Fast Growing Hedging Plants

A Guide to Fast Growing Hedging Plants

Fast Growing Hedging Plants


We often require fast growing hedges or even an instant hedge to plant in our spaces to offer privacy, security and shelter in the garden. However, there are several considerations to take into account when choosing the best option for our needs.

A fast growing hedge will often require more maintenance and work than a slower growing option. Here we discuss the most popular fast growing hedges in Ireland, we highlight what you need to know, how to choose the right one for your needs, and also detail the pros and cons of each hedging species.

Fast growing hedges for the most part tend to be evergreen options such as Cherry Laurel, Portuguese Laurel  or semi-evergreen such as Privet.  Leylandii would be the quickest growing hedging option. With a growth rate of 75-90cms over year,  Leylandii, historically would have been the most common option in Ireland. They are however, losing their popularity in the Irish garden as it takes a lot of work, commitment and dedication to maintain them in the garden setting. Leylandii, if left unattended can grow quite rapidly and get out of the control for the Irish gardener. In fact, In recent years we have seen a trend of removing and replacing Leylandii hedges with a more manageable option, often beech or privet.


Options for Fast Growing Hedging Plants for the Irish Garden.


    1. Cherry Laurel

The most commonly purchased fast growing hedging plants from Cullen Nurseries are Cherry laurels, (Prunus rotundifolia) which has a growth rate of approximately 30-60cm per annum. It’s vibrant glossy green leaves make it an eye catching plant and it’s dense form and structure provide the privacy and screening often required in the garden. As with all fast growing hedging plants, cherry laurels will require annual maintenance and pruning to keep it in shape. Pruning cherry laurel hedges can be done between September and March when birds are no longer nesting. Pruning is also necessary for a healthy hedge and you can read more about pruning hedges in our Maintenance blog. Mature root ball cherry laurel hedging plants would be the best hedging option for instant privacy and screening.

fastest growing hedge


  1. Portuguese Laurel

With a slower growth rate than that of the Cherry Laurel, about 40-60cms per year, Portuguese laurels (Prunus Lusitania) is another popular option. Oval shaped dark green leaves with stems that turn reddish brown with maturity are becoming a more common sight in the garden. These plants are available in pots however as the Irish climate is not suitable for growing these plants bare root. This makes them a more expensive option than the Cherry laurel. Once established these are hardy and fast growing hedging plants that offer year round colour, screening and privacy in the garden. Annual pruning of established hedges is essential for plant health and growth.


  1. Viburnum Tinus

A growth rate of 40-60cms provided by Viburnum tinus makes this another popular option for a fast growing hedge. Along with being evergreen, robust and fast growing, Viburnum tinus provides masses of pinkish white flowers in clusters at various times of the year. In fact it is one of the best flowering plants in the garden in Winter months. It’s flowering properties makes it a friend to pollinators and insects.  It is also hardy enough for planting in coastal areas and it can tolerate the salty sea air.




  1. Green Privet Hedging

An often underrated option for the Irish garden, Green Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) is a staple here in Cullen Nurseries. With a woody stem and fibrous root system privet are incredibly hardy and fast growing hedging plants and are ideal for the Irish climate. It is a semi-evergreen plant, in that it can lose it’s leaves for the first few years, and often will lose leaves in harsh weather conditions and Winters. The plant starts to hold it’s leaves as it matures, and pruning these hedging plant encourages new vigorous growth. Privet plants also produce a lovely white creamy flower as it matures, making it an ally of insects and pollinators alike. Growth rate of privet plants is between 30 -60cms per year.



  1. Whitethorn Hedging

The thorny structure and fast growing nature of the native Whitethorn hedging plants (Crategus monogyna) makes it a popular choice for farming and stock proofing purposes. It is these same properties combined with it’s flowering and fruiting properties that has seen an upward trend of planting Whitethorn hedging into the domestic garden in recent years. It’s thorny nature is a deterrent to unwanted visitors, human and animal alike. Whitethorn also produces a wonderful array of flowers in May, followed by deep red berries in Autumn months, ensuring a plentiful and rich food source for birds and animals. It’s thorny structure offers security and protection for mammals, birds and small animals.

It is fast growing but not evergreen and can in fact be quite bare in Winter months. It would not require annual maintenance and in fact, pruning on a three year cycle actually increases the fruit bounty of the Whitethorn plants.  It would also be the most cost effective option for a fast growing hedge. You can also read our blog post  Planting for Biodiversity and the environment and the role Whitethorn hedging plays in this.

Fast Growing Hedgerows Ireland



We have compiled a table to illustrate the benefits, difference and considerations for choosing the right fast growing hedge for your needs:

Species Growth Ideal for Pros Cons
Cherry Laurel 60cms + Screening, Noise Reduction, Privacy Evergreen, Hardy, takes a trimming well Needs regular annual maintenance.
Portuguese Laurel 40 – 60cms

Screening, Noise Reduction, Privacy

Evergreen, takes a trimming well. More expensive, potted plants
Privet 40 – 60cms Screening, Noise Reduction Hardy, Flowers, takes a trimming well Semi-evergreen, can lose leaves
Viburnum 40 – 60cms Screening, Noise Reduction, Privacy Hardy, Evergreen, Flowers, Suitable for coast More expensive, potted plants
Whitethorn 40 – 60cms Stock proofing & security Hardy, thorny, flowering, berries, cost. Loses leaves in Winter.


Planting any hedge, including fast growing hedging plants will always improve the value of your space and garden and it’s therefore so important to pick the correct one for you. Cullen Nurseries are an award winning DAFM approved nursery who have been helping their customers make the right choice for over 25 years. We are growing our large range of native trees and hedging plants in our natural nursery in Carlow. Offering a nationwide delivery service means we can supply you with the perfect plants for your needs. Book an appointment to come and view our Native Nursery and plants in person or order online for nationwide delivery.