The Greatest Shrubs to Plant for Privacy

A privacy screen composed of grouped a hedge can be a welcome addition to your home landscape, blocking unsightly views and helping reduce noise. Viburnums, oleanders, lilacs and certain hibiscus shrubs are excellent choices.


The genus Viburnum incorporates several species of blooming shrubs which grow well planted in a circle or as a hedge for privacy. Viburnums typically produce dense, foliage-covered divisions and clusters of white blossoms in late spring, followed by small red or purple fruits attractive to birds. A couple of the very best choices are the wayfaring tree viburnum (V. lantana) and blackhaw viburnum (V. prunifolium). Both species are quick growers that reach about 15 feet, can develop colorful foliage in autumn and are exceptionally tough and tolerant of most soil types and environments. Viburnums are generally hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 3 through 9, depending on cultivar.


Oleanders (Nerium oleander) are broadleaf evergreen shrubs which grow in an upright, rounded form. They achieve a mature height of about 8 feet and spread to about 5 feet, making them a great option for a privacy hedge. Oleander bushes are covered with shiny green leaves and develop fragrant white, pink or red flowers in summer. Pink varieties include “Barbara Bush,” “Apple Blossom” and “Lady Kate,” while reds include “General Pershing and “Scarlet Beauty.” “Mary Constance” offers white blossoms. Oleanders are tolerant of dry conditions and poor soils, thrive in full sun but will also do well in light shade, and are resistant to common diseases and insects. All parts of oleandar plants are poisonous and should not be ingested. Oleanders are frost-sensitive and suitable for outdoor culture in USDA hardiness zone 8 through 10.

Shrub Hibiscus

Hibiscus shrubs (Hibiscus syriacus) make up a huge group of plants which are sometimes known as rose-of-sharon or Chinese hibiscus. They are deciduous, flowering shrubs which can achieve heights of 8 to 10 feet and are generally multi-stemmed, with spreading branches. When planted in a row or circle, they develop into a compact privacy screen covered in summer with large, showy blooms. Good cultivars include “Blue Bird,” with blooms at a true-blue shade, “Diana,” bearing large white flowers, and “Minerva,” displaying pink to lavender blooms with a red eye. Hibiscus shrubs prefer full sun, but will tolerate some shade, are tolerant of soils and thrive in extreme heat. They’re hardy and grow well in USDA zones 5 through 12.


Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) are deciduous shrubs which normally grow up to 15 feet tall and 6 to 12 feet wide at maturity. Lilacs are helpful for privacy when planted in a category or a row. The frequent variety has lavender-colored, pyramidal groupings of miniature spring blooms, called panicles, that make a powerful, sweet and distinctive fragrance that attracts birds. They prefer full sun, but tolerate some shade for component of the day, perform best in slightly acidic, well-drained soil and don’t tolerate soggy places. Several cultivars of the frequent lilac are available, creating blossoms in pink, white, purple or magenta. Lilacs are generally hardy and grow well in USDA zones 3 through 12.

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