The Q&A Archives: Suggestions for two different types of shrubs?

Question: I'm on the board of an Homeowner's Association and we are looking for two different types of hedges. Both semi-formal, neat/tidy clean in appearance and easy to maintain.
1. Tall dense evergreen fast growing hedge to hide fences. 16-20 inches of planting space between curb and fence. Ficus (hedge style) has been suggested and we love the look (shiny leaves and color), but are concerned about the roots? Can you suggest a few alternatives?
2. Low compact billowy colorful evergreen bush for flower boxes in front of porches. Needs to be kept below 2.5-3 feet in height. Nandina

Answer: Ficus would work, as would Cupressocyparis leylandii (Leyland Cypress), a fast growing pyramidal evergreen, with dark green foliage and good vigor. Great for screening.Grows to over 25' tall. Ilex x Nellie Stevens (Nellie Stevens Holly), a pyramidal holly growing to 20? tall, dwith ark green foliage and heavy red fruit production. One of the fastest growing hollies. Or Thuja Green Giant, a fast growing columnar evergreen growing up to 5' per year 35-45' or so. Vigorous & fast growing, dark green foliage stays green in winter.

For the smaller plant, consider boxwood or Nandina domestica Harbor Dwarf. This dwarf version of the species grows 2?-3? tall with the same elegant lacy foliage. Bronze orange and red fall color, white flowers and red fruit persists through winter.

Best wishes with your landscaping project.

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