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The Best Hedging Plants: Our Ultimate Guide (Part 5)

A Lavender Hedge - one of the best hedging plants

We are moving on with our exhaustive list of the best hedging plants with a much-loved favourite:

French lavender flowering low hedge plant

If you would like create a multipurpose garden hedge, then why not have a look using French lavender (Lavandula dentate).   Not only is it an easy care plant to use as a hedge, it has pretty purple flowers, and the foliage creates a beautiful perfume!  

The foliage can be dried to create a homemade air freshener.  French lavender can be used to create hedges from 70cm to around 1.2m tall.    Plants flower freely for around 9 months of the year.   

In regard to pruning and shaping this plant, it is probably better to only prune French lavender a few times a year, to keep it compact. French lavender is not really suited to being a neatly trimmed hedge.  The best time to prune is after each flowering.  

Best climates are cool temperate, temperate and some warm temperate regions.   Lavenders do not like regions with extended periods of high humidity, as plants can get mildew.   Best soils are loams, sandy loams and even sandy soils.  Grow your French lavender in full sun.  

French lavender is one of the best lavender plants to use as a hedge.   French lavender (Lavandula dentate) is a very hardy and long lived lavender, which responds well to pruning.   The plant also flowers very well, with a long flowering period.

Pests are not usually a problem with French lavender.   Due to the nature of this plant pest insects are not attracted too it, or will feed on it (thankfully, bees and other good insects are attracted to French lavender flowers).

The only pest issues which may develop are mildews.   Mildews tend to develop during extended wet periods or extended humid periods.  It is not normally worth treating the mildew as it is weather-related, plants usually recover when conditions improve.  

Plants in shady spots tend to get fungal problems like mildew, so make sure you plant your French lavender in full sun.    

French lavenders are drought tolerant plants that prefer being planted in well drained soil.   Fertilise is spring with a general purpose fertiliser, or use a slow release fertiliser.

Tall growing Bougainvillea hedge plants

You really can’t talk about the best hedging plants and ignore the vibrant bougainvillea.

If you are trying to create a hedge that flowers and is almost impenetrable, then a tall growing Bougainvillea could be just the plant for you.

The traditional large growing Bougainvillea has large tall growing canes and long sharp thorns.  In the warmer periods of the year you will get attractive flowers.  

This plant requires some thought and research before planting, as it does have some drawbacks:

  1. When grown as a hedge Bougainvillea can grow very large and will need a lot of space, plants can grow around 5m tall and 3 to 4m wide
  2. Due to the fast growth of Bougainvilleas they will need pruning regularly.   You can keep this plant down to around 2m tall, but it needs constant pruning to keep it that way
  3. Because Bougainvillea have thorns, pruning them can be a very hurtful experience, plus they are not much fun to run into in the middle of the night!
  4. In areas which get cool winters, most of the larger growing varieties will lose their leaves in winter to some extent. However, in locations with warm winters Bougainvillea plants do not lose their leaves in the colder months
  5. Larger growing Bougainvilleas will need trellis support to establish, but once they are established they will stand on their own.

Unless you prune them regularly, the large growing Bougainvilleas are best suited to large blocks or acreages.  The great asset of these plants is the flowers, bougainvillea plants look fantastic when in full flower, which is most of the year in the climates they grow well.  

Bougainvillea plants grow in Tropical, subtropical, warm temperate and temperate climates.  Bougainvillea are affected by heavy frosts in winter, and will lose leaves, but normally will regenerate in spring.

Pests are not usually a problem with Bougainvillea, however, Curl grubs can eat out the roots.  When Bougainvillea plants do struggle it is generally due to bad positioning and or Curl grubs eating out the roots.   

Bougainvillea plants do not generally need fertilisers (unless grown in sandy soils) and are usually drought tolerant, except for the worst of droughts.  

A red bougainvillea hedge - one of the best hedging plants.

Dwarf growing “Bambino” bougainvillea low hedge

In our opinion this is a great low growing, flowering, hedge plant.  Bougainvillea “Bambino” (pbr) is a type of low growing, dwarf Bougainvillea that makes a great low hedge.

 Generally the plant only grows to around 1.5m tall.   Flowers are produced on the outer stems and are usually quite vivid in colour, purples, reds, pinks and shades of these colours. 

“Bambino” (pbr) Bougainvillea grow more like a shrub than a vine and can be grown without a trellising system (when grown free standing).  This has great advantages when growing them as a hedge, as you can plant them like a shrub.  Plants also knit well together, as the branches over-lap once established.   

Most Bougainvillea “Bambino” hedges are grown from 60cm to around 1m high.    One draw-back to this plant are the thorns, however there are not many of them and they are usually small.   There are many varieties of “Bambino” on the market, check with your local nurseryman. 

In regard to growing your “Bambino” hedge, they do not need as much pruning as their larger growing cousins.  Generally plants only need pruning a few times a year (once the hedge has been established).   Pruning is best done after flowering.   

In regard to growing conditions and care, full sun positions are best.  Best soils are any well drained soil. 

Best climates are tropical, subtropical, warm temperate and temperate regions.  Plants will lose their leaves in winter to some extent in temperate climate regions. 

Pests are not usually a problem with “Bambino” however they can get mildew in some regions and Curl grubs around the root system.   Fertiliser may be needed in the first couple of years to get the plants started,  but after that, they do not need much fertiliser.   

Bougainvillea “Bambino” is quite a hardy plant and is drought tolerant, except for the worst droughts.

Are you interested in cultivating Metrosideros plants? If so, read our article on Growing Metrosideros Hedging Plants.

Golden Diosma low colourful hedge plant

There may be a time in your gardening life when you wish to create a hedge with a bit of visual impact.   If you are seeking a plant that is easy to care for, but looks neat, colourful and refined, then the Golden Diosma (Coleonema pulchellum aurea) may be one of the best hedging plants for you.  

Golden Diosma hedges are best suited to formal looking gardens as (although they could be used in any style you like) they create a very straight edged, neat looking hedge.  

However, if you want to avoid a traditional rectangle shaped hedge you can always shape Golden Diosma with a rounded effect.   Golden Diosma plants have tiny leaves, which makes them very easy to hedge into all sorts of shapes.  

The best feature of the Golden Diosma (Coleonema pulchellum aurea),  is the fantastic golden foliage.  Unlike a lot of colourful foliage plants Golden Diosma maintains a golden hue throughout the whole year.  This made it one of the most purchased plants for gardens, particularly in the 1980’s.  

Although Golden Diosma was a very popular choice in gardens thirty years ago (almost to the point of tedium), they are making a comeback and for good reason.   Golden Diosma plants make excellent hedges, they are refined, dependable, drought tolerant and frost hardy in most climates with mild winters.   

Golden Diosma hedges are normally grown to under 1m in height. with most being around 60cm tall.  Diosma plants grow best in a well drained soil, avoid heavy clay soils if possible.   The best light conditions are full sun.  

Golden Diosma plants are particularly hardy once established and do not need much fertiliser under good conditions.  In regard to growing climates, Diosma plants grow well in most temperate and Mediterranean climates with mild winters, they will also grow in some subtropical areas, but they will develop a few mildew issues if the humidity is constantly high.  

Diosma plants will need regular pruning to keep a neat hedge, however, they are very easy to hedge and a rechargeable electric hedging tool is perfect to give them a light trim now and then. 

In regard to care and fertilising of your Golden Diosma hedge it is pretty straight forward.   Plant them fairly close together, so the hedge knits well.  Water them well for the first 6 months.  The best planting time is late winter and early spring.  

You can prune your Diosma plants at any time of year, but avoid pruning them if the soil is extremely dry, as this can damage the plant.   If you would like to do any hard pruning, it is best done in late winter or early spring.    Plants start flowering in late winter, so if you would like to have some flowers stop any pruning in late autumn.   

Golden Diosma usually stop flowering by late spring.  Fertilise in spring and, if necessary, you can fertilise again in mid autumn.   You can apply any general purpose NPK garden fertiliser on Diosma plants, just spread around the root zone. 

Pests are not normally an issue with Golden Diosma plants, they can get mildew in extend wet periods and the odd caterpillar.  “Curl grubs” may be an issue in some areas near bushland.  

Most Golden Diosma plants usually die due to bad root development, so plant them with some good soil mix to get them started and use slow release fertiliser.  Golden Diosma plants usually live around 15 years and longer.

To see how effective Golden Diosma can be when planted in the right environment, see here.

A diosma plant - one of the best hedging plants

Pink Diosma tall growing hedge

There is a larger growing pink Diosma which is suitable for taller hedges of around 1.5m tall.  It is Coleonema pulchellum, or common pink Diosma, it has been grown as a garden shrub for many years.  

Although it does not have the great compact habit of the dwarf variety, or the interesting foliage colour of the Golden Diosma, it still makes a hardy hedge.   It would be used in situations where you would like a medium screen or hedge, but are not looking for something too fancy.   

Common Pink Diosma has one particular advantage – it is a very tough plant once established and has no major pest issues. Clearly, these are both winning attributes when looking for the best hedging plants.

As a shrub Coleonema pulchellum Pink Diosma, grows to around two metres tall and around the same wide.  It grows quite quickly and needs regular pruning to keep a neat hedge. It has the disadvantage of having fairly sparse foliage compared to the other varieties, but regular trimming seems to improve the foliage cover. 

Common Pink Diosma does have flowers in spring, but the flowering is not spectacular.  This variety is often used in situations where the property owner is looking for something with soft foliage requiring little maintenance, for example, like a block of units or rental property.  It is commonly used to screen a fence or brick wall as it grows to around the right height. 

Best climates for Pink Diosma are temperate and Mediterranean climates. Best growing conditions are full sun in a well drained soil. Common Pink Diosma is drought and frost tolerant.

To care for your Pink Diosma hedge, plant them well with some good planting mix and use some slow release fertiliser.  You may need to stake them as they can blow over in strong winds, once established no staking is required (remove stake after about a year).  

These plants grow quite quickly in almost any soil, but need good drainage.   Fertilising in spring will enhance growth and help create a good root system. 

Pests are not really an issue with Pink Diosma, once again they may get “Curl grubs” but they don’t normally have much of an impact on this variety.  Pink Diosma is a native plant of South Africa and lives around 20 years.

Dwarf pink Diosma low & small flowering hedge

Dwarf pink Diosma is an excellent little hedge to grow in temperate and Mediterranean gardens.  

Most Dwarf pink Diosma (compactum or compacta) are grown to around 50cm tall as a hedge. They are compact, tight growing little plants, with fine small foliage and bright pink flowers in spring, all of which makes them perfect for low hedges.  

There is also a very similar growing Diosma usually called nana rubrum and many times they get mixed up (especially without tags), it has slightly darker foliage and darker flowers.   Both plants make great hedges in full sun situations.  

Best soils for the dwarf diosma are well drained, they do not require a particularly fertile soil and can grow with very little fertiliser.  Dwarf pink diosma are considered drought and frost tolerant once established.  Avoid heavy clay soils for best results.   

Dwarf diosma plants can be pruned regularly if you require, however, due to the fact that they are so compact many gardeners leave them unpruned.  Plenty of pretty pink flowers develop in late winter or early spring.  The flowering generally only lasts for around 6 weeks.

To care for your Dwarf Diosma hedge, plant them fairly close together as they are small plants and can take awhile to knit nicely.  

Prune at any time of year, however, if you wish to get flowers in spring stop pruning by mid autumn. Avoid pruning during extended hot dry periods as stems can die back.   A rechargeable electric hedge trimmer is perfect for pruning these little hedges.  

Water well to establish a good root system and fertilise in spring and autumn.   Fertilise with any general purpose NPK fertiliser.

This is the end of Part 5 of our extensive list of the Best Hedging Plants. Please see below for the other sections.


The Best Hedging Plants: Our Ultimate Guide (Part 1)

The Best Hedging Plants: Our Ultimate Guide (Part 2)

The Best Hedging Plants: Our Ultimate Guide (Part 3)

The Best Hedging Plants: Our Ultimate Guide (Part 4)

The Best Hedging Plants: Our Ultimate Guide (Part 6)

The Best Hedging Plants: Our Ultimate Guide (Part 7)

Tips for Growing Garden Hedges

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