What fast-growing evergreen hedge plants grow best in the UK? In fact, there are several trees and shrubs that are either evergreen or deciduous, including the grass variety, bamboo. Let’s take a look at top 6 hedging plants that are preferred by gardeners and homeowners.
(The article on All you need to know about Selecting Bamboos for Hedging and Screening also provides additional information on the different bamboo plants. Check out the link in the article)
Are bamboos fast-growing evergreen hedge plants?
Bamboos are not the only fast-growing hedge plants. The other fast-growing shrubs for hedging and privacy screening are shown in the table.
Some hedging shrubs are evergreen and retain their foliage all year round, while the others are deciduous and lose their leaves in Autumn. Many of the hedging trees and shrubs require pruning and mulching to provide neat covers or they’ll grow tall uncontrollably.
Bamboos are fast-growing, if not the fastest, among the hedging and screening plants. In addition, the bamboos are a standout because they come in different varieties.
We will identify what makes bamboos a good option for hedging, but first, let’s compare the growth rate of 6 common hedging shrubs and trees in the UK.
6 fast-growing evergreen hedge plants
Most hedging plants are evergreen except Beech which loses its leaves in Autumn. The beech tree has tightly packed branches that still provide the hedging cover in Autumn and Winter, except for the greenery.
Of the 6 plants, bamboo is the only grass variety among the fast-growing evergreen hedging plants.
Growth rate (per year)
2 – 5 ft or 60 - 150cm
2 - 3 ft or 60 - 90cm
Photinia Red Robin
0.5 – 1 ft or 15 - 30cm
Western Red Cedar
1 – 2 ft or 30 - 60cm
0.5 – 1.5 ft or 15 - 45cm
1 – 2 ft or 30 – 60cm per year Deciduous trees
Check out the YouGarden Collections of hedging plants. (Affiliate link)
Source: RHS, Woodland Trust, et all.
Why use bamboos as a hedging plant?
The bamboos are a group of special hedging plants. They will grow fast, reach a certain height and remain evergreen for many years. They have been used extensively in modern landscaping and garden designs to great effects.
Growing at 2 – 5 ft or 60 – 150cm per year, bamboo is the option for quick hedging. It is fast-growing, evergreen and stands out as the only grass plant for hedging.
There are, in fact, many varieties of clumping and running bamboos that are suitable for both home and garden hedging.
Furthermore, these plants come in various sizes, shapes and colours perfect for tall and short hedges. You can trim some bamboos to give a neat hedge while others may not require any trimming at all.
What are the best bamboo plants for hedging?
Although the running bamboo plants are invasive, growing them in contain structures or pots and containers are ideal containment measures. Alternatively, choose the clumping bamboos as they are the better options for dense hedges.
So, if you are looking for a better alternative to the common trees and shrubs and other hedging plants, why not try bamboos?
We cover the different types of bamboos and how to select them in this All You Need to Know Guide. The guide has six guided questions that will lead you to the right bamboo depending on your preferences. So, check it out and download the PDF version too.
Where to buy bamboo for hedging?
We work with some big UK’s home and garden brands. Check out the links to go straight to their website where you can find out their bamboo collections and get more information.
Bamboo Plants and Supplies
Fargesia Bamboo Plants
Black, Green & Yellow Bamboo Plants
Bamboo-based Eco Products
Best Hand Tools for Digging Bamboo
Phyllostachys Bamboo Plants
Pros and cons of bamboo hedge plants
As a grass variety, bamboos have slim culms, tall, slender and tend to grow in masses providing dense evergreen foliage covers all year round.
But, the running bamboo varieties are invasive and spread very quickly putting out lots of shoots and rhizomes every year. This is probably one of the major reasons why many homeowners and gardeners do not want to grow bamboo hedges.
Many homeowners who inherited bamboo may find it overwhelming to control the bamboo. These neglected bamboos will require a lot of work to remove. They are like a rowdy toddler if you neglect them. However, the pros of growing bamboo far outweigh the cons.
Bamboo plants are formidable hedges. You have to select them carefully, choose the ideal site and care for them as they grow just like the other hedging plants.
How to grow a bamboo hedge?
Clumping bamboos will need spacing of less than a metre in between them. As the clumpers grow, they’ll cover the spaces and provide a formidable hedge. The clumpers are perfect for low hedges. You’ll have to buy enough clumping bamboo to give you a good hedge or alternatively split the bamboo to give you enough.
The running bamboos will spread and ultimately form a dense hedge within 2 to 3 years and reach matured height in 10 to 20 years. So, space them out at least a metre to 1.5 metres apart.
Reassuringly, you do not have to worry about how far to space them. Once the bamboos grow, you can then move them around to cover the gaps.
Before planting bamboo, whether it’s a runner or clumper, you should build a barrier especially when growing them as hedging plants. This is an important measure because as they grow, they’ll either spread (runners spread) or expand (clumpers expand).
Barriers can be root barriers, trenches, raised beds or contained structures – any that works for you.
Care for bamboo hedges
As mentioned earlier, not all bamboos will require trimming. They grow to a certain height (called the matured height) and remain that way for 10 – 20 years. Whereas other bamboos can be pruned to give a neat appearance.
Either way, it boils down to selecting the right bamboo that suits you.
The common bamboo care and maintenance include:
- dig a trench, and
- build boot barrier.
More details on How to Care for Your Bamboo here.
Fast-growing evergreen hedge plants
All in all, bamboos are among the 6 fast-growing hedge plants in the UK. They are at the top of the group of evergreen hedging plants and come in various shapes, sizes and colours.
They will require some care and attention as they grow. If you want a quick hedge, bamboos are definitely an option.