Hedges are important elements of many gardens as they provide screening and shelter and can be grown to divide up internal garden spaces. As well, they provide a vertical element in gardens and can offer a safe habitat for wildlife. They can also provide seasonal colour - for example, from flowers or fruit. Hedges are also a great way to introduce native plants into the garden - there are many great options for native hedging plants which they are dense, evergreen and reasonably fast growing.


Planting and caring for hedges

Plants grown as hedges can be planted more closely together than the plant grown as a specimen. Close planting encourages a dense hedge that fills in quickly after just a few years of growth. As general rule, shrubs can be planted 50-100cm apart depending on their width. Use the width of the plant as a guide to good spacing allowing more space between wider plants. Run irrigation along the hedge line at planting to enable easy regular watering. Fertilise with a native plant food in spring. Clip hedging plants lightly all over to keep them dense. Once established, most hedges need to be clipped once or twice a year during their growing period. To maintain flowering, prune flowering hedges after flowering is finished. To help promote fast growth in your hedge, follow the tips in this article.


Top native hedging plants and shrubs

Here are seven of our favourite native shrubs for garden hedges. All can be grown successfully in Sydney gardens.


Commonly known as bottlebrush due to its ‘bottlebrush’-like flowers, Callistemon can be grown as a tall informal hedge up to 3-5m high. There are also very compact bottlebrush varieties including ‘Great Ball of Fire’ and ‘Little John’, which form low hedges under a metre high. These small varieties are mainly grown for their compact habit and dark green foliage but do produce flowers. Grow in full sun. Tolerates wet soil.



There are many species and named varieties of grevillea. Tall toothbrush varieties make fantastic informal native hedging plants, especially in warm, frost-free climates. ‘Robyn Gordon’ is variety that’s grown as a 1m high hedge across a wide range of climates. Grevilleas are a good choice for a habitat hedge as the flowers are very attractive to birds and insects and the growth is dense and protective for shelter. Grevilleas suit a wide range of climates and garden conditions. Grows in sun or part shade.

Grevillea 'Robyn Gordon'.



Also known as tea tree or paperbark, Leptospermum is available in many named varieties that can be grown be grown as a formal clipped or informal hedge to around 1-2m. Coloured bronze or crimson leaf forms make interesting choices for a hedging. Leptospermum flower in spring. To have a flowering hedge, hold off pruning until after flowering Grow in sun to part shade and provide regular moisture.


Lilly pilly

Lilly pillies (Acmena, Syzygium spp. and Waterhousea spp.) are among the best of all the native hedging plants with many named varieties. As well as bright green leaves, lilly pillies have pretty white flowers and red to purple edible berries. Some, such as Syzygium luehmannii, have colourful new growth. Select a variety that grows to the height and width preferred for the location to reduce maintenance. Also look for varieties that are resistant to pests and diseases - 'Resilience' is a popular choice. Lilly pillies grow in full sun or with part shade but will flower and fruit better with full sun and regular water.

Syzygium luehmannii x wilsonii 'Cascade'.



Also known as coast rosemary, Westringia fruticosa is a good choice for a 1m high evergreen formal hedge. It is also suited to playgrounds and school gardens. It has compact growth, white flowers and attractive grey green leaves. Grow in full sun in well-drained soil.


White correa

Correa alba naturally forms a dense hedge rounded hedge which can be kept clipped to any height around 1-1.5m. This shrub has attractive small, rounded leaves that are dark green with a white underside. The plant also has white flowers. Grows in sun or part shade. Water well to establish, after which this plant is drought hardy.



Not quite a hedge, but if you're looking for a low, grass-like border to edge a garden bed or path, select dianella. It produces 40-60cm high clumps of mid green strappy leaves and sprays of white to blue flowers in spring followed by attractive blue berries in summer. Look for named varieties and choose the height required. ‘Little Jess’ only grows to 40cm high and wide and forms a long-lived clump. Dianella varieties are suitable for a wide range of climates and garden conditions. Grows in sun or part shade.

Dianella 'Cassa Blue'.


Wondering how to care for your new native hedging plants? Flower Power has plenty of advice. Click here for a comprehensive guide to caring for Australian native plants, or read this article for all the advice you need on autumn hedge maintenance.