Forum home Plants

Hedge plant spacing question - new hedges v more mature hedges

I am new to gardening and have just planted lots of new young portuguese laurel hedge 60cm and planted about 4 per meter as per per websites advice.

I then planted a larger hedge on the other side that is 2 per meter 150cm.

I cant get my head around why everyone recommend different spacing depending on size, as eventually these will be the same size in several years, but the one planted 4 per meter will be much denser than the 2 per meter!!

Would it not be best to have them all the same and just be patient with smaller ones? I just dont want a hedge that looks inconsistent and one much bushier than the other eventually.

Why would most people recommend this when the plants will be the same size eventually? 4 hedges per meter seems excessive and very close together.

General recommendations on websites:-

Small – 15cm-80cm it is recommended that you plant 4 Portuguese Laurel per metre

Medium – 80cm-120cm it is recommended that you plant 2-3 per metre

Large – 120cm-180cm it is recommended that you plant only 1-2 per metre


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,064
    I think it's because people expect something that looks like a hedge from day one. The smaller plants take longer to fill out so people tend to plant them closer. In the long run I think they'd probably be better at the wider spacing, but there'd be substantial gaps between them for several years.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,098
    Smaller plants will grow more slowly if they're crammed in, because there's more competition. However, over time, they'll make a good dense hedge. It just takes longer.

    The same happens with very large specimens, but for a different reason - they're harder to establish because the top growth is a lot for the newly planted root system to deal with, and therefore  they take a long time to get going. They need more care and attention because of that, and are best cut back to help with that establishment. 

    It's why it's rarely worth buying large specimens. Those at around 3 feet establish quickly and grow on more easily, and are generally the best option for most situations - and budgets   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • To some extent the closer planting of the smaller plants also allows them cover the ground faster so they have less competition from weeds. With the larger plants they are already big enough that a lot of weeds are less likely to be any trouble to them and since they are more expensive it makes sense to plant less if you can get away with it. I also have found that larger hedge plants take longer to establish than some smaller ones but once the hedge fills out I don't think there would be much of a difference to the appearance of the hedge as you wont be able to see how many plants are inside the hedge at that stage anyway.
    Happy gardening!
  • Thanks for your comments
Sign In or Register to comment.