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How to Plan a Flowering Hedge

More really is more when it comes to flowers! If you’ve got the space, a line of bountifully blooming shrubs can quickly transform an area from bland to grand. Flowering hedges are perfect for sidewalk edges, the front of the border, disguising fencing, and just about any other place or application you can dream up!   

Contributors: Kristina Howley

Plant Selection

What kind of feeling or style are you hoping a flowering hedge will bring to your garden? Consider this carefully before committing a large amount of space and time to new plants. We have a few plant suggestions to get you started! Click the plant name to visit its page and learn all about it.

 

Trim and tidy

Choose a plant that is naturally rounded and compact, but can be pruned to shape if necessary. Flowers that grow close to the foliage will help maintain the tidy appearance.

Yuki Cherry Blossom® Deutzia (pictured) 1-2 ft. tall and wide – USDA zones 5-8

Snippet® Dark Pink Weigela 1-2 ft. tall and wide – USDA zones 4-8

 

Easy elegance

Go with a garden favorite and plant a number of them!


Oso Easy Double Red® landscape rose (pictured) 3-4 ft. tall and wide – USDA zones 4-9

Scentara Pura® Lilac 4-6 ft. tall and wide – USDA zones 2-8

 

Wonderfully wild

These plants are often tall with a unique habit that doesn’t need to be pruned. They bloom for a long time and are great for gardeners who love low maintenance wow factor.

White Pillar® Rose of Sharon (pictured) 10-16 ft. tall and 2-3 ft. wide – USDA zones 5-9

Center Stage® Red Crapemyrtle  6-12 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide – USDA zones 7-9

 

Classic and cute
This is the middle of the Venn diagram where well-loved plants meet those with compact habits. Small plants are naturally cute, but blanket them in timeless blooms and they’re irresistible!


Oso Easy® Petit Pink Landscape Rose (pictured) 1.5-2.5 ft. tall and 2.5-3.5 ft. wide – USDA zones 4-9

Invincibelle Wee White® Smooth Hydrangea  1-2.5 ft. tall and wide – USDA zones 3-8

 

Breathtakingly bold

Big plants with abundant, showy blooms are surefire successes. These plantings will be spotted and enjoyed even at 50 miles per hour!


Zinfin Doll® Panicle Hydrangea (pictured) 4.5-6 ft. tall and wide – USDA zones 3-8

Sonic Bloom® Pink reblooming Weigela 4-5 ft. tall and wide – USDA zones 4-8

 

Native and natural

Many native plants have handsome informal habits and support local wildlife and pollinators, which just adds to the show!

Low Scape Hedger® Aronia (pictured) 3-5 ft. tall and 2-3 ft. wide – USDA zones 3-9

Sugartina® 'Crystalina' Summersweet  2.5-3 ft. tall and wide – USDA zones 4-9

 

Planting

The most important consideration when planting is spacing: the distance between the centers of each plant. Use the plant’s mature width range to help inform your spacing choice. (For example, Limelight Prime® panicle hydrangea’s width/spread is 4-5 ft.) If you’d like a solid hedge with few gaps, go with the smaller end of the spacing recommendation. If you’re content to wait for your hedge to mature or want a more informal, loose look, go with the larger end of the spacing recommendation.

Use the same method for planting your hedge as you would with any other shrub. Check out our how-to article for advice.

 

Maintenance
Water – A lot of new plants means a lot of watering. First, we recommend applying a 2-3” deep layer of mulch under the entire planting, this will help retain moisture as well as keep weeds at bay. Plan to check the soil every few days and water thoroughly by hand in the morning. Drip hosing or irrigation could be helpful to get your new hedge established its first year, and for subsequent years if rainfall is irregular.

Pruning – Your pruning regimen depends a lot on the plant you’ve selected and what type of look you’d like for your hedge. Some gardeners enjoy a formal, trimmed look to their hedging, while others would like a more natural, carefree look. If you’re a clipped hedge kind of gardener, be sure to take note whether your shrubs bloom on old or new wood and when they flower. This way you can work around their needs to ensure your flowering hedge does indeed produce flowers.

 

Check out the following pruning articles to learn more about pruning shrubs in general:

Why Prune

When is the Best Time to Prune

How to Prune

Learn more about shrub care

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