Hedge Spacing Guide (Murraya, Lilly Pilly, Camellia)

The 3 to 1 ratio is the general rule for hedge spacing but this varies from plant to plant.

When it comes to establishing a new garden hedge, you need to get the spacing right so that you end up with a fairly solid structure of densely growing plants.

The general rule of thumb is to use the 3 to 1 ratio. This ratio relies on how tall you want the hedge to be to determine how far you need to space the plants.

For example, for a 3-metre high hedge, you should space your plants 1 metre apart. 

Of course, this also depends on the type of plants that you choose for your hedge.

Here’s a rundown of the most common hedge species in Australia and a guide as to how far you need to space them to get a nice dense hedge.

Murraya paniculata hedge spacing

Murraya paniculata hedge 2 1 | Plant care
Murraya paniculata have dark green foliage that makes a lovely dense hedge

Ideally, a Murraya paniculata hedge should have a plant spacing of around 50 cm to 80 cm.

Although these flowering hedge plants prefer to grow in full sun, they can tolerate a little shade.

If your plants are going to be shaded for part of the day, it’s worth spacing them slightly farther apart to encourage adequate airflow between the plants. 

Lilly pilly hedge spacing

Syzygium Australe Lilly Pilly hedge 2 | Plant care

To grow a nice thick Lilly pilly hedge, it’s recommended that you space your plants from 50 cm to 1 metre apart. The average spacing of around 75 cm would be ideal. 

With many of the Lilly pilly species, it’s best to apply the 3 to 1 ratio.

For example, if you want a 2-metre tall hedge, you should space your plants around 65 cm apart. 

Good hedging varieties include Syzygium australe and Acemna smithii.

Camellia hedge spacing

Camellia sasanqua | Plant care
A camellia sasanqua hedge

Camellias can grow quite large not only in height but also in width, especially if they receive regular pruning.

For this reason, camellias should be planted around 1.5 metres apart to allow for their spreading growth habit.

Magnolia hedge spacing

Magnolia hedge | Plant care

Magnolias also have a good spreading habit. These can be spaced around 1.5 metres apart if you want to create a gorgeous magnolia hedge.

For example, one of the best magnolia species for hedging is Magnolia ‘Little Gem’. This variety grows to a height of around 2.5 to 4 metres.

Therefore, these plants should be spaced around 1.2 to 2 metres apart to create a nice screening hedge.

English box hedge spacing

English box hedge | Plant care

To create a lush English box hedge, these plants should be planted quite close together. Ideally, you want around 5 plants per metre.

Therefore, English box plants should be planted around 20 cm apart.

This reason for the close planting is because these plants tend to shoot straight up rather than producing a lot of spreading growth.

This means that if they’re spaced too far apart, it will take a long time for the hedge to fill in and become dense and bushy.

Gardenia hedge spacing

Gardenia Hedge 2 | Plant care
Gardenias produce sweetly scented flowers

Gardenia florida is the best gardenia species for hedge planting. It’s best to space these plants around 50 cm to 75 cm apart.

The closer you plant your gardenias, the denser the lower growth will be.

Japanese box hedge spacing

Japanese box plants have the ability to grow around 70 cm in width and around 1 metre in height in just three years.

Therefore, to achieve the perfect hedge, individual plants should be spaced around 40 cm apart.

Red robin hedge spacing

Red robin hedge | Plant care

Photinia Red Robin plants produce a lovely colourful hedge.

Individual plants should be spaced around 50 cm to 60 cm apart to get a nice dense hedge.

Pittosporum hedge spacing

Pittosporum Silver Sheen | Plant care
Pittosporum Silver Sheen (Pittosporum tenuifolium). Image: Nadiatalent, CC BY-SA 4.0

Pittosporums can get very large and make a great screening hedge. They do produce a lot of top growth but also tend to spread when tip-pruned often.

Pittosporums can be spaced around 1 metre apart for a hedge that is expected to be around 3 metres in height.

However, if you want a lower hedge, pittosporums can be planted closer together. Use the 3 to 1 ratio as a general guide.

Viburnum hedge spacing

Viburnum hedge 4 1 | Plant care

Viburnums are another ideal hedging plant, especially if you want to create some privacy.

Depending on how tall you want the hedge to be, individual plants can be spaced from 1 to 2 metres apart. 

For example, if you want to plant a sweet viburnum hedge using Viburnum odoratissimum, you could expect this variety to reach a height of around 3 to 4 metres.

Therefore, you want to space the individual plants around 1 metre apart.

Rosemary hedge spacing

rosemary | Plant care
An individual rosemary plant can spread to 2.5m wide

Rosemary is generally not a very tall-growing plant. It normally reaches a height of around 1.5 to 1.8 metres.

However, rosemary does have a good spread of around 2.5 metres. 

To create the perfect rosemary hedge, you should space your plants around 45 cm to 60 cm apart.

You also want to encourage a nice bushy growth by constant tip pruning while the plants are still young.


How far apart should you plant magnolia little gems?

Magnolia Little Gem is one of the best magnolia species for hedging, growing to a height of around 2.5 to 4 metres. These plants should be spaced around 1.2 to 2 metres apart to create a nice screening hedge.

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Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


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