hybrid plant. It’s a cross between an Alaskan cedar and a Monterey cypress. It’s known for becoming rather unruly due to how quickly it grows. However, as long as you prune it regularly, you should be able to keep the plant under control.
Be advised, this plant can grow as much as three feet in a year. If left unattended, it can grow to be over 60 feet tall! It’s hardy in planting zones six through ten and prefers to grow in full to partial sunlight.
Lilacs are another classic shrub that many people enjoy in their landscape. They’re mostly enjoyed for their beautiful and fragrant blooms. You should grow lilacs in an area where they’ll receive full sunlight.
They also do best in planting zones three through seven. The lilac bush can reach a mature height of around twelve feet and grows a foot per year. Take these tips into consideration when deciding if this classic shrub has a place around your garden.
20. Mock Orange
The mock orange shrub is notable for its white blooms and delicious scent. Though the plant doesn’t produce any fruit, it’s called mock orange because it smells of oranges. If you choose to add mock orange to your landscape, be sure to grow it in planting zones four through eight.
You should also plant this bush where it will receive full to partial sunlight. Once mature, mock orange will reach heights around ten feet tall. Until then, this shrub should grow approximately two feet per year.
Our final fast-growing shrub is privet. When you think of a traditional privacy hedge, this is the plant you most likely think of. Not only is privet a fast grower, it’s also easy to prune. The plant produces more than privacy. It also blooms and produces fruit through winter.
You may grow privet in planting zones five through eight, but ensure you plant in a location that receives full to partial sunlight. Privet ranges in height from four to fifteen feet tall once it reaches maturity. This plant will also grow around two feet per year until it reaches its mature state.
This concludes our list of fast-growing shrubs that are great for increasing privacy around your home. It’s important to ensure you pick a shrub (or small tree) that fits well into your planting zone.
You should also look at your growing space to ensure you can meet the plant’s lighting needs. Look at this list and find which plants work for your location. Then start adding natural beauty and privacy around your home.