Hedges are groups of plants, normally arranged in rows, that form borders around a walkway or mark a property line. They are comprised of bushes, shrubs and, in some cases, small trees or flowers. As such, quick growing hedges can be composed of any plant that grows rapidly and is dense enough to appear solid.
For those looking for privacy, one of the best choices for quick growing hedges is the Nellie Stevens holly. These trees can grow up to 3 feet (91 centimeters) per year until reaching their full height of 15 to 25 feet (4.5 to 7.6 meters). When planted 5 feet (1.5 meters) apart, a row of Nellie Stevens holly can become impenetrable after a few short years. Like most hollies, this tree is an evergreen, so the hedge will provide full privacy year-round. Additionally, the red berries that appear on the bush in winter can add a festive touch to the holiday season.
Black bamboo is a more unconventional selection, but with a typical growth rate of 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.7 meters) per year, the tree is a definite option for quick growing hedges. This type of bamboo also grows wide, measuring up to 10 feet (3 meters) in width at maturity. At a full height of 15 to 25 feet (4.5 to 7.6 meters), bamboo can make a fairly effective privacy hedge.
Although the 18-inch (46 centimeter) per year growth rate of the purple lilac bush may seem paltry compared to the black bamboo, it can still be considered fast in the plant world. Due to its thick clusters of dark purple flowers, the lilac is a popular choice for those more concerned about ornamentation than privacy. At a full height of 8 to 15 feet (2.4 to 4.5 meters), though, this wide shrub could still provide a great deal of seclusion.
Those wishing to plant quick growing hedges in rugged climates can often find their selection of plants limited. The April snow camellia can be a candidate for areas with cold and dry conditions. This flowering bush thrives in cold weather and can grow to 8 feet (2.4 meters) in height within in a few years even in near drought conditions. At a mature height of 15 feet (4.5 meters), the debutant camellia is the bigger cousin of the April snow. This bush also does well in dry weather, but is more suitable to high temperatures.
Using fruit-bearing trees and bushes as hedging is a novel choice that is gaining popularity. This approach combines the benefit of an outdoor privacy screen with the aesthetic benefits of flowering plants. In addition, multiple bushes act as a miniature orchard and can actually provide significant amounts of food. The rabbiteye blueberry, thornless blackberry and golden raspberry bushes naturally grow rapidly and can be a great choice for quick growing hedges.