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Griselinia - exposure hardiness and can it be pruned short

I've been recommended Griselinia to form a new hedge as part of a garden redesign. It will seperate an area of flat lawn and a 1.4m drop made up of several stepped terraces down to the house. It's been recommended to provide a bit of barrier to protect the drop and also a wind break as the garden has an exposed easterly aspect. I've got two questions which I haven't been able to find online.

1. I've seen Griselinia can grow to 6m but ideally I'll be wanting to keep it at around 1-1.5m; do these hedges respond ok to being kept a bit shorter?
2. We are in Hampshire, at 50m ASL and about 12 miles from the coast. It's an exposed location to E/NE winds - do you think Griselinia will be hardy enough?


  • You can keep Griselinia tightly clipped to restrict its height. Keeping it 1-1.5m should not be a problem.

    As for exposure, I have mine in a fairly sheltered spot within an exposed garden and the recent cold snap and snow has turned much of it black. I expect I will come back as this has happened more than once before. Though not evergreen, I wonder if beech would be a better bet for the proposed hedge? I wouldn't chance escallonia (I put this in the same category with Griselinia in terms of cold hardiness) and Prunus laurocerasus (cherry laurel) it just too big for the spot. 
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze Posts: 5,617
    edited January 2023
    @Winchester_flare It doesn't grow here due to a cold clay soil. I would have said it would be fine as a coastal plant but you are more inland. I think there will be gardeners on this forum further north than me who grow it sucessfully. It likes good drainage and the right  microclimate. 
    Another thought might be a grass such as Calamagrostis Carl Foerster. It will need to be cut back late Feb to the ground and then regrow. Forms a veil so you can see through to the rest of the garden. Might not be for you but good on a windy site, can be lifted an split in growth if it gets too wide.

    Go to Knoll Gardens website for photos.

    I think I should add that if there is a chance of people falling through the gaps grasses are not for you. I don't think however that there is an evergreen that will grow in a cold windy site without the risk of winter damage. Perhaps I will be proved wrong.
     Retired Gardener, new build garden, clay soil, South Notts.

    The more I garden the less I know but the more pleasure I get from it. Monty Don 
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,447
    I grow a lot of Griselinia, as both hedges and individual plants, on sandy free draining soil. It responds well to trimming, one of my hedges is six foot high and just a foot deep. I have had no problems with it in sheltered or exposed parts of my garden.  In a previous garden I owned, it suffered from leaf damage/blackening during a severe winter as it was in a frost pocket but it recovered eventually.

    Griselinia is often recommended by hedging specialists as being suitable for exposed coastal sites.  Here’s an extract from one specialist’s website:

    These plants will grow in all soil types including clay and chalk although they do prefer to have reasonable drainage. Griselinia hedges are successful in aspects from full sun to partial shade. This is a very popular hedging plant in coastal areas, being unaffected by the buffeting winds and salt spray making it one of many hedging species we recommend for coastal planting. Griselinia littoralis hedging plants will also thrive on inland sites including windy and exposed areas although they aren’t suitable where it gets very cold further North.

    I hope this helps.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,447
    edited January 2023
    This is a four foot Griselinia hedge I have, @Winchester_flare, on a bank which gets fairly windy, beside my patio as a wind break/privacy screen, taken in February last year.  The second photo is of the same hedge in December after the recent cold spell - it survived without any damage!

    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • I'm in Hampshire and my shrub is in a sunny place that gets hit by the prevailing wind. On the whole it's done well although I've had to trim off the occasional blackened leaf and once I cut it hard back.
  • Thanks all - useful responses. I think I will go with the griselinia as I do like the colour and texture of the leaves and knowing it can be kept small is great. Love the idea of grasses but with a toddler we need something a bit more durable I think.
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