Native vs. Non-Native Species

Knowing which specific species are native can be tricky when you're not a plant guru, so we're here to make it easy for you by listing a majority of the most popular plants off!

Native Hedging Plants

There is a mixture of evergreen and deciduous native species, however, you will notice that deciduous is most definitely more common.

That being said, here's some of the most popular native hedging plants that are used widely in many gardens and landscapes...

1. Ilex Aquifolium (English Holly)

English Holly is well-known for its classically prickly, glossy, deep-green leaves and red berries, which add an attractive interest to the bush during winter. 

The dense, prickly leaves are ideal where a privacy screen or security barrier is needed, as well as being effectively pollution-resistant and a windbreaker. 

It's loved for it's ability to look brilliant year-round, with welcomes shades of colour and winter coverage during the much colder months- you may even notice some small, white flowers during spring! Native birds also love to use Holly as a shelter during winter, and the red berries provide the perfect feast for them. So it will even provide plenty of wildlife interest, too!

English Holly

3. English Yew (Taxus baccata)

English Yew is a charming evergreen plant that will provide bold levels of colour in your garden, along with the major benefits of privacy, windbreak, and noise break. It is the perfect hedge for small and large gardens, just the same.

Yew will also express small red fruits in Autumn, which look very attractive and the birds love to enjoy- but please note they are harmful to humans, livestock, and other animals.

That being said, sitting as a true British classic, Yew is the most popular and well-known conifer hedge, as it's greatly admired for its ease of maintenance and year-in, year-out interest. The plant is perfect for creating eye-catching topiary shapes, too!

English Yew (Taxus baccata)

3. Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris)

Crab Apple is a lovely, deciduous plant that products gorgeous, pink-white blossoms in spring, and small apple fruits in the Autumn. It will surely bring life, colour, and style to your garden with its showers of fruits and flowers every year. The gorgeous blossoms are popular with the bees, and the edible crab apples can make delicious jellies! The best time to pick the miniature, sour, green-yellow apples is just after the first frost.

Malus sylvestris will always look wonderful when planted within a mixed native hedge, or even as a single specimen. It will reach an ultimate height of 5m, with an average growth rate of around 20-40cm per year.

Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris)

4. Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)

Hornbeam is a classic hedging plant, known for its flourishing, semi-evergreen leaves that can act as a dense barrier to bring privacy, security, noise & wind protection, to your garden.

Carpinus will cling onto its coppery leaves during the winter, and will showcase pretty, little catkins during the spring (through to autumn), which then turn into fruits that wildlife love to enjoy! 

It is the perfect formal feature to add to any garden, and can easily be combined with other types of native hedging- it looks rather similar to Beech, however, Hornbeam leaves have deeper veins and serrated edges.

Hornbeam (carpinus betulus)

5. Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)

Blackthorn is a popular, native species, with delicate, white flowers during spring and blue sloes in autumn. Due to its prickly nature, Blackthorn hedging is ideal as a security hedge- wildlife particularly like to shelter within it, too!

blackthorn (prunus spinosa)

Other Common Native Species

  1. Wild Cherry (Prunus Avium)
  2. Hazel (Corylus Avellana)
  3. English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead')
  4. Field Maple (Acer Campestre)
  5. Hawthorn (Crataegus Monogyna)
  6. Beech (Fagus Sylvatica)

Non-Native Species

With the Native species listed off, there are plenty of popular, stunning, evergreen, wildlife-friendly plants that are not native to the UK. This includes Cotoneaster, Osmanthus, Berberis, Choisya, and so much more!

Though there are many benefits to choosing native species, some non-native species will provide just as many benefits to wildlife and your garden! This includes privacy screening, wind/noise reduction, food/shelter for birds, and so much more...

Here's 5 of our most popular, non-native hedging species:

1. Photinia Red Robin (Photinia x fraseri 'Red Robin') - Photinia is a beautiful, evergreen hedge that showcases glossy, red/green leaves in the spring and summer seasons, with dark-green mature foliage. Best yet, wildlife are attracted to the species for its wonderful flower and berry production!

2. Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus 'Rotundifolia') - Being one of the most popular and versatile hedging species, Cherry Laurel is an evergreen staple to any garden, that promises year-round, vibrant, glossy foliage. It will produce white flowers in spring and red berries in winter, to add that extra bit of interest.

3. Leylandii (Cupressocyparis 'Leylandii') - Leylandii is known as the fastest growing hedge species, sitting at a growth rate between 75-90cm per annum! It's a popular choice amongst gardeners who take recognition of its brilliant attributes. The dense, evergreen, fragrant foliage will give you rich colour year-round.

4. Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) - Western Red Cedar is the perfect alternative to Leylandii, as it will still provide rich, green, dense, evergreen hedging, but with it being slightly slower at growing to make maintenance a little easier! It can form the ideal evergreen screen for protection against wind and noise, as well as adding that needed length of privacy.

5. Darwins Barberry (Berberis Darwinii) - Berberis Darwinii is a beautiful, evergreen hedge that produces stunning bunches of yellow-orange flowers, that hold onto red stems during spring, along with prickly dark-green leaves, that resemble tiny holly leaves. Along with its blue berries, if you're lucky, it might even produce a second round of flowers!