Best Natural, Informal Flowering Hedges!

Best Natural, Informal Flowering Hedges!

Hydrangea shrub landscape

Not everything has to be straight rows. Nor does your landscape need to be filled with severely pruned and sheared straight lines.

Sure, there is a place for formal, sheared hedges, or perfectly honed shrubs without a ‘hair’ out of place. Most gardeners don’t have the time or wherewithal to maintain such formally trained shrubbery!

Try these low-maintenance, fuss-free options that won’t turn your landscape into a wild abandon. Enjoy a much more relaxed feel to your landscape without the buzz-cut lines a formal hedge has!

The Informal Hedge

beautiful summer cottage garden view with stone pathway

Installing a relaxed, easy-going hedge for the cottage garden setting, in wildlife borders, and country backdrops. These free-flowing options are go-to for newbies, busy and lazy gardeners alike! Already compact, shapely, and tidy, you can enjoy a landscape with amazing curb appeal with just the bare minimum of training and pruning!

Best Natural Flowering Hedges

Flowering shrubs that naturally form thickets, those that like having close neighbors, and have flowers, colorful foliage, and fruit, are all excellent choices for informal hedges! Many of the following options even have great fall color and winter interest!

Severe pruning also removes fruit in the fall that both you and your wildlife can enjoy. Natural shrubs create a haven that feeds your pollinators in the spring and adds fall and winter interest too.

Great Blooming Shrubs to Grow as Natural Hedges

Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Azalea flowers

Hardy throughout a wide range of growing zones, available in a wide range of colors and forms, plus a mix of evergreen and deciduous options, Rhododendrons and Azaleas are the pinnacles of spring-flowering ornamentals!

Try mixing Azaleas, or plant Bloom-A-Thon® or Encore® Reblooming Azaleas for multiple blooms a year. For larger trusses of flowers and evergreen year-round privacy, try easy-care P.J.M. Rhododendrons or flouncy Boursault Rhododendrons.

Flowering Quince

Common flowering quince

With vibrant blooms, fine texture, and arching stems, Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles) has an incredibly underutilized spring color! Pollution-tolerant and adaptable, Quince even has thorny branching to deter trespassers!

A zigzag row of Texas Scarlet adds fiery color, or alternate Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Double Take™ Scarlet with Double Take™ Pink, and Double Take™ Orange Quince for an exotic effect.



Urban tolerant, easy-to-grow Forsythia are golden heralds of spring! Arching and cascading branching, there’s a Forsythia in the size and shape your individual garden needs! 

Try a Show Off® for upright growth, the large Meadowlark, a midsized Northern Gold, or a small Gold Tide, then mix and match dwarf sizes for a multi-tiered golden display!



Gorgeous and dramatic, deciduous Ninebark (Physocarpus) shrubs have fantastic dark foliage! Other varieties can have dark green leaves and a few others have chartreuse! All have gorgeous clusters of pinkish-white blooms and great fall colors!

Try the mid-sized Darts Gold or Proven Winners® Festivus Gold® for vibrant color, or mix in a few Coppertina® or First Editions® Amber Jubilee™ to mellow it. For more red/purple backdrops, plant the dark Panther®, or the reddish Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Ginger Wine®.

Lilac Bushes

Lilac Bush

The Lilac shrub (Syringa) is a fragrant spring bloomer with many sizes, shapes, and colors, plus Bloomerang® Lilacs with repeat blooms too!

Brighten the landscape with Madame Lemoine or Beauty of Moscow, or perfume outdoor garden rooms with Dwarf Korean or other smaller Lilacs. For a tidy look without the work, plant Miss Kim or Violet Uprising™. For big privacy displays, try Agincourt, Charles Joly, or another big Lilac shrub!

Gardenia Bushes


Ultra fragrant, white-flowering, broad-leafed evergreens, Gardenias create a four-season privacy hedge or foundation hedge with these hot climate beauties and their glossy leaves!

Try the narrow-growing Diamond Spire™, the free-flowering Everblooming, or the easy-to-grow and highly-rated Frost Proof. For maximum coverage, try the wide-spreading Miami Supreme Gardenia!

Hydrangea Shrubs

Hydrangea Shrub

It’s going to be difficult to choose just one in the enormous array of Hydrangea! From Panicle, Bigleaf, Mophead, and Lacecap varieties, there’s a Hydrangea for you! These deciduous shrubs have gorgeous foliage and persistent blooms that look great in bouquets and dry on the shrub for winter interest.

Try a monochromatic single-color planting in a straight row, or a varied zigzag of alternating large and small Hydrangeas with smaller plants in the front and larger in the back! Create a backdrop or property-defining hedge throughout the sun to part sun landscape. Try the highly rated First Editions® Vanilla Strawberry™ or the fan-favorite Annabelle. Liven things up with Grateful Red, or cool things off with The Original Bigleaf Hydrangea or Big Daddy. Try something different with a Little Lime® or the fine-textured Quick Fire® hedge.

Dogwood Shrubs


Fine-textured deciduous shrubs, cold-hardy Dogwoods and Red-Osier are flowering and fruiting bushes with variegated or colorful foliage, bird-friendly fall berries, and winter interest in the form of colorful stems. Available in a wide range of sizes, plus spring blooms and fall colors, Cornus species light up the landscape.

Try a native Silky or Muskingum, the vibrant Garden Glow or First Editions® Neon Burst™, or the uniquely textured Pucker Up!®! Can’t choose one color, Prairie Fire has them all! The largest are fast screening and color, and the smallest are wonderfully low-maintenance! Dogwood grows dense enough for colorful screening in the sun or shade!



Weigela are vibrant blooms, repeat flowering, and dramatic color. Feeding pollinators and Hummingbirds, these deciduous shrubs have arching branches that handle full sun and partial shade.

Try a floriferous Reblooming Sonic Bloom® Pink or Wine & Roses®, or the dark mysterious Stunner® or Tuxedo™. Lighten the mood with My Monet Purple Effect®, Sonic Bloom® Ghost®, or the shocking pink and chartreuse of Rubidor or Maroon Swoon® Weigela!



Available in a dramatic array of forms, sizes, colors, and forms, Viburnum shrubs fill every niche needed from full sun to full shade! From spring and summer blooms, a mix of broad-leaf evergreen and deciduous forms, plus colorful berries for humans and birds, there’s a Viburnum bush for your unique needs!

There is the fragrant Korean Spice, Arrowwood Viburnums with ornamental berries, there are big mophead Snowball varieties, lacecap Nannyberry, and almost all have fall color! For dark foliage try the Shiny Dancer® or Forest Rouge Blackhaw, for edible berries try the Cranberrybush Viburnum, but if outstanding blooms are what you seek, look no further than Doublefile Viburnum! Some of these shrubs can get big create shelterbelts, and windbreaks in a broad range of growing zones! 

Honorable Mention: Mock Orange Bushes

Mock Orange Bush

Underutilized Mock Orange (Philadelphus) shrubs are northern climates' answer to the Gardenia. Highly scented, citrusy white blossoms and deciduous green leaves, Mockorange are incredibly adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions and perfume your seating areas while adding privacy! Block the nosy neighbor with a row of fragrant Buckleys Quill or Natchez, or the darling little Snowbelle Mock Orange.

Other Options

  • Privet and Boxwood, both of which have flowers and berries when not pruned
  • Shrub Roses and Barberry have deterrent thorns for the prettiest property defense around
  • Airy and arching stems of Spirea that also grow in every color, size, and shape available
  • Shade-loving Dwarf Honeysuckle bushes

Tips and Tricks

Flowers on Landscape

Choose the right shrub by finding your growing zone, then find how much sun your location gets a day, remembering to monitor the sunlight available for the entire length of the row. Sometimes an end may be in shade or in full sun, so taking this into account is vital to have a continuous, healthy, and uniform hedge.

Most plants need well-drained soil that’s enriched. Check your soil for any areas that remain soggy after rain and berm the area to raise roots up over the water table.

It’s especially important to ensure you have nothing in the way (above or below ground) that will interrupt or interfere with your shrub's placement by calling your local Diggers Hotline

Spacing Informal Flowering Hedges

Dog and landscape

Start planning your hedge by measuring the length you need to fill. Then after narrowing down your options as far as growing zone, sun, soil, and moisture, check out the mature plant height and width in the Plant Highlights to know how many shrubs you’ll need.

Choose a monochromatic color scheme for a formal-looking informal hedge. While mixing up the colors of the same type of plant, it creates a fun and quirky display!

Tight Spacing - Max Property Definition, Screening & Privacy

Azalea Landscape

Let's say you are planting a hedge with a mature size of 5-6 feet wide, then you should plant these new plants 2-3 feet on center to make a nice solid screen that you don’t need to shear, but let add the new growth naturally for a dense natural look.

Use this method for maximum privacy and deter trespassers, but you’ll have to purchase more shrubs to create this effect.

Medium Spacing - Informal Fill


For that same mature 5-6 foot wide shrub with a more relaxed feel, you can space the plants 3-4 feet on center for a bit more open natural screen that is soft and natural.

This gives the look and appearance of a solid row visually, yet still adds privacy, a relaxed spacing also highlights individual shrubs so their beauty can shine.

Light Spacing - Natural Groves & Groupings

To create the look and feel of a living fence, need fewer shrubs, while still hiding eyesores with both even and odd spacing, plant your shrubs wider for a very informal barrier. This method allows for smaller shrubs to be planted between the larger ones for more fill and a varied, multi-level effect.

Mixed Shrub Borders

Garden mixed flowers landscape

Get the patchwork-quilt look by mixing and matching different shrubs! Plant shrubs that flower at different times, produce fruit at different times, have a variety of foliage textures and colors, plus a range of fall colors, and you’ll create a varied effect that changes throughout the season. Mix in a few evergreen and broad-leaved evergreens for year-round privacy and color in winter!

Pruning Natural Flowering Shrub Hedges


All shrubs need some pruning each year to keep them healthy and remove any wild hairs, dead limbs, suckers, or crossed branching. But there is no need for shears. A pair of hand pruners for once-a-year maintenance is all that is needed!

When pruning flowering shrubs that bloom on old wood, prune immediately after the flowers fade or you’ll accidentally prune off next year's flowers but removes that year's fruit. Shrubs that bloom on new wood, need pruning in the late winter, or very early spring before new growth emerges.

Keep the natural form, without removing flowers or fruit, Renewal Pruning allows you to select the oldest, fattest stems and cut them out at the ground level. You’ll leave the younger, more vigorous stems to fruit and flower.

Relax and Go Natural!

For a plant-it-and-forget-it privacy or screening hedge, flowering living walls, or perfumed garden rooms, that don't require any work, look no further than these natural flowering options!

Nature doesn’t have sharp edges or precisely rounded bushes! Add easy-going beauty and definition to your property today with the help of!

Happy Planting!

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