Hedge Plants for Chalky Soil
Chalky soils, also referred to as lime-rich or alkaline soils, can be quite challenging if you want to plant a hedge around your garden. They are frequently free-draining, prone to drought, stony and relatively poor in nutrients, all of which conditions that are not beneficial to most hedge plants. However, it is possible to find hedge plants for chalky soils that will thrive if they are planted in a garden with alkaline conditions. Like choosing any other deciduous or evergreen hedge plant, it is simply a matter of finding the right plants for the circumstances present in your garden. Even some of the most popular hedge plants are able to grow freely in a chalky soil.
Evergreen Hedge Plants for Chalky Soils
One of those beloved hedge plants is the privet. Especially the oval-leaved privet will thrive when planted in an alkaline soil without any trouble. Some conifers often used for hedging, such as the common yew, the white cedar and the western red cedar will happily grow in a chalky soil. These are not their preferred soils, but they certainly will grow into a dense, compact conifer hedge under those conditions. If you are looking for a somewhat less formal evergreen hedge plant to decorate your chalky garden with, you could consider planting a hedge consisting of firethorn, euonymus – more generally known as spindle – or Japanese laurel. The latter is a great alternative if your garden does not allow for a cherry laurel hedge, as its spotted leaves are equally beautiful.
Deciduous Hedge Plants for Chalky Soils
If you are not looking for an evergreen privacy hedge, but prefer an informal hedge that will look impressive during its flowering season, there is a wide variety of deciduous hedge plants for chalky soils to choose from. For a striking display of flowers, you can count on species like the cornelian cherry, lilac, deutzia, weigela and the butterfly bush to add flowering interest to your alkaline garden. This will even allow you to grow a beautiful mixed flowering hedge in a garden with a chalky soil. If you want to grow a hedge to ward off intruders, several types of barberry or the aforementioned evergreen firethorn are plants with thorny branches that will accept alkaline soils.
Options for Hedging in Alkaline Conditions
As you can see, having a chalky soil in your garden does not necessarily mean that you have a very limited selection of hedge plants to choose from. Indeed, alkaline soils are somewhat difficult and often require fertiliser and manure to be suitable for plants, but on the other hand, waterlogging is very unlikely and there are many different types of hedge plants for chalky soils available. This allows you to enjoy anything from profusely flowering hedges to spiny intruder hedges or even ivy screening in your garden, despite the alkaline conditions.