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Top 12 Fast Growing Evergreen Shrubs For Filling In Spaces Quickly

Last updated on May 5th, 2022

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There are many wonderful options you have for your garden to not only add rich colours, but also a variety of shapes, sizes and layers to create an overall aesthetically pleasing design. To that end, whether you need something to grow in a shrub border, create a hedge, spread as a groundcover or catch the eye effectively as a specimen plant, there are evergreen shrubs that are fast-growing, perfectly suited to the task at hand.

Below is a list of the top 10 fast-growing evergreen shrubs that you can use for a variety of fashions in your garden and are perfect for many different themes and designs, ranging from rock gardens to coastal gardens. Each of the plants on this list is evergreen and is fast-growing, which means they will provide colour all year round and they will spread to fill the existing space rapidly so you won’t need to wait a long time for a shrub to manifest in the form of a full privacy screen or hedge around the perimeter of your garden. Moreover, the majority of the options on this list have such flexibility that they will grow in almost any soil condition or pH level.

1. Hypericum ‘Hidcote’ – St John’s Wort

One of the most popular of plants for attracting Wildlife is commonly referred to as St John's Wort. It produces a collection of golden yellow flowers that get up to 5cm in diameter spanning from the summer into the autumn. When planted it will become dense which makes it great for a shrub border. It does well in dappled shade or partial shade so long as the soil is well-drained.

This is a great plant for attracting wildlife to your garden and is more commonly known as St John’s Wort.  The flowers produced have a great deal of pollen and nectar so they will bring ample numbers of bees to your garden, something to be aware of if you are looking to add more bees, or if you want to avoid bees. St John’s Wort produces gold and yellow flowers that are stunning to the eye and about 5cm in diameter.

If you have an area where you want something to grow quickly, this plant will cultivate dense shrubs effectively in dappled shade or partial shade. It is best grown in areas where it gets protection against the heavy wind, so underneath a tree, between other shrubs or up against a wall is perfect. If it is starting to outgrow the space you have available you can prune it between September and November and you want to prune it after the flowers have run their course.

Once fully established, this plant will span about 1.5 metres both in height and spread but, of course, you can prune it regularly to keep the shape that you want. This is a very effective plant to consider if you have anything but ideal soil because it is quite tolerant of a wide range of soil types and pH levels.

1 X HYPERICUM 'HIDCOTE' SEMI-EVERGREEN SHRUB HARDY GARDEN PLANT IN POT
  • Grown in Scotland for a hardy impressive shrub
  • Propogate from semi-hardwood cuttings
  • Generally pest free
  • Generally disease free plants when growing

2. Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’

This broadleaf evergreen shrub gets its nickname ‘Red Robin’ because of the dramatic red coloured new growth. This is a large, hybrid shrub that can reach up to five metres tall and wide, making it great for creating hedges or used as specimen plants. The dark green leaves are serrated and new growth starts out a copper-red colour (as pictured above) these red leaves eventually change to dark green and during the spring, you can enjoy small white flowers that bloom from the end of April throughout the season.

You don’t need to allow the flowers to grow because some argue they have an unpleasant aroma, in which case, you can prune come spring to stimulate more of the red leaf growth rather than the flowers. However, if you allow the flowers you will eventually get red fruit from spring through winter. Once it is fully established, as many of these fast-growing evergreen shrubs, it is very drought tolerant, showy and effective as a stunning plant to have in the garden during winter.

Red Robin Hedging Plants 20-40cm Photinia Christmas Berry Evergreen Hedge Potted (5 Plants)
  • Pot Size: 9cm
  • Height Supplied (incl. pot): 20-40cm * Varies with Pruning
  • Planting Method: Space plants 2-3ft apart for maximum coverage
  • Characteristics: fast-growing, bright red elliptic leaves with new growth, evergreen foliage

3. Prunus lusitanica – Portugal Laurel

The stunning Mediterranean plant, native to Portugal is a large evergreen shrub that brings with it dark brown bark, leathery leaves that span up to 12cm, and rich rhubarb shaded stem. But that's not all. At the end of spring and the beginning of summer, you will find fragrant, small white flowers that lead to red cherries taking on a dark purple shade by the end of autumn.

The stunning Mediterranean plant, native to Portugal, is a large evergreen shrub that brings with it dark brown bark, leathery leaves that span up to 12cm and a rich rhubarb shaded stem. But that’s not all, at the end of spring and the beginning of summer, you will find fragrant, small white flowers that lead to red cherries which take on a dark purple shade by the end of autumn.

These are not cherries that people can eat, however, birds will be drawn to your plant and strip the tree of any cherries almost immediately. This is a perfect shrub for planting as a windbreak, privacy screen or hedge because it will reach up to 7.5 metres in height and 4.5 metres in spread, and even larger if left for many years.

It grows in moist, well-drained soil and thrives in chalky soil as well. It’s quite tolerant of heat, wind, drought and sun. In fact, it requires full sun or partial shade. Moreover, it is deer resistant so if you have trouble with deer in your garden, this is the perfect specimen, shrub border or hedging plant.


4. Escallonia ‘Apple Blossom’

The apple blossom is a compact shrub that has dark green leaves growing along racemes. The Chalice shape it takes on lead way to pink and white flowers that are quite tiny, about 12 mm in which each. When grown it will produce green foliage all year round with the white and pink flowers come summer. It's very bushy and can reach up to 2.5 meters in height and spread at full maturity. Like most fast-growing shrubs, this will tolerate a wide range of environments.

The Escallonia is a compact shrub that has dark green leaves growing along racemes. The shape it takes on leads way to pink and white flowers that are quite tiny, about 12mm in width each. It will produce green foliage all year round with the white and pink flowers appearing in summer. It’s very bushy and can reach up to 2.5 metres in height and spread once fully established. Like most fast-growing shrubs, this will tolerate a wide range of environments.

Most evergreen shrubs that are fast-growing are tolerant of all manner of soils as long as it’s well-drained and moist as well as any range of pH levels, and the Escallonia is no exception. You can plant it in loamy, chalky, clay or sandy soils without needing to make any modifications. It does require full sun or partial shade and should be sheltered from drying winds.


5. Choisya ternata – Mexican Orange Blossom

Commonly referred to as the Mexican Orange Blossom, this broadleaf evergreen shrub is native to Mexico, it produces white blossoms that are sure to draw the eye. This plant is compact and round in its shape. It will reach almost as large as 3 metres tall and wide if left to grow on its own.

The green leaves are not only glossy and beautiful, they are aromatic and span approximately 10cm in size each. This leads the way to small, star-shaped white flowers that are equally as fragrant and can span about 5cm wide. With this plant, you can deadhead and enjoy blooms throughout the summer. From each bloom, you can get fruit that is perfect for attracting birds into your garden.

Both the crushed leaves and the flowers take on a citric fragrance that contributes to its name. It is perfect as a shrub border, a hedge or a specimen plant and is very tolerant of diseases and insects. If you have incredibly cold winter temperatures try to grow it in a place that’s protected from the wind. It does best if it gets morning sunlight and afternoon shade.

1 X CHOISYA 'TERNATA' Mexican Orange Blossom Evergreen Shrub Hardy Plant in Pot
  • Propagate by semi-hardwood cuttings
  • Can get Glasshouse red spider mite and Snails
  • Generally disease free

6. Pyracantha – Firethorn

Pyracantha which is how this website came about encompasses a genus of thorn filled evergreen shrubs. If you are looking for a beautiful shrub to fill your clay-heavy soil, and particularly want one that you can use as a hedge or provide protection against invasive animals

This is a very bold shrub that is one to keep as a hedge, border or specimen plant. In gardens where you might otherwise lack colour, especially during the winter, this plant adds a beautiful vibrancy by way of its eye-catching berries. The plant grows in an upright fashion so it adds height to your garden and displays rich red berries in large clusters which appear later in the season and stay in place throughout the winter. Depending on the variety of the Pyracantha the berries can be red, orange or yellow.

It grows in such a dense cluster that it’s very effective as a windbreak and it has thorny stems, so using it as a screen or a hedge to prevent entry will work quite well once it’s fully established. No matter where you grow it you can enjoy the evergreen colour of the leaves throughout the year and in the spring sit back as you admire the small, white flowers that eventually produce the delightful berries.

The highly ornamental berries are what it is known for, however, they can be cropped into a topiary shape or grown in containers if you so choose. It requires very little water once it gets established but it does need full sun. It grows very quickly and can reach up to 3 metres tall and almost the same in width in its natural form if left unchecked. That said, it can be grown up against a wall and it can also be used as a free-standing plant.

Potted Hardy Plant Pyracantha, Hardy Evergreen Shrub Firethorn with Yellow Autumn Berries for Gardens & Outdoors, 1 x Pyracantha Soleil d'Or Plant in a 2 Litre Pot by Thompson & Morgan
  • Pyracantha ‘Soleil d’Or’, also known as Firethorn, is an easy-to-grow hardy evergreen shrub for gardens and outdoors, producing masses of yellow berries in autumn.
  • This hardy shrub provides year-round structure and screening with its glossy evergreen foliage, along with additional seasonal interest with white flowers in spring and yellow berries in autumn. Attractive to bees and birds, perfect for wildlife gardens.
  • Resilient, reliable and non-fussy, thrives in most locations. This versatile, thorny shrub can also be grown as an effective security hedge.
  • Potted garden plant; Supplied as 1 x Pyracantha ‘Soleil d’Or’ Plant in a 2 Litre pot.Supplied with T&M's very own cultural instructions on how to care for your plants.
  • Your satisfaction guaranteed; we want you to be 100% satisfied with any product you buy from us. If you’re not 100% happy then neither are we, so let us know and we’ll replace your product or give you your money back.

7. Mahonia japonica – Japanese Mahonia

mahonia japonica ideal for screening and autumn winter colour

This plant gets its name from the leaves that grow in pairs up its long stems. These leaves are green with hints of purple and red throughout the season and each has spikes along the perimeter. The leaves are spiny and leathery.

The Mahonia itself grows in an upright fashion and the foliage is certainly distinct. In addition to the green foliage, there are fragrant yellow flowers that draw the eye effectively and these yellow flowers (in very early spring) pave the way for powder blue, clusters of grape-like fruit. The fruit hangs in groups just like grapes and the light, powder blue colour is well suited to an exotic theme. It is perfect for a fast-growing evergreen shrub near rocks or waterfalls and can be pruned to fit into otherwise empty spaces.

It is by design pest and disease resistant and very bird-friendly so it will certainly attract many a bird once the ornamental berries appear. It offers year-round interest and only requires partial sun, and once it’s established there’s very little water required. The spiky edges of the leaves make it a wonderful fast-growing evergreen shrub that abuts the perimeter of your garden because it will act as a successful deterrent.

1 X Mahonia Media 'Winter Sun' Oregon Grape Evergreen Shrub Hardy Plant in Pot
  • Propagate by seed and semi-hardwood cuttings
  • Generally pest free
  • Generally disease free

8. Elaeagnus ebbingei

This hybrid broadleaf evergreen is easily grown in well-drained soil with partial sun or full shade. It is tolerant of shade but it does best with full sun. The lack of sunlight will deter flowers but the plant itself will be sustained. This is a very fast growing shrub and just like other shrubs on this list, it is incredibly tolerant of a wide variety of soils even soil that is otherwise considered poor and infertile. As long as you don't have incredibly wet soil or incredibly dry soil it will do just fine.

This hybrid broadleaf evergreen shrub is easily grown in well-drained soil with partial sun or full shade. It is tolerant of shade but it does best with full sun. The lack of sunlight will deter flowers but the plant itself will be sustained. This is a very fast-growing shrub and just like other shrubs on this list, it is incredibly tolerant of a wide variety of soils, even soil that is otherwise considered poor and infertile. As long as you don’t have incredibly wet soil or incredibly dry soil it will do just fine.

This bushy, rounded shrub can reach up to 3 metres tall and wide. The leaves are a dense evergreen shade that stays that way throughout the winter and are tipped with silver scales. As the leaves get older the dark green colour starts to turn and the silver-grey colour beneath becomes more apparent.

There are flowers that appear between October and November that take on a creamy white shade. The flowers are small but very fragrant and they appear at a time of the season when most other flowers do not, which can add beautiful options and fragrances to your garden throughout the autumn and winter when other plants are dormant. Moreover, these flowers lead way to reddish-brown fruits that are edible once ripened come spring.


9. Prunus rotundifolia – Cherry Laurel

This evergreen is not only effective as a fast-growing evergreen shrub but can be pruned into a hedge or, both. It is the best functioning when it's pruned into single trunk trees but you can avoid pruning and allow it to cultivate its natural, bushy or shape. It assumes an upright form as it grows rather than a flat mat form as so many of the ground cover plants do. This can add more shape to your garden especially if you want different levels or layers to draw the eye. It is very fast growing and will grow approximately 60 cm each year. In fact, if you leave it on kept it will reach upwards of six centimetres tall but you can prune it to whatever height you prefer which makes it very flexible in terms of creating a dense fast growing evergreen shrubs. Unlike other low-growing shrubs, this is something you can plant and have spread, cut to varying heights as you see fit in different parts of your garden. The leaves take on a slightly rounded shape and remain rich and green all year round.

This evergreen Laurel is not only effective as a fast-growing evergreen shrub but can be pruned into a hedge, which is actually what it’s most commonly used for and this is possibly the fasting growing shrub we have seen. It functions the best when it’s trimmed into a screen, however, you can avoid pruning and allow it to cultivate its natural, bushy shape. It assumes an upright form as it grows rather than a flat mat form as so many groundcover plants do. This can add more shape to your garden, especially if you want different levels or layers to draw the eye.

It is very fast growing and will grow approximately 60cm each year. In fact, if left to its own devices it will reach upwards of six metres tall, but you can prune it to whatever height you prefer, making it very flexible in terms of creating dense, fast growing evergreen shrub. Unlike other fast-growing shrubs, this is something you can plant and have spread, cut to varying heights as you see fit in different parts of your garden. The leaves take on a slightly rounded shape and remain rich and green all year round.

5 Cherry Laurel Fast Growing Evergreen Hedging Plants 15-20cm Tall in 10cm Pots 3fatpigs®
  • 5 Cherry Laurel Fast Growing Evergreen Hedging Plants 15-20cm Tall in 10cm Pots 3fatpigs
  • A vigorus evergreen shrub with oval-shaped bright shiny green leaves.It forms a dense hedge of any height on most soils but not shallow chalk and will give up to 60cm growth each year.
  • Common Name: Cherry laurel Genus: Prunus Species: laurocerasus rotundifolia Skill Level: Beginner Exposure: Full sun, Partial shade Hardiness: Hardy Soil type: Well-drained/light, Dry Height: 4m Spread: 1.5m
  • If not clipped the plants will reach 4 metres.widely planted as an ornamental plant in temperate regions worldwide, and has become naturalised widely in some areas. It is often used for screening, and also as a mass landscape and ground cover plant. Most forms are tough shrubs that can cope with difficult growing conditions (including shaded and dry conditions), and which respond well to pruning. The foliage is also used for cut greenery in floristry.
  • For the care of the Cherry Laurel, we recommend to keep the foliage moist throughout the cold and windy weather - this will keep the plant hydrated.

10. Ceanothus ‘Skylark’ – California Lilac

Colloquially known as the California lilac, this dense and compact evergreen shrub is known not just for its ability to spread effectively as a specimen plant but because of the clusters of cerulean blue flowers that show up in the springtime and remain throughout summer.

Colloquially known as the California Lilac, this dense and compact evergreen shrub is known not just for its ability to spread effectively as a specimen plant but because of the clusters of cerulean blue flowers that show up in the spring and remain throughout summer. These flowers are also highly attractive to bees, as well as butterflies and other wildlife.

The leaves are and they are produced as fine-toothed leaves along branches that stick out to produce the richly blue flowers. When it is allowed to thrive on its own it will create a dome shape. This is a great plant to use for groundcover or as hedge in areas that are heavily frequented by deer because deer typically ignore it. An upside is that it attracts bees, birds, and butterflies very effectively so you can bring in all of the wildlife you prefer without worrying that the deer will eat all the flowers.

This particular variety is very tolerant of a wide range of climates so you can use it for creating hedges if you have a coastal garden or an interior garden. Moreover, it performs quite well in all manner of soil types so you don’t need to make amendments in order to allow this plant to grow effectively and it will spread over any areas that are otherwise missing a floriferous display. At its full maturity, it can grow up to 180cm (6ft) tall. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun and once it’s established you will not have to water, even in the summer, because the plant becomes quite drought-tolerant.

1 X CEANOTHUS 'Skylark' Evergreen Shrub Hardy Garden Plant in Pot
  • Grown in Scotland for a hardy impressive shrub
  • Propagate by seed or semi-hardwood cuttings
  • Can get scale insects
  • Can be affected by honey fungus and Phytophthora root disease

11. Euonymus ‘Emerald Gaiety’

This evergreen is known as a winter creeper and it is actually a vine even though most people don’t refer to it as such. This means it will not only grow quickly but it can be trained effectively to spread up and over any structures you want to cover in your garden. On average it creates a bush shape that is about 1 metre in height and 1.3 metres in its spread. This shape can be pruned if necessary or trained as mentioned.

The leaves are rich green colour and they take on white edging along the perimeter of each. When it grows it will grow very quickly, in an upright fashion, which is what allows you to more easily train the vines to go around something. This particular plant is incredibly effective in the form of an ornamental hedge and even more effective when used as a groundcover or as a hedge. You can even use it as a specimen plant because it will spread out new branches at a moderate pace and fill in any spaces in your garden.

Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald Gaiety' Spindle Evergreen Hardy Shrub | 9cm Pot
  • Pot Size (Supplied) - 9cm
  • Plant Height (Incl. Pot) - 15 - 20cm
  • Characteristics - Evergreen shrub, dark green leaves with white edges, small green flowers in clusters, year-round interest, dense and bushy habit, suitable for edging and foundation plantings
  • Growth & Spread - Height 1m - 1.5m, Spread 1.5m - 2m
  • Flourishing Season - Flourishes in spring and summer, flowering in May - June

12. Euphorbia characias subsp. Wulfenii – Mediterranian Spurge

Known as the spurge, this is an upright plant that grows with a woody base and green stems. It reaches up to a meter in height and spread and is a little unusual compared to most other shrubs. The leaves are blue-green in shade arranged in spirals along the stems each of which is topped by greenish-yellow flowers that have stunning incandescence.

Known as the Mediterranean Spurge, this is an upright plant that grows with a woody base and green stems. It reaches up to a metre in height and spread and is a little unusual compared to most other shrubs. The leaves are blue-green in shade arranged in spirals along the stems, each of which is topped by greenish-yellow flowers that have stunning incandescence.

It will grow effectively in well-drained soil as long as it gets full sun or partial shade. It will perform best in Mediterranean-type climates because it does originate in the Balkans and Turkey, however, as long as it’s well-drained soil and you provide moisture during heat waves, it will be just fine. It does require some maintenance because the plants tend to decline after they flower in the spring, at which point you can cut off the flower stems to make room for new growth. When doing this be considerate of the fact that you need to wear gloves at all times because the broken stems produce a milky white sap that can irritate the skin.

Euphorbia characias 'Wulfenii' 15cm Pot Size
  • Evergreen
  • Hardy
  • Grown with care by the Amazon Plant Specialist
  • Please unpack as soon as possible after delivery
  • Plant size varies according to the time of year. We always dispatch the largest plant available on the nursery.

Image credits – Shutterstock.com

Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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