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Spacing for a Nandina Domestica hedge?

NollieNollie Posts: 7,511
I bought today five decent-sized Nandina plants to screen the end of a terrace overlooking a scrappy, gappy at the bottom bit of outer hedge of leggy honeysuckle and dying leylandii bordering the road. The outer hedge suffers every year when the verge cutters scour the bank and rip out the roots of the honeysuckle and it never gets a chance to reestablish and green up before they are at it again.

Anyway, I am playing with the spacing of the Nandina in a soon-to-be-built raised bed and at the moment have settled on four plants at 75cm spacing. Three looked too sparse, five too crammed. There is no info I can find for spacing for a Nandina hedge, not being a common choice. I do want it to get reasonably dense, but is four one too many? Any thoughts? Here’s how the spacing looks, the first pic looking back at the terrace and the second out toward the outer hedge and screening the gaps/views of the road below:



You can’t actually see the gaps at the moment because of the Nandina plants (which was the plan) but they are there, trust me! We sit there watching cyclists, cars and  lorries whizz past...
Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
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  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    These shrubs don't grow too densely. They also have a tendency to be quite 'leggy' around 1-2 ft around the base. But I like their habit. Nadina Domestica 'Gulf Stream' is more bushier but more compact and never reaches beyond a meter in height. I would go for a meter between plants. But 75cm spacing is fine too.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,511
    Hi, thanks Borderline, I know what you mean about the legginess, although I did plant a  leggy one in a border last year that has grown only a bit in height so far, but bushed out right to the ground, which I wasn’t expecting. I could perhaps add some planters with lower growing plants in front, if these stay leggy, although may not be necessary, so long as the canopy hides the hedge gaps.

    Thanks for distances advice, I always find judging planting distances hard, despite what the official guidance (if it exists) says, as nothing seems to conform to type here and happily does its own wayward thing.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 12,380
    Four looks about right to me as the canopies look to be just about touching. I have found ours to be very slow growing (in a pot) on our terrace and is still under a metre in 12 years. 
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,511
    Thanks Lizzie, yes I think I will go with the four as they are slow growing, as you say. These ones are about 110cm high, a bargain at €16 each and no waiting 12 years!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,007
    The RHS says these take 10 to 20 years to get to 1.5m high and wide.   They are used as planting on a couple of major roundabouts and verges at teh sothern end of La Roche-s-Y and look to me to be growing very slowly - no bigger 2 after we first saw them but they don't get watered and have to cope with drought.

    I don't think you want to wait that long and I also suspect you want a dense-ish hedge so your 4 look good.   Just make sure that you improve the soil with plenty of compost and manure so thay get a good start and water well before and after planting.  Keep them watered in hot dry spells as they look to be raised above the natural soil level.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • I have been learning recently that in many Japanese gardens they often mass plant shrubs at close spacing & then treat the whole group as one large plant rather than planting one or two & waiting for them to grow. I will post a pic another day to show what I mean.
    AB Still learning

  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,511
    I wonder if they do grow faster here, Obelixx, I can’t see how it would be economically viable for my GC to sell large plants (the tallest is 120cm) for such a low price if they are over 10 years old, but I’m not complaining. I don’t have any manure, but have a tonne of homemade compost, leafmould, ericaceous compost and some grit to mix in with the clay soil. I’ve soaked the pots in rainwater, will tease out the roots if need be and have plenty more rainwater to water them in well, so hopefully that will get them settled in nicely before next summer.

    It’s been a life’s ambition of mine to visit Japan to see its architecture and gardens, allotment boy, probably never to be realised, but I look forward to seeing the pics!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • I have never been to Japan either but there are Japanese style gardens in the west, some of them are very good  though sadly a lot are a pastiche of mixed styles.
    Some examples of mass planting from Capel manor.


    There are 15 Camellias here, apparently they will be treated as if they are one or  two very large plants.

    There are 5 Nandinas here in the group, the idea is rather than waiting for one or two small plants to grow or spending a lot of money on mature plants you buy a number of smaller ones & mass plant

    AB Still learning

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 12,380
    I like that group of Nandinas AB but aren't they on the expensive side?
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,511
    What happens when they grow up, AB, would you have to remove a few? 

    Nandinas are very cheap here, Lizzie, presumably since they are quite popular so they grow a lot of them and maybe thats true in Japan. They seem to grow well in really rubbish soil or pot-bound and neglected outside restaurants. I have a couple of Firepowers literally growing in cracks in the wall in a tiny bit of heavy alkaline clay wedged between the stones and rarely watered... the NDom ones I have just planted have been given star treatment - be interesting to see how they do, sods law says they will turn up their toes!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
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