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plant suggestions to hide an ugly short fence

I'd welcome suggestions as to what I could plant to cover an ugly neighbouring short fence in my front yard.  The site is tricky - the soil is poor (with stones, quite sandy, and shallow) and it is west-facing.  Before there was box hedge (which I removed after it was decimated by box moth).  

I'd very much like something that is fast-growing, vigorous, and can somehow thrive in such tricky growing conditions (and indeed, suggestions that flower would be most welcome).  I'm open to hedge or climbers - I did think of yew (even as it isn't fast-growing) but am doubtful it will thrive in the soil conditions.  Or if you have suggestions for plants that will thrive in pots and cover the area quickly, I'd also be very grateful.


  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,412
    A picture would be helpful! (How short is 'short' for instance, and do you mean height or length). And is it a shared fence with a neighbour?
  • The fence is shared with a neighbour but I want to hide it on my side (see photo).  I had *hoped* that some hedging roses would take (I tried to enrich the soil) but I have to admit failure and just move the roses to a better site.

  • You can try Lonicera nitida. A fairly hardy hedge all-rounder that tolerates many diffrent conditions. It can be clipped quite short - in fact you'll need to clip it often if likes where its growing due to its vigourous nature but it will cover the fence quickly. Takes from cuttings easily too.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,412
    Pyracantha might work OK, you can train it as a cordon/espalier and keep it clipped tight once established. On a poor dry site best to plant in Autumn so roots can establish during the wetter months.
  • B3B3 Posts: 26,535
    Cotoneaster horizontalis would cover the fence quite quickly and not get too big
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,613
    West-facing, so things like the shrubby salvias in big pots should work for a quick fix as long as it gets the afternoon sun and isn't shaded by a building. Upright fuchsias would work with more shade (not the magellanica types, they'd get too big).
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,614
  • FireFire Posts: 17,374
    Yes, shubby salvias would be happy with the poor soil and the west light - not so great for winter, but they can stay green if it's mild. They grow fast if happy so might be fine even out of pots. Just double check the hardiness rating and match it to the suitability of your winter weather. There are lots of sale here now that are not hardy at all, and it's easy to miss that in all the excitement. Salvias like Royal Bumble, Clotted Cream and Hot Lips should be fine unless it's very cold. Feed monthly if they are in a pot.

    Different sites often give shrubby salvias very different hardiness ratings, so it's hard to know for your area, unless you have grown them yourself.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,613
    Fire said:

    Different sites often give shrubby salvias very different hardiness ratings, so it's hard to know for your area, unless you have grown them yourself.

    They're reliably hardy here in pots against the West-facing front of the house, as well as in the ground in various parts of the garden.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Thanks so very much for your suggestions! I think I'll try cotoneaster horizontalis with some potted salvias. With climate change the weather down here (in London) the salvias should be hardy.  Really grateful for your suggestions.
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