The Q&A Archives: Hedge for Desert Climate

Question: I live in the High Desert of California. I want a privacy hedge that will grow to at least 6' tall but won't go crazy and get to over 10' if I don't watch it, or so wide it goes too far through the chain-link fence into our neighbor's yards. Is there anything that won't grow too wide, is still dense enough for privacy, and able to grow in our area?

Answer: There are several plants to consider: Abutilon palmerii (desert abutilon, indian mallow) Grows up to 5 feet high and as wide with an upright and open form. Velvety heart-shaped leaves and flowers like hollyhocks lend an almost tropical quality. Plants tolerate hot, dry conditions but soak the root zone every week or so in summer to maintain appearance. Anisacanthus (desert honeysuckle) Two Anisacanthus species share the common name of desert honeysuckle. Hummingbirds and butterflies flock to the tubular, nectar-filled flowers of both species. Plants are semideciduous and excellent for wildlife habitats. Plants grow 3 to 5 feet high and as wide with a natural, open form. Cut plants back to 12 inches in late winter for renewed growth in spring. Well-drained soil is necessary. Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. brevifolius ?Mexican Fire? and A. quadrifidus var. wrightii ?Mexican Flame?? are grown for their abundant orange flower clusters. Most flowering occurs midsummer until frost. Both are hardy to 10?F. Parents are native to Chihuahuan Desert. A. thurberi produces orange or yellow tubular flowers that bloom in spring and summer. Hardy to 20?F. Native to Arizona and New Mexico. Juniperus chinensis ?Armstrongii?. Armstrong juniper, is a showy, compact, semi-erect conifer from 4 to 5 feet high. Symmetrical with a close-knit growth habit. Attractive, medium green, lacy-textured foliage. Myrtus communis (Myrtle) Grown for its aromatic, dark green, glossy leaves, this shrub has white flowers in the spring and summer, followed by dark blue berries. Ideal hedging plant and natural foundation plant to 10 feet high, it also accepts shaping well. Accepts some shade. Native to the eastern Mediterranean. ?Compacta?, dwarf myrtle, has smaller leaves and a more compact growth habit to 3 to 4 feet high?ideal for low hedging or foreground planting. Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo) This compact, evergreen shrub grows 5 to 8 feet high. It is a highly versatile plant for small areas. Appearance is bamboolike, with many vertical stems that display distinctive, lacy green leaves. Foliage may turn brilliant shades of red and orange in fall, depending on extent of exposure to sun and cold. Red berries in winter are also an attraction. Great decorative value in containers. Best with eastern or northern exposure; don?t plant on the sunny west side. As plants age, remove old stems to renew growth, otherwise little maintenance required. Dwarf selections are available. Native to India and east Asia. Hope you find something you like!

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "sunset on summer"