While most trees and shrubs (and therefore traditional hedging plants) are either evergreen or deciduous, there is a much smaller number that can’t quite make up their mind – the Semi-Evergreens. But every one of them is semi evergreen in a slightly different way. For example:
Privet: is classified as a semi-evergreen because it drops some leaves from inside its form come autumn and winter. But, because its outside face retains its foliage, it is, effectively, an evergreen.
Hornbeam: Young, unestablished Hornbeams will lose some leaves over winter with new growth coming in mid-March. An established Hornbeam in a sheltered position will retain the vast majority of its coppery autumnal foliage until that new growth appears.
Common Beech & Purple Copper Beech: The foliage of both varieties changes colour in autumn – the former to a coppery brown, the latter to a richer red. Crucially, though, both are also marcescent meaning these leaves remain until the new year’s growth starts appearing in early May.
Semi-Evergreens can therefore offer the best of both worlds – contrasting and fabulous autumn colour without the bleakness of mid-winter nakedness. It also means that a semi-evergreen hedge can still offer all-year-round privacy.