Hedges and screens, both formal and informal have been part of the landscape garden for centuries. They fulfill an important function in defining parts of the garden and transforming the whole garden into smaller compartments. They are often planted on boundaries for privacy and in some instance’s security. Low growing boxed hedges are an integral part of all formal gardens where they are specifically planted for creating order and definition.

Most of these plant types benefit from regular clipping in their formative years, commencing immediately after planting. This ensures a tight and compact growth habit as young plants ensuring full cover later on in their development. It’s vital that hedges have a well branched base on younger plants to prevent gaps or “bald patches” appearing as they grow and mature. Regular clipping, trimming and pruning is the key to neat and tidy formal hedges.  The less the amount of plant removed at each successive cutting the better for the hedge.

This list contains shrubs suitable for low boxed hedging 20cm to 60cm tall (low).  Medium shrubs can be contained at around 1m to 2m in height with regular trimming (medium).  Tall hedging shrubs will grow well in excess of 2m and may even reach the proportions of a small tree if left to grow unclipped (tall).

Trees are planted as boundary hedges, screens and windbreaks. Most types can be topped to control ultimate growth height.

Shrubs (low to medium growing)

Key: (E) = evergreen (D) = deciduous (I) = indigenous (T) = thorns (F) = fruit (S) = seed
Hedge size key: (low) = 20 cm to 60 cm high (medium) = 1 m to 2 m high (tall) = 1,5m to 3m high

Abelia x grandiflora (glossy abelia) (ED) low to medium
Abelia x grandiflora ‘Dwarf Gnome’ (dwarf glossy abelia) (E) low
Abelia x grandiflora ‘Francis Mason’ (golden abelia) (E) low to medium
Aloe arborescens (krantz aloe) (E) (I) (T) medium
Bambusa multiplex (hedging bamboo) (ED) medium to tall
Bougainvillea hybrids and cultivars (bougainvillea) (ED) (T) medium to tall
Buddleja salviifolia (sagewood) (E) (I) medium to tall
Buxus microphylla ‘Faulkner’ (small leaf box) (E) low
Buxus sempervirens ‘Superba’ (box hedge) (E) low
Callistemon citrinus ‘Endeavour’ (bottlebrush) (E) medium to tall
Camellia sasanqua hybrids (autumn flowering camellia) (E) medium to tall
Carissa macrocarpa (Natal plum or Amatungulu) (E) (I) (T) medium
Carissa macrocarpa ‘Green Carpet’ (dwarf Natal plum) (E) (I) (T) low
Cuphea Mexicana ‘White Wonder’ (false heather) (E) low
Dovyalis caffra (Kei apple) (D) (I) (T) (F) medium to tall
Duranta erecta ‘Golden’ (golden dewdrop) (ED) low to medium
Duranta ‘Goldmine’ (variegated golden dewdrop) (ED) medium to tall
Euphorbia milii (Christ thorn) (D) (T) low
Freylinia tropica (honeybell bush) (E) (I) medium
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (shoe black plant) (ED) medium
Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’ (American holly) (E) medium to tall
Laurus nobilis (sweet bay) (E) medium to tall
Ligustrum ibota (small leaf privet) (ED) low to medium
Ligustrum ovalifolium ‘Aureum’ (golden privet) (ED) medium
Mackaya bella (river bells) (E) (I) medium to tall
Nandina domestica (sacred bamboo) (ED) medium
Nandina domestica ‘Pygmaea’ (miniature sacred bamboo) (ED) low
Photiniax fraseri ‘Red Robin’ (red robin) (E) medium to tall
Pittosporum tenuifolium (lemonwood) (E) medium to tall
Punica granatum (pomegranate) (ED) (T) medium to tall
Rhagoda hastata (salt bush) (E) low to medium
Rosa floribunda ‘Knock Out’ (rose) (D) (T) medium
Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Tuscan Blue’ (upright rosemary) (E) low
Spiraea x arguta (garland may bush) (D) low
Spiraea cantoniensis ‘Flora Plena’ (Cape may bush) (D) medium
Syzygium pondoense (Pondo water wood) (E) (I) medium
Tecoma capensis ‘Lutea’ (yellow Cape honeysuckle) (E) (I) medium
Viburnum odoratissimum (shiny leaf snowball) (E) medium to tall
Viburnum tinus ‘Lucidum’ (evergreen viburnum) (E) medium
Viburnum tinus ‘Gwenllian’ (dwarf evergreen viburnum) (E) low to medium
Westringia fruticosa (Australian rosemary) (E) low to medium

Trees (tall growing)

Key: (E) = evergreen (D) = deciduous (I) = indigenous (T) = thorns (F) = fruit (S) = seed
Hedge size key: (low) = 20 cm to 60 cm high (medium) = 1 m to 2 m high (tall) = 1,5m to 3m high

Brachylaena discolour (coastal silver leaf) (E) (I)
Buddleja saligna (false olive) (E) (I)
Conifer – Cedrus deodora (deodar) (E)
Conifer – Cupressus sempervirens ‘Stricta’ (cemetery cypress) (E)
Conifer – Cupressus sempervirens ‘Swane’s Gold’ (gold pencil cypress) (E)
Conifer – Cupressus torulosa ‘Compacta’ (Himalayan cypress) (E)
Conifer – Podocarpus falcatus (Outeniqua yellowwood) (E) (I)
Conifer – Podocarpu shenkellii (Henkel’s yellowwood) (E) (I)
Conifer – X Cuprocyparis leylandii (Leyland’s cypress) (E)
Citrus aurantiifolia ‘Tahiti’ (Bearr’s lime) (E) (T) (F)
Dodonaea angustifolia (wild sand olive) (E) (I)
Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’ (bull bay) (E)
Melaleuca bracteata‘Revolution Gold’ (Johannesburg gold) (E)
Olea europaea subsp africana (wild olive) (E) (I)
Populus simonii ‘Fastigiata’ (upright poplar) (ED)
Syzygium paniculatum (Australian brush cherry) (E) (F)

Key: (E) = evergreen (D) = deciduous (I) = indigenous (T) = thorns (F) = fruit (S) = seed
Hedge size key: (low) = 20 cm to 60 cm high (medium) = 1 m to 2 m high (tall) = 1,5m to 3m high