If you desire a dense privacy screen all year round, then fast growing shrubs are the answer for you. They are the ideal privacy hedges as well as windbreakers that will reduce ambient noise levels and block unwanted sights. Be careful though, as only evergreen shrubs will be all year round the deciduous shrubs will fade away during the off season, but the deciduous shrubs provide the extra advantage of attractive flowers and enhance the beauty of our landscape.
This article will give you a list of the best fast-growing shrubs out there and important information about their care and maintenance.
12 Recommended Fast Growing Shrubs
There are 180 species of honeysuckle, of which about 20 native species occur in Europe while 100 occur in China. The honeysuckle is a shrub suited to hardiness zones from 4-9. The honeysuckle in spring bloom has pink/white/yellow flowers that have a strong fragrance along with red berries in winter.
Maintenance: The shrubs should be planted with a distance of 3 feet between them for ideal growth. The honeysuckle grows rapidly, so cutting/ pruning is recommended semi-annually.
These fast growing shrubs provide colorful flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds alike. They are not ideal in terms of privacy, but they have an extremely fast growth rate.
Maintenance: Butterfly bush don’t require any specific soil, do not need much sunlight and will be susceptible to only a few pests or diseases. They can be rather messy and need to be cut into shape. Butterfly bush can seed itself so be sure to pull out the root of seedlings to prevent excessive growth.
Nellie Stevens Holly
The Nellie Stevens Holly with its bright red berries provides you with an attractive fast growing shrub option that the birds love. They can reach a height of 30 feet.
Maintenance: They are low maintenance with a little care required. They don’t require much pruning except if you want to curtail growth. Their natural pyramid shape is beautiful. Full sun with a slightly acidic soil is what they desire.
The forsythia is a springtime delight with their tallow flowers. They grow incredibly fast and give color at a time when everything else is still brown. They are planted with ease and can grow about 2 feet a year both in length and in width.
Maintenance: They like full sunlight and aren’t particularly fussy about the soil. They can handle pollution well and don’t require much watering. Their hardiness and resilience has made them a favorite of city planners to plant alongside highways across the world.
Amongst the fast growing shrubs the Leyland Cypress hold its own. These evergreen natives of North America can reach heights 60 feet with a growth of 4 feet per year. They tend to grow more vertically than spread horizontally. They should be planted at a distance of 6 feet from each other to form a privacy shrub. You must prune them carefully to grow them into shrubs instead of trees.
Maintenance: Aggressive pruning is required each year to check their high rate of growth. Their natural shape "I" is desired by most growers. The Leyland Cypress should not be planted in dense residential areas as it can become intrusive to your neighbors.
The privet is a Japanese shrub that is ideal for privacy. It grows at a fast rate and can reach heights of 8-10 feet with widths of 5-7 feet. It grows in hardiness zones 7 to 11. The Japanese privet has small white fragrant flowers and green leaves.
Maintenance: Be careful when selecting varieties as some like the Ligustrum sinense tend to become invasive due to their high level of seed production. These shrubs demand sunlight and should be shaped by shearing. Plant them 3 feet apart for best results.
Rose of Sharon
The Rose of Sharon is a flowering shrub that is hardy and can withstand a lot and is relatively easy to grow. In bloom it has flowers that are white, blue, purple and pink. During midsummer, these flowers can grow from 2 to 4 inches. These multicolored flowers of different sizes make for a beautiful sight. The hedge does look pretty indeed.
Maintenance: The hardiness zones recommended are 5-9 with a height of 6-12 feet in a vase shape, having a maximum width of 10 feet. These shrubs should be planted with a gap of 5 feet for a dense privacy hedge. The Rose of Sharon is a tough and hardy shrub that can tolerate both drought and salt.
The ideal conditions for growth would require plenty of sunlight and good drainage though being a hardy shrub it can grow in less than ideal conditions as well.
The Cotoneaster is a shrub that grows fast and has berries. It has stiff and dense branching that gives it an overall bristly look. The stems shoot off in a herringbone pattern and the look is quite hard. This look however is softened when the berries appear and their red color attracts all the attention.
The Redtwig Dogwood is a fast growing shrub that has an appealing bark. It has a fast rate of growth, but in winter time its leaves, berries and flowers are all gone. Even when it has lost all its features the most prominent and beautiful feature remains, which is its sticking bark. Its bark mixed with the cool winter landscape even snow gives this shrub a beautiful look in the winter months which few other shrubs can match.
The Mock Orange is a fast growing shrub that has a beautiful fragrance (though some species grow very slow, so it's better to ask your local nursery before making the purchase). This fragrant bush has been named for what it isn’t than for what it is as the term Mock suggests. It is not an orange, but the smell of its white flowers is citrus like and it adds to the beauty of any landscape. You can grow them in walkway , driveway, or patio.
The Beautyberry is a large shrub that makes for a beautiful sight in your garden. Beauty berry is a fast growing shrub that has fruits growing on it. It should preferably be pruned within a foot from the ground early in the springtime. It will have a luscious new growth and be laden with berries by the time fall comes.
Western Red Cedar
The Western Red Cedar is one of the fast growing shrubs that are evergreen. It needs to be pruned consistently or it can grow up to 80 feet. Most people go for compact varieties of this shrub that do not exceed heights of 20 feet but even then, running/ cutting are required.
The western red cedar has scale like leaves that are soft. They prosper in hardiness zones 5-10 with lots of sunlight. One key trick to reduce their height is to plant them close together. This way there is root competition and overall height can decrease. Though this is a hardy bush that requires only a little care. It is advisable to plant it away from areas that are exposed to salt.