These shrubs not only shoot up rapidly, but additionally trump with magnificent flowers and furious foliage color in autumn.
Whether as a decorative flowering hedge or dense privacy screen in the garden – fast-growing shrubs solve many problems in the garden and are much cheaper than full-grown woody plants. Before buying, you should consider the following things:
Plant choice: Are you looking for a fast-growing shrub with decorative flowers or would you rather plant an evergreen hedge?
Growth rate and height: the maximum growth height should match the size of the available garden area. Also keep in mind that growth rate is by no means indicative of the final size of the shrub. Some shrubs grow very rapidly in the first few years, and later the annual growth rate decreases.
Location: Do the location (sun, partial shade) and soil conditions suit the shrub you want?
Care instructions: Depending on the species, regular pruning can promote shrub growth.
Fast growing flowering shrubs
Black elderberry is a native shrub that grows into a wide-bushy shrub within a few years. Its overhanging crown is adorned with decorative flowers starting in February, and later even delicious elderberries.
Botanical name: Sambucus nigra
Height of growth: up to 7 meters with an annual increase of 70 to 120 centimeters
Habitat: little shade, nutrient-rich loamy soil
By the way: We have also compiled the most beautiful garden ideas here in the video:
The summer lilac, which blooms from July onwards, already shows considerable growth as a small sapling. By severely pruning back old flowering shoots in early spring, you can further encourage growth and even achieve larger blooms. If you decide against regular pruning, the lilac will grow more slowly and stop growing at about 3.50 meters. Important: The summer lilac is an invasive neopythene. More info on this can be found at the end of this article.
Botanical name: Buddleja davidii
Height of growth: 1.50 to 4 meters with an annual increase of 50 to 150 centimeters
Habitat: full sun to hot, well-drained soil
Native, decorative and a culinary insider tip: From the end of March, the densely bushy blackthorn with its small white flowers is a real eye-catcher. Tip: The fruits of the blackthorn, which develop in late autumn, can be processed into jam or liqueur.
Botanical name: Prunus spinosa
Height of growth: 3 to 5 meters with an annual increase of 25 to 50 centimeters
Habitat: sunny, warm, nutrient-rich, calcareous clay soil
This fast-growing shrub impresses with a strongly overhanging crown that begins to bloom as early as mid-March. Important: the forsythia has no ecological benefit. You can find out why at the end of this article.
Botanical name: Forsythia
Height of growth: 2 to 3 meters with an annual increase of 30 to 50 centimeters.
Habitat: full sun, well-drained, acidic soil
The native curly willow is a large, undemanding shrub that makes a great companion for perennial beds in its slender, upright form. Its pretty catkin flowers sprout as early as February, and its reddish shoots add variety to the garden even in winter.
Botanical name: Salix erythroflexuosa
Height of growth: 300 to 500 centimeters with an annual increase of 50 to 100 centimeters
Habitat: sunny to semi-shady, well-drained soil
Delicate white to creamy white flower umbels are the hobbyhorse of the fast-growing panicle hydrangea. Compared to its big sister, the peasant hydrangea, it is frost hardy and grows very luxuriantly. From July you can expect a magnificent bloom.
Botanical name: Hydrangea paniculata
Height of growth: 2 to 4 meters with an annual increase of 25 to 50 centimeters
Habitat: sheltered from the wind, sunny, humus-rich sandy or loamy soil
Ornamental currant (blood currant).
Originally from North America, this decorative ornamental shrub also copes well with local temperatures. The ornamental currant is one of the most popular early bloomers and shows its deep pink flowers as early as March.
Botanical name: Ribes sanguineum
Height of growth: 150 to 250 centimeters with an annual increase of 20 to 40 centimeters
Habitat: little shade, well-drained soil
Scented jasmine (common pipe bush).
The name says it all: this fast-growing shrub beguiles not only with its very abundant flowering, but also with its strong fragrance. Thanks to its beautiful growth habit, scented jasmine is best used solitary and planted into a hedge. Note, however, that it can grow up to 3 meters wide and grows very bushy. Tip: After flowering (from May / June), cut back the shrub immediately to contain the broad bushy growth.
Botanical name: Philadelphus erectus
Height of growth: 3 to 4 meters with an annual increase of 30 to 50 centimeters
Habitat: little shade, slightly acidic to strongly alkaline soil
From a distance, the bright white flower panicles of the bladderwort look like little cotton balls. But the most attractive are still the varieties with blood-red foliage and magnificent autumn color. When fully grown it spreads its branches up to 3 meters, with age they hang over in a trailing manner.
Botanical name: Physocarpus opulifolius
Height of growth: 200 to 250 centimeters with an annual increase of 30 to 50 centimeters
Habitat: sunny to shady, humus-rich, sandy to loamy soil
With its smooth, rich green leaves, seductively fragrant flowers and black berries in autumn, privet cuts a fine figure all year round. Because it is extremely hardy and can handle many sites, this fast-growing native shrub is suitable for any garden and makes a great privacy screen. Other than regular topiary, privet requires no maintenance.
Botanical name: Ligustrum vulgare
Height of growth: 1.5 to 4 meters with an annual growth of 40 to 50 centimeters
Habitat: sunny to semi-shady, dry to moderately moist loamy or sandy soil
Star bush (Mayflower shrub).
Cheerful growth and fabulous, double flowers – this elegant shrub gains up to half a meter in height every year and looks extremely decorative. As a specimen, this fast-growing star shrub is best, as it can grow very wide.
Botanical name: Deutzia magnifica
Height of growth: 250 to 350 centimeters with an annual increase of 30 to 50 centimeters
Habitat: sunny to semi-shady, moderately moist, humus-rich soil
The fast-growing weigelie blooms tirelessly from May until the first frost. Its heady, lovely flowers and iridescent leaves make it an elegant plant for the garden.
Botanical name: Weigelia
Height of growth: 200 to 300 centimeters with an annual increase of 30 to 60 centimeters
Habitat: sunny, sandy to clayey soil
Initially, this native shrub really steps on the gas and can grow up to 90 centimeters a year. The main flowering period extends from February to April, and in autumn the hazelnut delights with its bright yellow coloring. Top: As a robust large shrub, it grows on all soils.
Botanical name: Corylus avellana
Height of growth: 500 to 700 cm with an annual increase of 40 to 90 cm
Habitat: sunny to semi-shady
Sal willow (catkin willow)
Large yellow willow catkins are the hobbyhorse of the sal willow. This makes this large native shrub a real insect magnet at its peak blooming time (March to April).
Botanical name: Salix caprea
Height of growth: 500 to 800 cm with an annual increase of 50 to 100 cm
Habitat: sunny to semi-shady, thrives in any soil
Evergreen fast growing shrubs as privacy screens
Cherry Laurel (Laurel Cherry)
Cherry laurel brings all the conditions for a good hedge planting: The fast-growing shrub retains its leaves even in winter and is vigorous, dense and upright in growth. Whether sunny or shady – with this shrub even difficult locations are no problem. Important: Cherry laurel is an invasive plant. You can find more information about this at the end of this article.
Botanical name: Prunus laurocerasus
Height of growth: 200 to 350 centimeters with an annual growth of 40 to 60 centimeters
Habitat: sunny to shady, moist, nutrient-rich soil
This broadly bushy shrub with overhanging branches quickly reaches a height of about 3 meters and a width of 1.5 meters. Its red bark is an eye-catcher in the garden throughout the year. In May and June, white flowers are in bloom, and in autumn, the foliage of the Siberian Dogwood turns a beautiful dark red.
Botanical name: Cornus alba ‘Sibirica
Height of growth: 3 meters with an annual increase of 30 to 60 centimeters
Habitat: sunny to shady, moist, slightly acid soil
Evergreen foliage, white flowers in spring and fiery red berries in autumn: the fast-growing firethorn is one of the most popular first plantings for the garden. Tip: Among firethorns, the variety “Red Column” is considered particularly fast-growing.
Botanical name: Pyracantha coccinea
Height of growth: 200 to 300 centimeters with an annual increase of 30 to 60 centimeters
Habitat: sunny to semi-shady, moist, nutrient-rich soil
It prefers to grow where most other native woody plants capitulate: In lean, moderately dry soils, the common juniper feels most at home. Even frost does not bother it.
Botanical name: Juniperus communis
Height of growth: 500 to 800 cm with an annual increase of 20 to 40 cm
Habitat: sunny to semi-shady, nutrient-poor, dry soil
Which fast-growing shrubs are invasive or otherwise harmful?
Not every fast-growing shrub is useful from an ecological point of view. Some among them grow so persistently and spread so widely (= invasive neophytes) that they displace native plants and harm the local ecosystem. Therefore, you should think twice about acquiring the following plants:
Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia).
Exotic forsythia, while not invasive, is ecologically worthless because it produces neither nectar nor pollen for insects. Its plant parts are also toxic to a small degree. A better alternative in the garden is cornelian cherry (Cornus mas).
Summer Lilac (Buddleja davidii).
The beautiful flowering, but non-native, summer lilac is currently classified as invasive and is not useful from an ecological point of view, as it provides a food source for only a few insects. Alternatively, plant a hazel shrub (Corylus avellana) or black elderberry (Sambucus nigra).
Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
Cherry laurel, while very popular as a hedge, is considered invasive and is very toxic to children. Cherry laurel also makes little sense from an ecological point of view: neither the flowers nor the fruits are suitable as food for birds and insects. You are better off with hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), hazel bushes (Corylus avellana) or blackthorn (Prunus spinosa).