Top 12 Fast Growing Shrubs
Last Updated on
Fast Growing Shrubs
If you are looking for quick growing plants, then chances are you are trying to create some form of privacy screen, wind break or informal hedge. Alternatively, you simply want a faster growing shrub to fill in a gap or hide an unsightly view.
It is important to take a few pointers into consideration when deciding which types of fast growing bushes to plant. If you want to form a screen or similar, as well as needing year round colour, then you want to probably want to plant evergreen shrubs as deciduous shrubs will drop their leaves and may not provide as much screening in the winter months. However deciduous shrubs are usually flowering shrubs which will provide lots of flower colour as well as being attractive to bees and butterflies, as well as providing cover for small birds. Some deciduous shrubs such as Cornus provide winter colour with their bright red stems which can grow 2-3ft in 12 months.
Other considerations to think about, include, what height you want the screen to be, bear in mind that fast growing shrubs will probably not stop growing and may need pruning. This may be a problem for smaller gardens whilst larger gardens may have the room for the eventual heights and spreads and not need pruning.
We have split our top 12 Fast growing plants into two groups
- Fast growing flowering shrubs (usually deciduous)
- Fast growing evergreen shrubs
Fast growing flowering shrubs
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Buddleia davidii and Buddleia alternifolia (which is more of a weeping variety) and are both fast growing shrubs that will grow to around 3 metres (10ft) tall. They are drought tolerant and will grow in most soil types as long as its well-drained. Ideally suited for full sun or partial shade they don’t require pruning, but a little dead-heading will encourage more flowers. They often respond well to pruning back hard in spring as the new growth encourages more flowers. They are ideal for cottage gardens or informal hedging, the flowers attract bees and butterflies and are ideal for wildlife gardens. Buddleia are deciduous but often hold their leaves into the winter.
Forsythia – Available from Thompson Morgan
Another deciduous, medium sized shrub that grows to around 150-200cm (5-7ft) tall and is ideal for hedging, sloping banks and informal gardens. They also grow well in seaside locations and will grow in most soil types as long as its well-drained. They will thrive in full sun or partial shade, in sheltered or exposed sites and produce masses of yellow tubular flowers profusely before the leaves in early spring. For this reason they are ideal for adding some spring colour to the garden.
Forsythia shrub – Image credit: wikimedia.org
Lavatera (Tree Mallow)
Lavatera ‘Breddon Springs’ also known as Tree Mallow, produces mauve-pink funnel shaped flowers which are around 6cm across in summer. They are great for providing both colour and a screen and grow to around 6ft tall. Best planted in full sun in most well-drained soils, it has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Although it is classed a semi-evergreen it often holds it’s large lobed green leaves throughout the winter once established. Ideal for coastal and informal gardens and are ideal as a wall side shrub. Height x Spread: 180cm x 120cm
Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’ – Available from Thompson Morgan
Also known as Beauty Berry, this good all round shrub adds colour to the garden during Autumn and into winter when tiny masses of lilac berries appear that are 4mm across. This is a large shrub which will reach height of 4 metres (13ft). It is low maintenance as it does not require pruning except for keeping to within a certain size. Grows well in most well-drained soil in exposed or sheltered positions in full sun or partial shade.
Philadelphus opulus – Available from Thompson Morgan
Mock orange as it is also known is a large fast growing shrub that produces double, round, football-shaped pure white highly fragrant flowers from around June – July. They prefer fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade and will grow to around 2.5 metres x 2.5 meters.
Cornus (Dogwood) – View now on Thompson Morgan to see colours
There are several types of Cornus but the cultivars which are fast growing are Cornus alba, C. sericea and C. sanguinea. They are grown for their vibrant winter stem colour. The red stemmed varieties look particularly striking. They will grow in any soil type and will even grow well in damp conditions where other plants might fail. Ideally they need pruning back hard every March which will soon be replaced by new growth which form a dense leafy shrub followed by the striking stems in winter. Some varieties also have variegated foliage which looks attractive during the summer as well. They will grow in full sun or semi shade but if in a shady spot it is best to prune back every 3 years. Grows to approximately 3 metres x 3 metres.
Another fast growing shrub which is sometimes known as a ‘Koreanspice shrub’, growing to around 6ft (180cm) tall by a similar width. It is also ideal for smaller gardens as well as larger ones. It has lobed green foliage which is coppery orange when young and it produces red buds which open into the most beautiful and fragrant snowball shaped flowers before the red berries appear in autumn.This deciduous very hardy shrub is ideal for informal hedges or shrub borders.
Viburnum carlesii – source: wikipedia.org
Fast growing evergreen shrubs
Pyracantha (Firethorn) – Buy on Thomson Morgan here
Pyracantha is the first evergreen shrub on our list and the plant this site is named after. Most types are ideal for filling in gaps, forming hedges, training against a wall and nearly every other situation you can probably think of. This thorny shrub with its glossy green leaves produces masses of white flowers in May – June followed by the bright berries which can be red, orange or yellow in the Autumn which provide food for birds. They can grow to 3 metres x 3 metres and grow in most soils as long as it well-drained.
Pyracantha – Credit: wikimedia.org
There are over 100 species of Mahonia but the variety which is most common and fast growing is Mahonia ‘Japonica’. It reaches over 200cm tall (6.6ft) but has a spread of 400cm (13ft) making it ideal for screening. This evergreen shrub has spiky green foliage which turns reddish pink in Autumn and winter which compliment the bright spikes of yellow flowers in Autumn and winter which smother the plant. It is very hardy and will grow in any soil types as long as it is well-drained and will grow in full sun as well as in woodland areas in partial shade and even shade.
This fast growing shrub or small tree has wide leathery green leaves and produces small white flowers in Autumn. It grows to around 250cm x 250cm and is ideal for shrub borders as well as formal hedging and screens. Will grow in most soils including damp but well-drained and it is drought tolerant so is ideal for dryer parts of the garden as well.
Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’ – Available on Thompson Morgan
Photinia is a fast-growing dense evergreen shrub that can reach heights of 15ft by 15ft wide and is often grown as hedging or specimen shrub. It has large leathery dark green leaves and produces white flattened flowers but the real eye catcher is the young red foliage that appears in spring.
More commonly known as Common Holly, this spiky evergreen shrub will grow into a small tree or large shrub and produces red berries in autumn. It will grow in most soil types as well as more shady areas of the garden. Although it is relatively slower growing for the first couple of years and when young, it is a quite fast growing shrub. If instant speed is essential then it may be best to buy a more established plant of this variety, these can often be purchased root balled from mail order nurseries from Autumn and through the winter.
Ilex – Image Credit: wikimedia.org
The following shrubs are usually associated with planting a hedge but are worth considering if you are looking for a fast growing, evergreen shrub.
If you are considering planting a hedge, then our fast growing hedging guide might be useful – read here
- Leyland Cypress (Leylandii)
- Green and Golden Privet
- Prunus laurocerasus (Common Laurel)
Thompson & Morgan do a larger selection of fast growing plants – Click here to few their very large selection