What Is The Best Low Maintenance Hedge
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- Low Maintenance Hedge, Plants, Choisya
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Which Plants for a low-maintenance hedge?
Most people believe that maintaining beautiful hedges requires hours of laborious care. However, not all hedges are alike, and certain species of hedge plants are relatively easy to look after.
If you plan things right and choose the right plants, your hedge may just be able to look after itself. Typically, this means choosing a slow-growing hedge that doesn't require that much pruning is possibly the easiest way to go.
The lowest-maintenance hedges are those you allow to simply flower and live as they like, which suits the aesthetic of wildlife gardens or informal hedges. However, low maintenance doesn't have to mean wild and disorderly.
Again, slow-growing plant species such as English holly can be kept in good order with light pruning a couple of times per year. This means you can leave them to grow for the majority of the time without worry for a loose hedge.
Alongside choosing a slow-growing and easily maintainable hedge species, your pruning technique is another way to help keep things low-maintenance.
You can start by keeping your hedge at a manageable height; typically, no higher than two metres is best. Selecting hedging plants that grow outwards rather than upwards will also help with this, as the latter will be much harder to prune.
Choisya is a fantastic, low-maintenance hedge species also known as "Mexican Orange Blossom". It can grow in almost any condition, whether in full sunshine or in partial shade and doesn't need any specific soil conditions or drainage to grow healthily.
Many varieties such as "Sundance" or "Aztec Pearl" are especially hard-wearing and drought-tolerant. They typically have glossy, evergreen foliage the year round, with narrow leaves throughout the year and produce sweet, citrus-scented flowers during the spring and late summer to attract wildlife.
Choisya only requires a light trim to keep it in the desired shape you want, which is ideal for the best low-maintenance hedges. Keeping to the height restrictions mentioned above, this species only grows to between 1.5 to 2 metres (5 to 6.5 feet), making it easy to keep on top of. If you want a robust hedge that will take care of itself and only requires easy pruning, the Choisya is the one for you.
Varieties of Berberis, such as Berberis thunbergii, are very slow-growing plants that produce some beautifully coloured hedges for an easily maintained and decorative garden border. For a truly colourful hedge, you might consider the Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea variety, which has purple foliage, yellow flowers that bloom in the early spring and glossy red berries that hang throughout the rest of the year.
While Berberis is a brilliant way to add some colour to your hedges, they are also very easy to care for and prune. Of course, it's your hedge, and you can let it grow however you like. However, if you want your Berberis to remain in some kind of controlled shape, you can lightly prune the plant every so often to keep it within the desired shape - they don't require any serious landscaping.
You can choose from both evergreen and deciduous varieties of Berberis for your hedges, depending on how long you want your foliage to last. The most popular of the evergreen variety is the darwinii, while the "Harlequin" is the most popular of the deciduous Berberis. The latter has beautiful purple leaves framed with cream-coloured edges.
Holly is another fantastic evergreen species you might consider for your hedges. They are also available in a variety of leaf-colour intensities, from deep, glossy greens to variegated leaves and bright greens. The spiny leaves also offer a protective element to a holly hedge to deter intruders, while the bright red berries offer a little decoration alongside the added security.
While holly can form a thick hedge, it only requires a little pruning during the summer months to keep it in check, given how slowly it grows. It's also an incredibly robust plant, being able to survive in part shade or direct sunlight, whether it's in moist or well-drained soil; holly can happily live in good or poor ground conditions.
However, if you live in a rural area, you might want to install a rabbit guard around the trunks of your holly hedge as it starts to grow. Rabbits have a fondness for holly, so if you're already struggling with controlling them in your garden, this is the best way to ensure your holly grows properly. The holly itself has a fondness for growing in colder climates compared to warmer ones.
The cryptomeria conifer is another slow-grower that is very easy to look after with minimal pruning. The "Globosa Nana" is a dwarf cultivar of the Cryptomeria japonica that is the perfect choice for those looking for an attractive hedge with evergreen foliage.
Cryptomeria is a strange one in that it actually enjoys growing in a little bit of shade, which helps it produce some truly rich colours in its leaves. Another peculiarity of this conifer is that it enjoys growing in moist soil that drains well, which is fairly specific compared to other hedge species that will grow anywhere.
However, most garden soils in the UK have this quality, so you shouldn't worry. It is also interesting that in the late winter months, the foliage of the tall and tree-like cryptomeria will turn a brown or copper colour.
Yew hedges have all the qualities you want from a low-maintenance species. It grows slowly, is incredibly tough, is resistant to insects and disease, and can thrive in bright sunlight or partial shade. Yew hedges can also be cut into formal shapes with pruning, given the bushy, dense and dark evergreen foliage. As an evergreen, leaves on yew hedges form fine needles, and it also produces red berries.
When you plant your yew hedge, be sure that there is ample drainage in the soil since yew as a species hates being stuck in wet soil. One thing you will have to keep your eye on is the height of the hedge, given that yew can grow to be very tall.
Yew hedges can grow as high as 15 metres (49 feet), which is great for large gardens with long borders but not for others. You may need to give it a hard pruning during the late spring or early summer to keep your yew hedge in shape.
Another thing to remember is that the red berries that yew hedges produce, along with their foliage, are poisonous, so if you have pets or young children, you will have to be extremely careful. Additionally, while the yew is native to Europe, Turkey and Iran, it can struggle to grow in hot climates and prefers cooler atmospheres. This dense hedge is perfect for those who like a formal and orderly garden.
By now, you can probably guess the qualities osmanthus hedges have to make them good, low-maintenance hedging plants.
Two varieties, the Osmanthus burkwoodii and the Osmanthus delavayi, are the best choices, given that they are slow-growing evergreen plants that produce beautifully fragrant white flowers in spring. It will also grow well either in the sun or in the shade and is easily trimmed.
Technically the osmanthus is a popular evergreen shrub with tough, sharp leaves similar to those you'd find on a holly bush. Osmanthus burkwoodii is particularly robust and can handle most environments and survive with only limited pruning to keep it in shape.
It won't grow too wild if you forget to prune it as it grows incredibly slowly, so it is easy to keep it in the shape you want.
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