While no hedge plant will tolerate prolonged waterlogging, one species is by far the most tolerant of wet feet – the European or Common Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus). In fact, it requires damp conditions…
Hornbeam really is the great all-rounder – versatile; stately dense foliage; hardy; easy to maintain (one trim a year); a medium to fast grower; happy in an acid or alkaline soil and it will tolerate anything from sun to light shade. It’s only slight weakness, not surprisingly is that it isn’t the most drought-tolerant of hedging plants.
Hornbeam therefore easily justifies its place in the garden on its own terms but if your plot is too wet for Yew, go for Hornbeam instead and you will not be disappointed.
There are two other hedging plants that come near to the Hornbeam’s level of tolerance of wet conditions: Common Box (Buxus sempervirens) and Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Rotundifolia’). Both are popular and valued hedging plants and, with Hornbeam, give garden hedge growers in wetter locations a varied, if not extensive, starting point.
Of course, greater choice can be accessed in these circumstances by what we have come to call The Cheat’s Hedge – simply a row, straight or curving, of hedging plants growing in large, aesthetically pleasing containers.
We will look at the best hedging plants for dry locations in the next post.