Having a beautiful lush hedge in your garden can add to the overall aesthetic appeal of your home. However, only some have the time or energy to maintain their hedge regularly.
Fortunately, many low maintenance hedge plants can still provide the same beauty without requiring too much attention. In this article, we will discuss the 12 best low maintenance hedge plants in Australia that are perfect for any homeowner who wants to add some greenery to their garden without too much hassle.
If you’re rushed for time and can’t read our full breakdown, here is a table that summarises all the information on each of these low maintenance hedging plants.
|Versatile, minimal pruning required, glossy leaves, vibrant fruits
|Ideal for formal hedges, small dense leaves, slow growth rate, drought-tolerant
|Native to Australia, gray-green leaves, white or purple flowers, drought-tolerant, can grow in a variety of soil types
|Can tolerate a range of soil conditions, thrives in full sun and partial shade, produces small fragrant white flowers, provides excellent privacy and noise reduction
|Low maintenance, drought-tolerant, fast-growing, bright red leaves, white flowers
|Can grow up to 4 metres tall, glossy green leaves, white flowers, can withstand harsh conditions
|Ideal for coastal areas, can withstand harsh coastal winds and salt spray, requires minimal pruning
|Attracts wildlife, unique bottlebrush-shaped flowers, drought-tolerant, can grow in several soil types
|Adapts to a wide range of soil types and climatic conditions, drought tolerant once established, evergreen foliage
|Versatile, fast-growing, adapts well to different soil types and levels of sunlight, resistant to pests and diseases, produces edible berries
|Produces attractive and fragrant white flowers in summer, evergreen foliage, can grow in a variety of soil types and levels of sunlight
|Native to Australia, drought tolerant, evergreen, produces attractive bell-shaped flowers in a range of colours, can grow in a variety of soil types and levels of sunlight
Now, let’s get into it!
1. Lilly Pilly (Syzygium)
Lilly Pilly is one of the most popular hedge plants in Australia, and for a good reason. This plant is incredibly versatile, with different varieties ranging from small shrubs to large trees, making it perfect if you have a narrow space!
The plant’s glossy leaves and vibrant fruits make it a beautiful addition to any garden. Furthermore, Lilly Pilly is low maintenance, with minimal pruning required to maintain its shape.
If you go with this plant, ensure that you care for Lilly Pillies properly to avoid any common diseases or pest infestations.
Lilly Pilly thrives in a variety of soils, but a well-draining one, slightly acidic to neutral (pH 6-7), is ideal.
Ensure that you regularly water during dry periods to aid in steady growth. However, always exercise caution to avoid overwatering! Look here for a full run-down the best fertiliser for Lilly Pilly.
We recommend pruning in spring or autumn to maintain shape, but avoid heavy pruning in late autumn as it might leave plants vulnerable in winter.
2. Japanese Box (Buxus microphylla)
Buxus Microphylla, also known as Japanese Boxwood, is a low maintenance hedge plant that’s perfect for formal hedges. Its small, dense leaves make it easy to shape and maintain, while its slow growth rate ensures that it won’t get out of control. Furthermore, Buxus Microphylla is drought-tolerant, making it an excellent option for those who live in areas with low rainfall.
Japanese Box prefers slightly acidic, well-draining soil. It requires moderate watering; more frequent during dry spells but ensuring the soil isn’t waterlogged!
In our experience with Japanese Box, applying a balanced slow-release fertiliser applied in early spring promotes dense growth. Additionally, you should try to lightly prune the hedge in late spring or summer to maintain shape and size but avoid cutting into old wood.
3. Westringia (Westringia fruticosa)
Westringia is a low maintenance hedge plant that’s native to Australia. Its gray-green leaves and white or purple flowers make it a beautiful addition to any garden. Furthermore, Westringia is drought-tolerant and can grow in a variety of soil types, making it an excellent option for those who live in areas with low rainfall.
Westringia is tolerant to a variety of soils but, like most hedges, prefers well-drained ones. Although it can withstand dry conditions, we do recommend occasional watering during prolonged dry periods.
As with the other hedges, ensure that you apply a slow-release native plant fertiliser in spring for the best results! We also find that pruning after flowering offers more dense growth for this hedge.
4. Murraya (Murraya paniculata)
Murraya paniculata, also known as orange jasmine or mock orange, is a popular plant for those looking for low maintenance hedge options because it is relatively easy to care for. It can tolerate a range of soil conditions and can thrive in both full sun and partial shade. Another reason why Murraya is popular is that it produces small, fragrant white flowers that bloom throughout the year in warmer climates. These flowers not only add beauty to a garden but also attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Furthermore, this plant is known as a Neighbours Be Gone tree, as the Murraya has dense foliage that can provide excellent privacy and noise reduction. Its leaves are glossy and dark green, which adds an element of elegance to a garden.
Murraya prefers rich, well-drained soil and can handle a slightly acidic to slightly alkaline pH range. Like with the other hedges, you can apply a slow release fertiliser in spring or late summer to help maintain healthy growth.
Similar to the Westringia, try pruning after flowering for a more dense, bushier growth.
Photinia is another popular hedge plant in Australia, and it’s easy to see why. This plant is low maintenance, drought-tolerant, and fast-growing, making it a perfect option for those who want a quick and easy hedge solution. The plant’s bright red leaves and white flowers are also a sight to behold, making it an excellent addition to any garden.
Photinia does well in most well-draining soil types! While this plant is reasonably drought resistant, we find that it prefers regular watering the first year of planting. After this period, the hedge can thrive with minimal care.
Photinia responds well to pruning, which is best done in spring, to maintain its size and encourage new, colourful growth.
6. Viburnum (Viburnum odoratissimum)
Viburnum is a low maintenance hedge plant that can grow up to 4 metres tall. It’s perfect for creating a natural screen or barrier, and its glossy green leaves and white flowers make it a beautiful addition to any garden. Furthermore, Viburnum is incredibly hardy and can withstand harsh conditions, making it an ideal option for those living in extreme weather areas.
Viburnum prefers well-drained, moderately fertile soil, but can adapt to other soil types. While it can withstand some drought, we do recommend regular watering to promote healthy growth. Applying a balanced slow-release fertiliser in early spring aids its growth.
In our experience, Viburnum can be pruned heavily if required; with the best time being late winter or early spring.
7. Pittosporum (Pittosporum tenuifolium)
Pittosporum is a low maintenance hedge plant that’s perfect for coastal areas. Its thick, waxy leaves can withstand harsh coastal winds and salt spray, making it an ideal option if you’re living by the beach! Furthermore, Pittosporum is easy to care for and requires minimal pruning to maintain its shape.
Pittosporum grows well in a wide range of well-drained soils. It’s drought-tolerant once established, but regular watering during dry spells is beneficial.
A balanced slow-release fertiliser applied in spring supports healthy growth and we recommend pruning in late spring to maintain shape and encourage new growth.
8. Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus)
Callistemon, also known as Bottlebrush, is a low maintenance hedge plant that’s perfect for attracting wildlife to your garden. Its unique bottlebrush-shaped flowers come in various colours, including red, pink, and white, and they’re a favourite among bees and hummingbirds. Furthermore, Callistemon is drought-tolerant and can grow in several soil types, making it an excellent option for those who live in areas with low rainfall.
In our own experience, Bottlebrushes have a preference for well-drained soil, but they’re impressively resilient, tolerating a variety of soil types. I’ve found they’re drought-tolerant too.
Yet, we have noticed they tend to flourish when given the occasional deep watering during extended dry spells. Applying a slow-release native plant fertiliser in spring has proven to be a good practice, and we’ve observed that a bit of post-flowering pruning helps to maintain their shape while encouraging denser growth.
Agapanthus praecox, also known as African lily or Lily of the Nile, is Australia’s popular low maintenance hedge plant. Agapanthus can adapt to a wide range of soil types and climatic conditions, making it a versatile plant that can be grown in most parts of Australia.
Moreover, this plant is well-suited for the Australian climate as it is drought tolerant once established. Accordingly, this means that it can survive on minimal watering and is ideal for those looking for low maintenance options. Finally, Agapanthus has evergreen foliage, which means it retains its leaves throughout the year, providing year-round greenery and privacy, also making it perfect if you have a pool!
From what we’ve observed, Agapanthus seems to thrive in well-drained soil, showing an admirable adaptability to various soil types.
With Agapanthus, we try to water them deeply, but infrequently once they’re established. We’ve also found it beneficial to feed them with a slow-release fertiliser in spring and early summer.
Although pruning generally isn’t necessary, I do make a point of removing spent flower stalks to keep them looking their best.
10. Acmena (Acmena smithii)
Acmena, also known as Lilly Pilly, is a popular low maintenance hedge plant in Australia. It is versatile, fast-growing, and adapts well to different soil types and levels of sunlight.
Once established, it requires minimal watering and pruning and is resistant to pests and diseases. The plant’s evergreen foliage provides year-round greenery and privacy, while its glossy leaves and white summer flowers add to its visual appeal. The plant also produces edible berries, perfect for those who love to reap the benefits of their hard work!
Overall, Acmena is an attractive, low maintenance option for those looking for a fast-growing, pest-resistant hedge plant that can adapt to different soil and sunlight conditions.
We’ve come to understand that Acmena prefers well-drained soil, but they’re quite tolerant of a range of soil conditions.
Once established, they require minimal watering, but we’ve found that they appreciate a good soak during extended dry periods. I generally use a slow-release native plant fertiliser in spring.
Meanwhile for pruning, a light trim can be done anytime, but we tend to do major pruning in late winter or early spring.
11. Gardenia (Gardenia augusta)
Gardenia is a low maintenance plant that produces attractive and fragrant white flowers in summer. Once established, it requires minimal pruning and watering, making it ideal for those who want a low maintenance garden.
The plant has evergreen foliage, providing year-round greenery and privacy. It can grow in a variety of soil types and is adaptable to different levels of sunlight, making it suitable for many different garden settings. Overall, Gardenia is an excellent option for those who want an attractive and fragrant plant that requires minimal care.
Gardenia, in our experience, prefers a well-drained, slightly acidic soil.
We try to keep the soil consistently moist but steer clear of waterlogged conditions. To feed them, I prefer using an acid-loving plant fertiliser, typically in spring and late summer.
After they flower, we prune them to maintain their shape and remove spent blooms.
12. Correa (Australian fuchsia)
Correa is a low maintenance plant native to Australia that is drought tolerant, evergreen, and produces attractive bell-shaped flowers in a range of colours. It requires minimal pruning and can grow in a variety of soil types and levels of sunlight, making it adaptable to different garden settings. Overall, Correa is a great low maintenance option for those who want an attractive and drought tolerant plant that requires minimal care.
Correa has shown us its adaptability time and time again, growing well in a range of soil types, though it has a clear preference for well-drained soil. It’s drought-tolerant, but we’ve noticed it benefits from occasional watering during prolonged dry spells.
We usually prune after flowering to maintain its shape and encourage bushier growth.
What to consider before selecting your hedge plants
Before you select your hedge plants, you should consider a few things to ensure that you choose the best option for your garden.
Here are some factors to keep in mind:
- Climate: Different hedge plants thrive in different climates, so choosing a plant well-suited to your local climate is important. Consider factors such as temperature, rainfall, and humidity when selecting.
- Size: Hedge plants come in a variety of sizes, so it’s important to choose a plant that is well-suited to the space you have available. Consider the height and width of the plant when fully grown, and ensure that it won’t block any views or overhang any structures.
- Maintenance: Some hedge plants require more maintenance than others, so choosing a plant that fits your lifestyle and gardening preferences is important. If you need more time for pruning and maintenance, choose a low maintenance hedge plant, such as one of the options listed above.
- Purpose: Consider the purpose of your hedge before making your selection. Are you looking to create privacy, add aesthetic appeal, or create a natural barrier? Different hedge plants are suited to different purposes, so choose a plant that aligns with your goals.
- Soil: The soil type in your garden can also impact your choice of hedge plant. Some plants prefer well-draining soil, while others prefer soil rich in nutrients. Consider the type of soil you have and choose a hedge plant that is well-suited to those conditions.
By considering these factors before selecting your hedge plants, you can ensure that you choose the best option for your garden and create a beautiful and functional outdoor space.
Alternatives to hedge plants
Hedge plants are a popular choice for adding structure, privacy, and aesthetic appeal to a garden. However, if you’re looking for alternatives to hedge plants, there are several options to consider.
Here are some alternatives to hedge plants:
- Fences: Fences are a popular alternative to hedge plants as they provide privacy, security, and structure to a garden. They come in a variety of materials and styles, from wood to metal to vinyl, and can be customised to suit your needs and preferences.
- Trellises: Trellises are a great option if you’re looking to add vertical interest to your garden. They can be used to support climbing plants, such as roses or ivy, and can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and PVC.
- Shrubs: While hedge plants are a type of shrub, many other types of shrubs can be used to create a natural barrier or screen. For example, lavender or rosemary can be planted close together to form a fragrant and colourful barrier.
- Living walls: Living walls are a modern and innovative alternative to hedge plants. They are created by attaching plants to a vertical structure, such as a wall or fence, and can be used to add greenery to a small space or create a unique garden feature.
- Bamboo: Bamboo is a fast-growing and sustainable alternative to traditional hedge plants. It can be used to create a natural screen or fence and comes in a variety of colours and heights.
Whether you choose hedge plants or one of these alternatives, there are plenty of options available to help you create the perfect garden for your needs and preferences.
Maintaining a hedge can be time-consuming and tedious, but it doesn’t have to be. Choosing one of these 12 best low maintenance hedge plants in Australia allows you to add beauty and greenery to your garden without the hassle. From Lilly Pilly to Westringia, there’s a low maintenance hedge plant to suit every homeowner’s needs and preferences.
1. What month is best to plant hedges?
According to Australian Plants Online, the best time to plant hedges is typically in the cooler months of autumn or winter.
2. What is the quickest way to grow a hedge?
The quickest way to grow a hedge is to choose a fast-growing variety, provide regular watering and fertilisation, and ensure the plants receive adequate sunlight.
3. How many times a year do hedges need cutting?
Hedges generally need cutting 2-3 times per year, but this can vary depending on the variety and growth rate.
4. How often do I need to prune these low maintenance hedge plants?
The frequency of pruning will depend on the specific plant and the desired shape. However, most of these low maintenance hedge plants only require pruning once or twice a year.
5. Are these low maintenance hedge plants suitable for coastal areas?
Yes, some of these low maintenance hedge plants, such as Pittosporum and Escallonia, are suitable for coastal areas as they can tolerate harsh coastal winds and salt spray.
6. Do these low maintenance hedge plants attract wildlife?
Yes, some of these low maintenance hedge plants, such as Callistemon, are known to attract wildlife such as bees.