What is the Fastest Growing Hedge?

Hedges. They might all provide privacy and shelter, mark boundaries, keep the wind away, and look aesthetically pleasing – but one thing they don’t do, is grow at the same rate.

As a rule of thumb, most type of hedge will grow at between 10 and 100 centimetres each year. But for a hedge to be labelled fast-growing, it should be shooting up at a rate of about 40 cms a year.

Although our shortlist isn’t exhaustive, here is a selection of the most fancied runners and riders in the fast-growing stakes. And don’t worry, there is a clear winner!

The shortlist of quick-growing hedges

Let’s begin with the privet hedge. Great if you are looking for a quick route to privacy, this will grow at 60cms a year.

For a competitive rival, The Cherry Laurel (aka the Common or English Laurel) is the fastest growing non-conifer hedge. They will increase in height by about 60cms annually, reaching maturity at around 5 metres.
For something a little more exotic or quirky, Bamboo is a worthy choice. Bamboo used in hedging increases by around 40 cms a year.

Thuja Emerald is a popular, low maintenance choice of hedge but struggles to keep up with the rest – the best you can expect is circa 30cms in a 12 month stretch.

But the winner, by some distance, is the Leyland Cypress – or Leylandii. They can be controversial, however, because they grow so fast and to a potentially intrusive height, if left unmanaged. No less an authority than the Royal Horticultural Society admits they are known to cause “friction between neighbours”.

What isn’t in dispute is their rapid rate of growth. In fact, in a sprint they’d win hands down, as they can grow by a colossal 90cm a year – 50% more than their closest rivals. If you are considering planting leylandii as a hedge, and you have near neighbours, our advice would always be to check with them first, that they are happy about having leylandii in close proximity. It may avoid subsequent hassle further down the line.

So, there are plenty of choices when it comes to fast growing hedges. Leylandii is the king sprinter but the one you decide upon will depend on how much of a hurry you are in.