Arborvitae, privet, boxwood, oleander, juniper, flowering quince, holly and rose of Sharon are commonly used for privacy hedges. These shrubs are relatively fast growing, and all respond well to pruning. Arborvitae can range from 10 to 60 feet tall, depending on the variety, but can generally be pruned shorter.
Arborvitae are evergreen and will not lose their foliage during the winter. Privet and rose of Sharon are deciduous and will lose their foliage during the winter. Rose of Sharon is in the hibiscus family and bears blossoms in the summer. The flowers come in white, pink, red, purple, and violet.
Boxwood is one of the most popular hedge plants, states ArborDay.org. Gardeners can clip it into shapes and prune it frequently without damaging the pants. It can grow up to 20 feet tall, but gardeners can prune it to almost any height or shape. To reduce pruning in smaller spaces, choose a variety such as Korean boxwood.
Oleander is another good choice for flowering hedges. The plant thrives in warm climates, such as those of California and the southern states, and can resist both drought and wind. It grows up to 15 feet tall, offering plenty of privacy.
Juniper is easy to grow and very versatile. Gardeners can choose from shorter varieties that sit closer to the ground or taller plants that provide privacy. Juniper is also easy to prune into shapes.
At six to 10 feet tall, flowering quince can provide plenty of privacy, but it also makes an attractive garden plant. Every spring, the plant produces white, pink or red flowers.
Holly is easy to grow, and several dwarf varieties require minimal pruning. It is also a very attractive plant with dark green leaves and red berries. For taller hedges, false holly can make a good alternative. Both holly and false holly can tolerate cold climates.
Scarlet firethorn is another excellent hedge plant for gardeners who like the look of berries. The plant has green leaves and produces orange or red berries in the summer. It also flowers in the spring, making it a highly attractive plant.
Canadian hemlock can reach heights up to 70 feet, which offers plenty of options in terms of privacy. However, pruning the plant can help maintain much shorter heights. The plant can grow well in both sun and shade, but it prefers wetter climates.