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best-evergreen-shrubs-for-privacy

7 best evergreen shrubs for privacy

The best evergreen shrubs for privacy create a dense screen of foliage that lasts year-round. Many top picks are quick growers, while many are low-maintenance, and some are also deer resistant. Let’s look at the top 25 privacy bushes to consider for your landscape.

arborvitae hedge

1. Emerald Green Arborvitae

Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald Green’) is an evergreen conifer with dense, lush green foliage. This variety of Arborvitae reaches a mature size of about 10-15 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.

Emerald Green is mostly used as a perimeter plant because it forms thick hedges. Perfect for privacy screens in locations with little space, these shrubs can grow 1-2 feet taller each year in optimal conditions. They’re also good for topiary and can stay alive in containers for years if necessary.

Emerald Green Arborvitae grows best when it gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Those grown in partial sun or shade don’t grow as well. For optimal growth, the plant needs moist soil too.

Emerald Green Arborvitae can be grown in Zones 4-8.

Hicks Yew Hedge

2. Hicks Yew

Hicks Yew (Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’) is a dark green needled shrub often used for hedges or privacy screens. These shrubs grow more slowly than Arborvitae or Juniper, but still put on a respectable 6-10 inches per year (depending upon conditions). Mature Hicks Yew can reach 10-15 feet tall and 3-6 feet wide.

‘Hicks’ is most commonly used as a barrier planting. Yew is particularly good at filling in dense foliage on bare limbs, making it somewhat self-healing. So while they don’t grow in height as fast as arborvitae, they may be a better long-term choice. These plants can also be sheared into topiary shapes.

Hicks Yew is tolerant of a wide range of sun exposure, from sunny all day to partial shade. It can be grown in Zones 4-8.

Cherry Laurels (Prunus laurocerasus)

3. Cherry Laurel

Cherry Laurels (Prunus laurocerasus) are tall broadleaf evergreen shrubs known for their shiny dark green leaves and showy white flowers. These tall flowering evergreens typically grow to a mature size of 10-12 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide.

Not only are Cherry Laurel shrubs beautiful, but they also serve multiple purposes. They can be planted as a flowering hedge or evergreen living fence and make great year-round privacy screens. solo specimen shrub May attract bees and other pollinators when in bloom; produce small red fruits that ripen into winter bird food sources.

These shrubs grow best in full sun, but are also tolerant of partial shade. Laurel is also semi-tolerant of salty soil.

4. Oak Leaf Red Holly

Oak Leaf Red Holly (Ilex x ‘Conaf’) is a hybrid holly with striking bronze-burgundy foliage that ages to a rich green tone. These evergreens have a natural pyramidal form and quite a quick growth rate. They reach a mature size of 12-15 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide.

Red Holly is best used as a tall hedge, accent plant, or foundation planting. The colorful foliage stands out in the landscape and makes a nice contrast to other green-leaved plants in springtime.

Looking for a plant that will set small, orange-red berries without the need of a male pollenizer? Look no further than this cold-hardy, tall hedge or landscape specimen. Evergreen and stunning, this is sure to add beauty to any space.

Oak Leaf Red Holly grows best in sunny locations but is shade tolerant. These evergreen plants can be grown in Zones 6-9.

Juniperus scopulorum

5. Moonglow Juniper

Moonglow Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Moonglow’) is a tall evergreen shrub with attractive silvery-green foliage. With a growth rate of about 2 feet in height each year, these popular plants reach a mature size of 18-20 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide.

‘Moonglow’ is mostly used as a hedging plant or for privacy screens because of their natural pyramidal form. They require little upkeep unless they are trimmed regularly into a formal hedge. Another great reason to have junipers on your property is that they serve as fantastic habitat for local wildlife and songbirds!

Moonglow Juniper grows best in full sun, and is not tolerant of shady conditions. This plant is very cold-hardy and can be grown in Zones 3-7.

6. Victory Pyracantha

Victory Pyracantha (Pyracantha koidzumii ‘Victory’) is a broadleaf evergreen shrub known for its thorny stems and brightly colored red berries. This cultivar grows to a mature size of 8-10 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide.

Pyracantha is most often used as a barrier planting in large, open spaces such as for hedges, windbreaks, or privacy screens. The plant’s berries also attract birds, making it popular in wildlife gardens. In smaller areas, Pyracatha can be grown up against walls or fences and trained to grow along the surface rather than left to develop naturally into a rounded bushy form.

Victory Pyracantha is best planted in full sun, where the leaves can get enough bright sunlight for photosynthesis to create energy for all those beautiful berries. This plant thrives in Zones 7-9, and is most popular in coastal regions.

7. Castle Spire Blue Holly

Castle Spire Blue Holly (Ilex x meserveae) is an attractive vigorous holly that works very well for hedges and foundation plantings around buildings. This shrub grows to reach a mature size of 6-10 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.

The compact size and spiny leaves make this holly a great choice for a privacy screen in an urban area where some tall evergreens may simply grow too large as they mature.

‘Castle Spire’ is particularly known for its blue-green foliage, which takes on a burgundy hue in the winter months. If you plant Castle Spire near a male pollinator like its partner Castle Wall, it will produce bright red berries.

This holly grows best in full sun but can tolerate some partial shade. It is also quite tolerant of salt spray, making it a good choice for coastal areas. ‘Castle Spire’ can be grown in Zones 5-7.

8. Teddy Bear Southern Magnolia

Teddy Bear Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora ‘Teddy Bear’) is a compact variety that works both as a feature tree or as an evergreen flowering hedge. It typically reaches a mature size of 15-20 feet tall and 8-12 feet wide.

This Southern Magnolia is everything you love about the species, but in a smaller package. The shiny, deep green leaves and vibrant white flowers are stunning together, while the dark brown bark completes the look.

This chic, little southern magnolia has an upright form with lustrous deep green leaves that have velvety reddish-brown undersides. Additionally, it features classic large white 6-8 inch wide flowers that are incredibly fragrant! It makes for a great specimen tree in smaller landscapes or as an accent in larger ones because of its evergreen nature.

Teddy Bear Southern Magnolia flowers best in full sun but will also take some shade. This plant can be grown in Zones 7-9.

Arborvitae trees in pots at the nursery

9. American Pillar Arborvitae

American Pillar Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Columnaris’) is a fast-growing evergreen that makes an excellent privacy hedge or living fence. These plants have a naturally columnar or pyramidal form and can grow up to 3 feet per year. They reach a mature size of about 20-30 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide.

American Pillar Arborvitae is best used as a hedge, living fence, or foundation planting. Its dense growth habit makes it an ideal privacy screen. This plant is also salt tolerant, making it a good choice for coastal regions.

This evergreen prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It is adaptable to a variety of soil conditions, including alkaline, clay, loamy, and sandy soils. American Pillar Arborvitae is best planted in Zones 4-8.

10. Nellie Stevens Holly

Nellie Stevens Holly (Ilex x ‘Nellie Stevens’) is a hybrid holly that is prized for its dense, glossy green foliage. Nellie Stevens Holly reaches a mature size of 15-25 feet tall and 8-15 feet wide, with a quick growth rate of about 2-3 feet/year in good conditions.

You can prune this holly cultivar into a privacy hedge or fenceline, or leave it unpruned for a more natural look. Because of its fast growth rate and dense foliage, Nellie Stevens is one of the best options for privacy screens. It’s also deer resistant, which is an added bonus if you live in an area with a lot of wildlife.

Nellie Stevens Holly grows best in full sun but will certainly tolerate some shade. These shrubs are hardy in Zones 6-9.

Juniperus chinensis

11. Spartan Juniper

Spartan Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’) is a popular coniferous evergreen. These plants reach a mature size of 15-18 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide. They are a little slower growing than Leyland Cypress or Green Giant Arborvitae, but they have the important benefit of being deer resistant. And they still put on 12-18 inches of height per year in good conditions.

These tall, tidy shrubs are most commonly used as privacy screens, foundation plants or medium-tall hedges. The dense foliage provides year-round screening and can withstand heavy shearing if needed.

Spartan Junipers grow best in full sun but can get by with partial shade. If you want them to reach their potential growth-wise, however, don’t plant them in full shade. For optimal growth, add some organic matter to the soil before planting and then keep them well hydrated for the first 1-2 years after they’re planted.

Spartan Junipers can be grown in Zones 4-9.

12. Leyland Cypress

Leyland Cypress (Cupressus × leylandii) is the ultimate tall evergreen shrub. This giant absolutely towers over other shrubs.Leyland Cypress trees have an annual growth rate of 3-4 feet/year and generally mature at a size of 60-70 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide.

Leyland Cypress plants are fast-growing evergreen trees that blocking out views or noise, making them excellent for large properties. With a rapid growth rate and tall mature height, this tree is ideal for perimeter planting. Leyland Cypresses are also tolerant of shearing, so they can be easily shaped into a more polished look if you desire.

The best location to plant this tree is in full sun, but it can also grow in partial shade. Keep in mind though that growth will be slower without direct sunlight. These trees aren’t great for windy areas or places where ice builds up on branches because they have long limbs that can snap under the weight.

13. Ember Waves Western Arborvitae

Ember Waves Western Arborvitae (Thuja x ‘MonPin’) is a yellow-green plant that adds color to the landscape year round. These privacy shrubs grow about 1-2 feet per year to reach a mature size of about 25 feet tall and 8 feet wide.

‘Ember Waves’ is a wonderful privacy hedge plant for a large space. They can also be planted as a living fence or in groupings to enjoy the bright green foliage. These privacy shrubs are best known for their unique coloration among arborvitae, which is sure to add some pizzazz to your landscape.

This evergreen prefers full sun but can tolerate shade. It is adaptable to a variety of soil conditions, including alkaline, clay, loamy, and sandy soils. Ember Waves Western Arborvitae is best planted in Zones 5-8.

14. Green Giant Arborvitae

Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja standishii x plicata ‘Green Giant’) is another very tall evergreen that’s popular for good reason! This extra-large hybrid arborvitae reaches its mature size of 40-50 feet tall and 8-12 feet wide. ‘Green Giant’ shrubs can grow 2-3 feet higher each year until they reach full height.

‘Green Giant’ is mostly privacy screens, large hedges, or accent pieces. They grow quickly, but should only be planted if there’s enough room for them to reach 30 feet at maturity. If you don’t want to trim them multiple times a year, choose ‘Emerald Green’ for a smaller alternative, as they grow to about half the height.

Arborvitae grow best in full sun with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, but can also survive in partial shade though the growth will be significantly slower.

The Green Giant Arborvitae thrives in areas ranging from Zone 5 to 8 according to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live in a region that experiences harsh winters, then this is the plant for you as it can resist both heavy snowfall and high winds.

15. California Privet

California Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) is a fast growing broadleaf plant that is semi-evergreen. While it looses its leaves towards the colder end of its range, these shrubs tend to keep them in warmer climates. California Privet shrubs typically reach 10-15 feet tall and 10-12 feet wide.

Privet is a popular choice for hedges, screens, and topiary. It can be easily shaped and pruned into any desired form, whether it’s a tall privacy screen or a low border hedge. The plant is also tolerant of a wide range of soil types and conditions.

California Privet grows best in full sun but will tolerate some shade. This plant is adaptable to a wide range of climates and soils, but does not do well in wet or poorly drained areas. It is hardy in Zones 5-9, but may lose its foliage in the winter in Zones 5-6 (and even in Zone 7 during harsh winters).

16. Prague Viburnum

Prague Viburnum (Viburnum x pragense) is a hybrid cross between two other Viburnum species. These medium-sized shrubs typically reach 8-10 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide at maturity.

If you’re in search of a plant that can serve as either a hedge or an accent, look no further than the beautiful evergreen. In addition to providing gorgeous green leaves year-round, this Midwestern winter-hardy shrub also boasts lovely pink buds that turn into fragrant cream flowers come springtime.

Prague Viburnums can grow rapidly, adding about 2 feet of new growth each year. Viburnum grow most rapidly in full sun, but are tolerant of partially shady conditions. Prague Viburnums can be grown in Zones 5-8.

17. Victory Pyracantha

Victory Pyracantha (Pyracantha koidzumii ‘Victory’) is a medium-sized shrub known for its thorny stems and brightly colored red berries. It reaches a mature size of 8-10 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide at maturity.

In large spaces, Pyracantha is often used as a thorny barrier planting, such as a hedge, windbreak, or privacy screen. The species is also popular in wildlife gardens due to the attractiveness of the berries with the birds. In smaller sites, this plant can be grown up against a wall or fence and trained along the surface rather than left to develop naturally into a rounded bushy form.

Victory Pyracantha grows about a foot per year and is best planted in sunny spots where the leaves can get enough bright sunlight for photosynthesis to create energy to produce berries. This plant thrives in Zones 7-9, and is most popular in coastal regions.

18. Hollywood Juniper

Hollywood Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Torulosa’) is a tall coniferous shrub with unique twisted foliage. These fast-growing shrubs reach a mature size of about 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide, with a growth rate of 1-2 feet/year.

This juniper cultivar is a superstar! It is most often used as a feature plant to mark gateways or to soften the look of privacy walls. While the natural form is rustic and gorgeous, it can also be made into a specialty topiary.

Hollywood Juniper grows best in sunny planting locations. This plant thrives in Zones 5-9.

19. Cherry Laurel

Cherry Laurels (Prunus laurocerasus) are tall broadleaf evergreen shrubs known for their shiny dark green leaves and showy white flowers. These fast-growing flowering evergreens typically grow about 2 feet per year to reach a mature size of 10-12 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide.

The Cherry Laurel shrub is a popular choice for those looking for a fast-growing evergreen. Perfect for creating privacy screens or living fences, these shrubs also make beautiful specimen plants. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, Cherry Laurels are beneficial to local wildlife – their flowers attract pollinators and ripen into small red fruits that birds love!

These shrubs grow best in full sun, but are also tolerant of partial shade. Laurel is also semi-tolerant of salty soil. Cherry Laurel can be grown in Zones 7-9.

20. Blue Princess Holly

Blue Princess Holly (Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Princess’) is a large holly cultivar that’s easy to care for. Known for its bright red berries and dark blue-green leaves, this variety grows to a mature size of 10-15 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide.

This lovely evergreen shrub works great as a hedge or privacy screen and also provides shelter for birds and other helpful creatures. You can also use them to fill space in the back of your garden borders.

Blue Princess Holly grows best in full sun but is tolerant of partial shade. This plant thrives in Zones in 5-9.

21. Rosebay Rhododendron

Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum) is a large evergreen shrub native to the eastern USA and Canada. This plant typically reaches a mature size of 10-15 feet tall and 5-12 feet wide (although it can grow much larger towards the warmer end of its climatic range).

The Rhododendron maximum plant grows best in areas that are partially to fully shaded, especially locations that have afternoon shade (as opposed to morning shade). For optimal growth, this plant needs a moist location. Additionally, it does well in zones 3-7.

22. Stonehenge Yew

Stonehenge Yew (Taxus x media ‘Stonehenge’) is a specialty landscaping evergreen with a tall, columnar habit. Similar to the Hicks Yew, but skinnier, these shrubs grow to a mature size of 8-10 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide.

While they are a bit more difficult to find than Hicks, they’re well worth searching for if you are either short on space or have big plans for other plants. Stonehenge Yews look great when planted in pairs as part of an entryway or foundation planting. They also work well as tall, skinny hedges, living fences, and privacy screens.

Stonehenge Yews grow best in full sun to partial shade locations. These shrubs are tolerant of various soil types but prefer well-drained conditions. They are best suited for planting in Zones 4-7.

Camellia japonica

23. Debutante Camellia

Debutante Camellia (Camellia japonica ‘Debutante’) is a relatively low-maintenance flowering evergreen shrub. These somewhat slow-growing yet pretty plants grow to reach a mature size of 8-12 feet tall and 6-10 feet wide.

Camellias are most appealing when their flowers can be appreciated often. Plant them as a living fence along a walkway, where you’ll benefit from their evergreen leaves year-round, and enjoy their springtime blooms. Thanks to their peony-like blossoms, they also make great flowering borders for herbaceous perennials.

Zones 7-10 are the most ideal for planting camellias, as they flower best in full sun though can still tolerate some shade. Additionally, these plants’ cold hardiness allows them to survive in temperatures as low as 10℉ (-12°C).

Wax Myrtle - southern bayberry

24. Wax Myrtle

Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera) is a large broadleaf evergreen shrub. This quick-grower can easily put on 2-4 feet of height per year. It develops dense foliage and often reaches a mature size of about 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide.

Perfect for privacy screens and tall hedges, these shrubs keep their leaves year-round. They also make a beautiful living backdrop with their dainty green-yellow flowers. Plus, the birds love eating the fruit off of them in wintertime!

Wax Myrtle grows best in sun but is tolerant of partial shade. This plant is for warmer climates, and thrives in Zones 7-11.

25. Allegheny Viburnum

Allegheny Viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophylloides ‘Allegheny’) is a quick-growingj m shrub with white flowers and red fruit. These plants grow 1-2 feet per year. The mature size is generally about 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

Not only is Viburnum a beautiful standalone plant with white flowers, but it also does well in hedges. Because of its moderate height, it can act as either a privacy screen or windbreak on spacious properties. Not to mention, birds love eating the fruit off the plant come autumn!

Allegheny Viburnum will produce flowers best in a sunny spot but is tolerant of shade. This plant can be grown in Zones 5-8, but may loose its leaves towards the cooler end of this range (Zones 5-6), especially during harsh winters, and should be considered more like deciduous shrubs in those areas.

26. Emerald Fountain Canadian Hemlock

Emerald Fountain Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis ‘Monler’) is a specialty foliage evergreen. They typically grow to a mature size of 6-12 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide.

For those who want a hedge or screen that is low-maintenance, this is an excellent choice. It forms a densely branched column of evergreen foliage that requires little to no pruning and retains its dark green color in winter.

This plant grows best in Zones 4-8. It prefers full sun but will tolerate shade, making it a good choice for areas that are dappled or have partial shade for part of the day.

27. American Holly

American Holly (Ilex opaca) is a native evergreen that grows as a large shrub or small tree. It typically reaches a mature size of 15-30 feet tall and 10-20 feet wide.

This holly is known for its smooth grey bark, glossy green leaves, and bright berries. The berries are an important food source for birds in the winter months. American Holly is also a popular plant for holiday decoration.

This plant grows best in full sun to partial shade. It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, but prefers moist, well-drained soil. American Holly is hardy in Zones 5-9.

28. Wichita Blue Juniper

Wichita Blue Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’) is an evergreen conifer that grows in a columnar shape. It typically reaches a mature size of 10-15 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide.

The Wichita Blue Juniper is a powdery blue-grey plant that is known for its dense growth habit, making it an excellent privacy screen or windbreak. This plant’s thick, pyramid-like shape is perfect for anyone needing an evergreen privacy screen or hedge. The shiny silver-blue leaves keep their color all year long.

‘Wichita Blue’ grows best in full sun. This plant can be grown in Zones 3-7.

29. Bright ‘N Tight Carolina Laurel

Bright ‘N Tight Carolina Laurel (Prunus caroliniana ‘Monus’) is a broadleaf with dark green foliage that creates a dense hedge. This plant reaches a mature size of 8-10 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide.

This foliage shrub is the perfect background plant with a multitude of uses. Its primary value is as a hedge; it grows tall enough to provide an impenetrable privacy barrier. The density of its foliage also makes it ideal for windbreaks.

This sound-attenuating and problem-solving shrub is perfect for blocking traffic noise, neighbors’ houses, and less-than-ideal adjacent properties or roadways. You can prune it into a cone or columnar shapes or keep it in the more traditional near-rectangular form of hedges.

This plant is outstanding for shearing into many different shapes, making it ideal as a formal foliage plant. In spring, showy clusters of white flowers appear.

Carolina Laurel flowers best in the sun but is tolerant of some shade. It can be grown in Zones 7-11.

30. Mountain Pepper

Mountain Pepper (Drimys lanceolata) is another mild-climate evergreen with dep green leaves. It typically reaches a mature size of 8-12 feet tall and 4-8 feet wide.

This evergreen shrub is perfect for adding a touch of sophistication to your garden. Plant it in mass as a foundation plant or hedge, and the glossy foliage will provide a beautiful background for shorter flowering shrubs. The oval-shaped, deep green leaves are beautiful against the red young stems. Creamy yellow-green perfumed blossoms further enhance the foliage.

Mountain Pepper is adaptable in terms of sunlight and can grow in direct sunlight through to partial shade. This plant can be grown in Zones 7-10.

31. Red Dynamo Photinia

Red Dynamo Photinia (Photinia glabra ‘Parsur’) is a southern evergreen that can take the heat and look great throughout the year. This plant reaches a mature size of 8-10 feet tall and 5-7 feet wide, making it the perfect size for a privacy hedge at street level. It’s also a quick grower, gaining 2-3 feet of height yearly when young.

This gorgeous and healthy plant is perfect for a privacy screen or hedge, as it’s resistant to pests and disease. The burgundy-red leaves are beautiful against the dense, upright form, which rarely needs pruning.

Photinia is a popular choice for hedges and landscapes in mild winter regions because of its rapid growth and colorful new foliage. You can also use it in your side yard as a living fence for some nice foliage.

Photinia is typically planted in full sun. This plant can be grown in Zones 7-11.

FAQs

What are the best fast-growing evergreen shrubs for privacy?

Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald Green’)
Spartan Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’)
Oak Leaf Red Holly (Ilex x ‘Conaf’)
Moonglow Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Moonglow’)
Leyland Cypress (Cupressus × leylandii)

What are the best evergreen shrubs for privacy for full sun?

Moonglow Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Moonglow’)
Castle Spire Blue Holly (Ilex x meserveae)
Victory Pyracantha (Pyracantha koidzumii ‘Victory’)
Teddy Bear Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora ‘Teddy Bear’)
Spartan Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’)
Bright ‘N Tight Carolina Laurel (Prunus caroliniana ‘Monus’)

What are the best evergreen shrubs for privacy for partially shady areas?

Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum)
Hicks Yew (Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’)
California Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium)
Prague Viburnum (Viburnum x pragense)
Blue Princess Holly (Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Princess’)

Resources

  • Small evergreen shrubs
  • Tall evergreen shrubs
  • Low-maintenance evergreen shrubs
  • Best evergreen shrubs for front of house
  • Fast-growing evergreen shrubs
  • Best evergreen shrubs for privacy
  • Evergreen flowering shrubs
  • Small evergreen flowering shrubs

References

More landscaping shrubs

Time to add some shrubs to your landscape to brighten things up year-round, provide privacy, and perhaps even some flowers?


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