Planting A Eugenia Hedge: Tips On Eugenia Hedge Care

By: Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

Growing up to 4 foot per year, Eugenia can be a quick and easy hedge solution. hardiness zones 10-11. Continue reading to learn about growing Eugenia shrubs for a privacy hedge, as well as Eugenia hedge care.

Eugenia Shrubs for Privacy Hedge

Eugenia will thrive in sun to part shade but growth can be stunted in too much shade. Eugenia shrubs can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions but do not like wet feet, so well-draining soil is important.

Eugenia hedge spacing depends on the kind of hedge you want.

For a dense hedge to block out wind, noise or nosy neighbors, plant the shrubs 3-5 feet apart.
For an open, informal Eugenia hedge, plant Eugenia shrubs further apart.

Eugenia shrubs spaced 10 feet apart can still provide some privacy and will have a more open, airy and welcoming feel than a solid wall of Eugenia.

Eugenia Hedge Care

A Eugenia garden hedge is very fast growing. Left alone, Eugenia can grow up to 20 feet tall, but as hedges, they are usually kept trimmed to only 5- to 10-feet tall. Because of its dense growing habit, Eugenia can easily be trimmed into formal hedges.

While benefiting you as a quick growing privacy hedge, its fruits also benefit hungry birds. To keep your Eugenia garden hedge growing and fruiting optimally, give it 10-10-10 fertilizer in the spring.

If leaves curl up, water your Eugenia hedge deeply, as this is the shrub’s way of telling you that it’s thirsty.

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Fancy plants in the landscape – Eugenia

For those into topiaries and formally pruned landscape features, a commonly available garden center plant may be of interest to you. The woody plant known as Eugenia, or more accurately, Syzygium paniculatum, is a small-leaved foliage plant often sculpted into fanciful shapes and designs. Once trimmed, this task must be kept up or the Eugenia will fill back into a solid bush-like plant. Have you seen this plant before?

Eugenia have small, less than two-inch, oval leaves that are ideal for clipping into spirals and pom-pom ball-like creations. New flushes of growth throughout the growing season start out reddish and then turn dark green as the leaves mature. Topiary-trained Eugenia are often planted in above-ground containers for display on decks or patios. Some Eugenia are also left natural and developed into hedges for a tight-knit screen – I have seen at least one locally. Eugenia can be pruned into many shapes and kept in-bounds to most any size required. Unpruned, this shrub can grow up to twelve feet tall and wide. Best kept in hardiness zone 10, some reports list it as being able to do fine in Zone 9B as well. As most Eugenia are kept in containers as accent plants, this better lends it to easy moving to a protected spot if a freeze is forecast. Highly drought-tolerant once established, Eugenia adapt well to either full sun or part shade conditions. Small white flowers and reddish fruit can develop on Eugenia, although regular pruning may inadvertently remove these. The fruit is often eaten by birds and can be consumed by humans.

There are a couple of disease issues to watch out for with your Eugenia. One is a branch dieback disease found in our area from time to time. This fungus infects the vascular tissue and causes unsightly branch dieback. Some evidence suggests that drought stress may trigger conditions favorable to this disease. Pruning the infected branch four inches below the diseased potion will help manage the dieback. Be careful however and keep in mind that dieback disease can be introduced by contaminated pruning shears. Sanitation with a twenty-five percent chlorine bleach solution, or a fifty percent rubbing alcohol solution will help reduce the chances of introducing this problem. A follow-up application of fungicide to the wounds may also be in order. Another disease problem that can occur is guava rust, a fungal disease that can infect Eugenia. The disease will manifest itself with powdery, yellow spore patches on leaves and buds during hot weather. Infected areas should be hand-pruned with follow-up fungicide application as per label directions.

A sculpted Eugenia topiary is a real eye-catcher. To keep this attractive pattern, discipline and commitment will be needed to maintain the shape. Pruning such a plant can be fun and allows you to get involved in how the plant looks. Get fancy in your landscape with Eugenia! For more information on pruning, topiary or hedges, please call our Master Gardener volunteers on the Plant Lifeline on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer. Don’t forget to visit our other County Plant Clinics in the area. Please check this link for a complete list of site locations, dates and times – Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for the Charlotte County Extension Service. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or [email protected]

Gilman, E. F.(2014) Syzygium paniculatum, – Brush Cherry. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Palmateer, J. & Gazis (2018) Branch Dieback of Syzygium paniculatum (Eugenia) The University of Florida Extrension Service, IFAS.
Harmon, P. F., Harmon, C. L., Palmateer, A. J. &Brown, S. H. (2015) Rusts on Ornamentals in Florida. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.

Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea)

Mark Turner / Getty Images

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Mark Turner / Getty Images

Its leaves are gone. Its berries have disappeared. Its flowers are absent. It is winter, and yet redtwig dogwood still stands out. Despite having lost so many features, redtwig dogwood may be at its best when nothing blocks the view of its finest feature: its signature fire-red bark color (the same applies to yellow twig dogwood, but in a different color). Looking at such a plant can lift your spirits on the gloomiest of winter days.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, fertile, moist soil

20 Fast-Growing Shrubs and Bushes for Privacy in Your Backyard

Plant these beautiful, versatile plants for privacy in a hurry.

Don’t want to stare at that ugly block wall next door? Tired of seeing your neighbor taking out the garbage in his pajamas? Plants are the answer! If you don’t have years to wait around, no worries. From hydrangea bushes to lilac bushes and every evergreen in between, many attractive, fast-growing shrubs provide privacy, hide eyesores, and offer food and shelter for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife in a matter of a few seasons.

To ensure your shrub gets a good start, choose varieties that work in your USDA Hardiness Zone. Then dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the pot. Rough up the root ball with your hands a bit to help the roots spread out. Backfill the hole, but resist the urge to add peat moss or other organic matter. That’s an outdated practice that actually creates drainage problems (called the “bathtub effect”) which can stunt or kill the plant eventually. Just water and mulch your new shrub, and don’t let it dry out the first season as it gets established. Then enjoy the view!

Here are the best plants for privacy that typically reach their mature size within a few seasons.

Arborvitae are stately evergreens which come in many different heights, ranging from a few feet to 30 feet tall or more. Most don’t need shearing to maintain their shape.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8

Varieties to Try: Green Giant, Spring Grove

Sometimes called summer lilac, this sturdy shrub with purple flowers withstands drought, blooms all season long, and attracts pollinators. Newer types are not invasive.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9

Varieties to Try: Miss Violet, Miss Ruby

Hydrangeas are one of the few plants that can be grown from coast to coast in most climates. Some tolerate part shade, but most need a few hours of sun for best blooms. In the hottest regions, give them morning sun and afternoon shade so they don’t fry.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10

Varieties to Try: Firelight, Monmar

Late spring or early summer flowers and attractive foliage make this graceful plant attractive in a mixed border.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7

Varieties to Try: Instant Karma, Lemony Lace

This vigorous shrub grows upright and boasts clusters of gorgeous fall berries that last well into winter.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9

Varieties to Try: Graberi, Kasan

Beautifully-scented lilacs like plenty of sun, but give them a space between plants to let air circulate and reduce the risk of powdery mildew developing. Some types are extremely cold-hardy.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2 to 8

Varieties to Try: Lavender Lady, Angel White

You know spring has arrived when the bright yellow forsythia starts blooming! It’s a more moderate grower than some other shrubs but will still reach its mature height relatively quickly.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9

Varieties to Try: Meadowlark, Spring Glory

Some types of this sun-loving, perennial plant have solid green or variegated green-and-white foliage, but the prettiest variety has dark purple foliage with masses of white blooms in late summer. The real show is the purple berries in fall.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 8

Varieties to Try: Pearl Glam, Purple Pearls

This white-flowering native plant is a standout in the garden with its handsome burgundy foliage that lasts all season, topped with creamy white flowers in early summer. The plant is ultra-cold-hardy and has a elegant arching shape.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2 to 7

Varieties to Try: Diablo, Summer Wine

Also called fringe flower due to its beautiful, showy blooms in shades of pink, white and purple, this graceful, vase-shaped shrub reaches maturity relatively quickly.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 to 9.

Varieties to Try: Snow Panda, Zhuzhou Fuchsia

This beautiful evergreen shrub has interesting puckered leaves and pretty white fragrant flowers, followed by showy red fruit.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 8

Varieties to Try: Allegheny, Prague

The weeping stems of this shrub are pink, with mottled foliage of white, green, and pink. It’s spectacular when massed as a hedge for privacy.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 10

Varieties to Try: Hakuro Nishiki, Flamingo

This arching shrub boasts a mass of white flowers in spring and colorful orange or reddish foliage in fall. Many types are cold-hardy.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7

Varieties to Try: Renaissance, Grefsheim

This multi-stemmed shrub has striking red branches that are stunning in the winter landscape, especially against snow. It’s cold-tolerant, too.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2 to 8

Varieties to Try: Isanti, Sibirica

These heat-tolerant and elegant shrubs or small trees have vibrant purple, pink or white flowers in summer. Some varieties have eye-catching peeling bark.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 6 to 9

Varieties to Try: Tonto, Natchez

This shrub or small tree is prized for its beautiful orange-red fall color and clusters of white flowers that become deep purple fruits that the birds love.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9

Varieties to Try: Glenform, Autumn Brilliance

This fountain-shaped shrub with beautiful white flowers has a light citrusy scent and lush green foliage.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 7

Varieties to Try: Natchez, Belle Etoile

Many types of this evergreen work well as a clipped hedge, while others look best left to naturalize. Happy in the shade or sun, some varieties have green and gold variegated foliage.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 8

Varieties to Try: Manhattan, Aureovariegatus

Junipers come in a staggering array of sizes and colors ranging from green to gold. It’s an extremely cold-hardy evergreen that’s not particularly fussy.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9

Varieties to Try: Montodd, Spartan

This reliable summer bloomer boasts exotic-looking flowers of white, pink, purple, or lavender and every shade in between. New varieties grow in a pillar (columnar) shape.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9

Varieties to Try: White Pillar, Notwoodthree

Fast growing hedges for privacy

A fast growing hedge will increase privacy, while also adding texture and interest to your landscaping. Looking to turn your garden into a secluded oasis, or just block out your view of passing traffic? A fence or brick wall might offer an instant solution, but a lush green hedge will act as a natural and attractive screen.

Fast growing hedge plants - what are my options?

Cherry Laurel

One of the most popular choices for privacy hedging, the cherry laurel is extremely fast growing. Also known as common laurel, this evergreen species thrives in shadier conditions as well as in direct sunlight. Growth wise, you can expect about 60cm per year in average conditions. However, the cherry laurel can also be very toxic.

Bay Laurel

Valued among the Ancient Greeks, the bay laurel had strong associations with the god Apollo - and its leaves were even fashioned into wreaths for the victors of an early incarnation of the Olympic Games. Attractive and aromatic, today laurus nobilis is prized as a fast growing privacy hedge.

While the bay generally won’t grow as quickly as the cherry laurel - about 40cms a year is average - this can be a plus point once your hedge is fully established. If you’re able to be slightly more patient now, you may well be glad you did a few years down the line.


Once ubiquitous, privet has somewhat waned in popularity in recent years. However, if you’re seeking a more formal edge to your landscaping, it might well be what you’re looking for. Its dense growth will ensure privacy, and is ideal for shaping.

It’s also very fast growing - 30 to 60cm per year is to be expected, particularly if you use a plant feed - which means that it will need pruning several times a year to keep it under control and looking its best.


Almost as popular as the laurel, leylandii is a fast growing species that, with a little maintenance, will soon give you a dense protective screen to lend your garden the privacy you're seeking. One of the fastest growing hedge plants, leylandii can grow up to 90cm in a year - so have those pruning shears at the ready!


If you’re looking for a hedging plant that will create a visual screen without taking up too much space, bamboo can be a surprisingly viable alternative. Golden bamboo or fountain bamboo will create a screening effect while also adding a lush and informal ambience to your landscaping. You can also purchase bamboo that has been formed into rolled screening ready for you to attach to posts.

Privacy hedge planting tips for fast growth

Autumn to early spring is the ideal time to plant your new Laurel or Leylandii hedge, although your task will be easier if you avoid periods of ground frost. Planting outside of this optimum time is still an option, although it will mean that you need to pay a little more attention to ensuring the roots don't dry out.

It’s imperative to prepare the ground first. Ensure the area you'll be planting in is thoroughly weeded six weeks earlier, then give the area another once over for new weed growth before you start. Finally, add some plant food at the same time as your new plants.

For speed, opt for more mature plants to start with. Hedge plants are usually sold as either bare root, root-balled or container/pot grown. While neither option is definitively superior, if you want to increase privacy in your garden quickly, container grown is the strongest option.

For Laurel and Leylandii, spacing plants at a distance of no less than 60cm is ideal. If you're not so concerned about achieving a screening effect quickly, you can even afford to space out a little further up to 1 metre apart. Bamboo should be spaced according to the size of the particular species, but as a guide you’ll usually be aiming for 1 plant per 100-150cms. Privet should be planted closer together - 4 plants per metre is perfect. How deep you need to plant will depend on the size of the plants you’ve purchased - your supplier should be able to advise you on this.

Communication is the key

Finally, if you’re planting a privacy hedge along a shared border, considering having a friendly chat with your neighbour before you begin. Tall, dense hedges can block out natural light, so your neighbours may be concerned about this. Make a point of reassuring them that you’ll be keeping your new hedge maintained to a reasonable height over the years to come.

Grow Your Own Privacy


Plant screens have loads of purposes, whether you want to create a shady space, an outdoor room, or block out the neighbours. Growing living walls is a great way to increase privacy while boosting your gardens natural beauty.

Here are our top tips for growing a plant privacy screen:

Determine the type of tree that best suits your needs

Evergreens are great for reducing noise and screening all year long. Deciduous trees offer a wider variety of landscaping elements including spring flowers or autumn colors but do not provide a year round screen.

Here are some common New Zealand hedging options:

  • bamboo – fast growing
  • photinia – can grow up to 2 metres
  • michelia figo – great for sound proofing
  • camellia – comes in two main varieties – japonica and sasanqua. For hedging and screening, the sasanqua is the preferred choice with its faster growing habit, smaller leaves and better sun tolerance
  • eugenia ventenatii (weeping lilly pilly) – one of New Zealand’s favourite hedge trees, this evergreen shrub has glossy green leaves tipped bronze/red on new growth
  • griselinia – can be grown at any height and is excellent in coastal gardens, but intolerant of prolonged wet feet and only moderately frost hardy.

Decide how high you would like the screen

Determine how high you want your screen. Put a ladder or have someone stand where you are considering placing the hedge, this will let you visually see how high you want your screen.

Talk to the team at your local Palmers, they can let you know what varieties will best meet your height requirements.

Decide how much width you have available

After figuring out how high you want your hedge, the next step is to determine how much space you have available. If you have a large amount of space you may consider making a double or triple row. If the space is tight you may want to stick with a single row of plants that don’t get too bushy. Planting in rows close together, trees and shrubs will not spread out as wide as if they were a single species in a landscape.

Map out your area

Now that you have decided on the type of plants you are after, map out the area you would like to fence with your plants. You can do this by putting wooden stakes in the ground at each end and tying a string between them. This will make sure you have a straight row or rows.

Get planting

For hedges, it is best to dig a straight trench when planting bare root shrubs. For containerized plants, individual holes work best.

Training your plants

Start training your shrubs after it is established and growing vigorously. Generally this takes 1-2 seasons after planting.

To train as a hedge, trim top and sides a few times per year as necessary, removing about one-half the length of new shoots. Most needled evergreens make their growth early in the season, while most broadleaf evergreens and deciduous plants grow over a longer period of time. Ideal hedge shapes are wider at the base than the top, to allow sunlight to reach the lower leaves.

As well as offering an enjoyable garden shopping experience, our Garden Centres host a range of other fantastic retailers including cafes, gift shops and florists.

For inspiration, professional advice and the latest in NZ gardening trends, Palmers is the place to be.

Plant Space: Eugenia plants 3 to 5 feet apart to encourage their branches to mingle together and form a solid hedge. A partially sunny site is ideal. Eugenia is not picky about soil type, but it should not sit in standing water. Improve soggy locations with one-third peat moss or compost to facilitate drainage.

Water: Your Eugenia hedge during extreme drought. The leaves will start to curl when drought stressed. Water at ground level with several gallons of water for deep penetration.

Fertilize: Each Eugenia plant in spring, summer and fall with 1/2 cup organic, balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10. Gently scratch the granules into the mulch or top layer of soil above the root zone with gloved fingers or a handheld, 3-prong cultivator.

Maintain: A 1- to 2-inch layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark, throughout the year to conserve water and protect the roots from sun damage.

Trim: Eugenia up to six times a year with hedge clippers to maintain its size and tight, manicured appearance. Eugenia grows 12 to 20 feet tall if left alone, but you can prune it as low as 5 feet.

Watch the video: Eugenia Plant Propagation Process

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