GARDENING: The perfect hedging plants for CQ conditions
OVER the past few years, the use of hedges in home gardens has become quite popular.
Hedges lend a formal quality to the garden and provide a living, ornamental screen from the outside world.
They also can provide an excellent backdrop or edging for ornamental gardens.
Hedges can be finely clipped for a formal look or can simply be planted close together in a row, to act as a barrier.
The plants you choose will depend upon the look you wish to achieve and the main function of the hedge.
The most popular plants used for screening are those which are fast growing and relatively inexpensive.
The following are some of the hardest hedging plants for CQ to develop a living fence or screen is the desired result.
These will grow rapidly and may be clipped to form a tidy, green barrier in a short period of time:
Acalypha wilkesiana and hybrid varieties like Firestorm, Inferno, and Spitfire are probably one of the hardiest of all available hedging plants, with varying sizes and shapes.
Some Acalypha varieties have been grown in Central Queensland for almost 100 years.
For best results, they require warmth, high humidity and plenty of liquid fertiliser.
Bougainvilleas are one of the most colourful plants to be grown in Central Queensland gardens.
The colourful displays produced are not by the flowers, but by the bracts that surround the flowers, which are small or non-existent in most flowers.
There four key groups of Bougainvilleas, the Single Flower, the Double Flower, the Variegated Bougainvillea and the Bambino Bougainvilleas all can make very hedging plants.
Brunfelsia latifolia is a hardy and popular highly scented old-fashioned shrub is also known as Franciscea or Yesterday Today and Tomorrow.
It will grow up to 2m x 2m but can be kept lower.
Brunfelsia latifolia looks striking in spring when covered with flowers from purple flowers fading through mauve to white and the lush green foliage looks great at any other time of the year.
The uses for Brunfelsias in the garden include being a perfumed feature shrubs to colourful hedging plants.
They can even be used as large potted plants, in fact the more root bound the plant becomes the better the flowering.
Callistemon Little John is a dwarf, evergreen shrub producing deep red bottle-brush flowers in spring and autumn.
Crowded blue-green foliage forms a compact shrub which is frost tolerant.
Little John’s dense shape and ability to be heavily pruned makes this shrub a desirable hedging plant.
It is suited for most soils and is best in full sun to partial shade positions.
Clerodendrum heterophyllum is an old fashion hedging plant that is being used more often in commercial landscapes.
It is a densely branched shrub with either gold or dark green foliage.
With slightly fragrant white star-like flowers appear throughout the year.
Clerodendrum heterophyllum is one of the most waterwise hedging plants available.
Duranta Sheena’s hybrids are all hardy shrubs with dense dark foliage, rapid growth and low maintenance.
From the dwarf and almost thornless Duranta Minigold to the Medium growing Duranta Squatters Gold and the taller growing Sheena’s Gold, Limeglow, Green and Jungle Gold, all will provide an ideal water-wise plant for informal hedges.
Eremophila maculata or Emu Bush maybe not the first plant you would think of using as a hedge, but this extremely hardy and water-wise shrub is becoming a popular choice for landscaping.
Eremophila’s have been grown in Central Queensland gardens for over 30 years, yet most gardeners may have not realised their potential as a hedging plant.
Eremophila maculata comes in a number of varieties with some growing up to 2m high.
The foliage of these plants is only small but has tropical green colouring.
The flowers range in colour from pale pink to purple and red to yellow.
Hibiscus rosa sinensis varieties will provide you with both a resilient plant even in the harshest climatic conditions, and a plant that is able to be shaped and formed into any height with a minimum of effort.
Best varieties are the variegated-foliaged Roseflake and Snowflake, and flowering Albo Lacinatus, Apple Blossom, landersii, Ruth Wilcox, Swan Lake and Wilders White. Unfortunately most Hawaiian Hibiscus varieties are not suitable.
Melaleuca Golden Gem is a low spreading shrub about 1.5m x 1.5m with fine golden foliage.
During spring small white brushes appear.
Golden Gem requires a sunny, moist position and is best pruned to shape.
This shrub was first released in the early 1970s as one of the first native hedging plants.
Syzygium paniculatum hybrids or Lilly-pilly would provide some of the best hedging plants available to local gardeners.
There are dozens of hybrids on the market but some of the best hedging varieties are Syzygium Aussie Boomer, Aussie Copper, Bush Christmas, Copperhedge, Elegance, Hinterland Gold and Select.
The parent of these hybrids, Syzygium paniculatum, is found growing naturally in the mountains around Rockhampton.
It has glossy green leaves, coloured new growth, and creamy white flowers, by rose-purple berries.
Some important facts to remember when starting a new hedge is to tip prune the height twice a year, taking no more than 1cm off growth until desired height has been reached.
Decide the thickness of your hedge, prune the hedge soon after planting, using the shortest plant as the guide.
Trim the sides of the plants also to encourage branching in all directions.
Wherever you prune, the plant will re-grow and branch.
After establishment, these hedges can be pruned at almost any time of the year, to retain their shape.
Trim the hedge so that the base is wider than the top to allow light to penetrate the lower parts of the hedge and form a dense, green hedge from top to bottom.
Pinch out flower buds regularly and feed often with a fertiliser like Aquasol.
The height of the hedge should be considered in terms of where it casts its shade.
They say that good fences make good neighbours.
Choosing a living fence can be as effective, less expensive and most of all, can be an enjoyable and attractive part of the garden.