The Top Hedges for Privacy and Beauty in South Florida’s Unique Climate

As a South Florida homeowner, finding the right hedges and shrubs to create privacy and complement your home’s landscape can be challenging. Our hot, humid, subtropical climate and occasional freezes limit some popular hedging plants that thrive in other regions

After researching the unique growing conditions in South Florida and the most recommended plants, I’ve compiled this guide to the best hedge plants for our area. These plants not only create effective, lush privacy screens, but also add beauty and interest to your yard.


One of the most popular hedge plants is arborvitae, a fast-growing evergreen conifer With over 30 cultivars hardy in our climate, arborvitae comes in diverse shapes, textures, and colors to suit your landscape vision


  • Grows relatively fast, up to 3 feet per year. Quickly forms a tall, dense screen.
  • Has compact foliage that responds well to shearing and shaping. Easily maintained at desired height.
  • Tolerates humidity, salt spray, and some flooding. Handles our climate better than other conifers.
  • Provides year-round privacy with its dense, bushy form.

Best Varieties

  • Green Giant – The hardiest and fastest growing; can reach 60 feet tall and 20 feet wide.
  • Green Emerald – A classic medium-sized option; grows up to 20 feet.
  • Techny – A dwarf cultivar perfect for shorter hedges; slow growth reaches 10 feet tall.

Areca Palm

The areca palm is one of the most popular tropical palm hedges for South Florida landscapes. Its lush, full look provides a tropical, resort-style feel.


  • Adds a bold, tropical look with fronds up to 10 feet long on skinny trunks.
  • Grows fast, up to 2 feet per year. Excellent impact in a short time.
  • Tolerates drought, wind, salt spray, and some flooding. Unfazed by storms and weather.
  • Provides filtered privacy unlike a solid hedge. Allows breeze and light through.

Best Varieties

  • Dypsis lutescens – The most common areca palm; grows up to 20 feet tall.
  • Archontophoenix alexandrae – King palm; lush fronds and substantial look, but slower growth.
  • Archontophoenix cunninghamiana – Bangalow palm; long wispy fronds and fast growth to 35 feet.

Bay Laurel

Bay laurel is a fragrant evergreen shrub or small tree perfect for tall, formal hedges. It has an elegant look popular in Mediterranean style landscapes.


  • Provides full, dense growth up to 15 feet tall. Responds well to pruning and shaping.
  • Handles heat, drought, salt spray, and humidity. Very low maintenance.
  • Has glossy green leaves with a distinctive spicy aroma. Adds sensory interest.
  • More compact and dense than row of individual bay trees. Creates solid, uniform hedge.

Best Varieties

  • Laurus nobilis – True laurel; grows up to 30 feet but easily maintained shorter. Glossy 2-4 inch leaves.
  • Sassafras albidum – North American native bay; grows faster with larger 8 inch leaves.


Clusia is an excellent choice for South Florida hedges. As a tropical broadleaf evergreen, it thrives in our warm climate. Its waxy, leathery leaves withstand salt spray, drought, pests, and diseases.


  • Provides full, dense foliage up to 15 feet tall. Makes a lush tropical hedge.
  • Does well in sun or shade. Tolerates wide range of conditions.
  • Produces showy, pink or white flowers. Pretty pop of color several times a year.
  • Has smooth, shiny green leaves. Visually appealing texture.

Best Varieties

  • Clusia guttifera – Gopher apple; fast growing to 10 feet. Showy large white flowers.
  • Clusia rosea – Autograph tree; prolific bloomer with smaller pink flowers. Better for shorter hedges.
  • Clusia fluminensis – Dwarf clusia; compact and slow growing but takes pruning well.

Key Considerations for South Florida Hedges

When selecting the plants for your new privacy hedge, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose narrower varieties – Hedges plants like podocarpus and hollies get quite wide here. Select more upright, narrow varieties or trim diligently.

  • Space plants closely – Plant them 2-3 feet apart for faster coverage. You can always remove extras later.

  • Know expected height and width – Select plants that will reach your desired hedge dimensions at maturity Many can be maintained shorter.

  • Prepare the area – Eliminate weeds, dig a trench, and amend the soil to give your new hedge the best start.

  • Water well – Plan to irrigate new plants for 1-2 years until established. Monitor soil moisture.

  • Fertilize regularly – Feed with a quality, slow-release plant food 2-3 times per year. Promotes healthy growth.

With the right choice of hedge plants, positioning, planting, and care you can create stunning privacy screens and garden borders. These classic South Florida hedges provide lush, tropical style as well as resilience to handle our challenging climate. Find the look that best complements your home’s landscape today!

Considerations for Privacy Hedges in Florida

Climate Tolerance: Select plants suited to Florida’s climate zones, capable of withstanding heat, humidity, and occasional cold snaps.

Maintenance: Fast growers might need regular trimming to keep a neat appearance.

Wildlife: Pick plants that are good for local wildlife. These plants will give you privacy and a place for birds and good bugs to live.

Spacing: Adhere to recommended spacing guidelines to ensure plants grow into a dense barrier without overcrowding.

Soil Preparation: Enhance soil with organic matter for the best plant health.

Watering: Maintain a consistent watering schedule until plants are established.

Widest Coverage for Maximum Privacy

1. Bamboo Wamin Bamboo

Varieties: Opt for clumping varieties for controlled growth. Features: Bamboo grows rapidly, offering wide coverage quickly. Choose the right variety to prevent invasive spreading.

2. Podocarpus (Podocarpus macrophyllus)

It grows slowly and can reach a height of 40 to 50 feet. This plant, which is also called “Japanese Yew,” can be shaped into a dense hedge and is great for making tall, tight privacy screens.

3. Florida Privet (Forestiera segregata)

  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Maximum Height: 10 to 15 feet (can be trained to grow taller as a hedge).
  • Florida Privet is a native shrub that does well in Florida’s climate and provides a thick hedge of leaves. It grows well in a wide range of soils and conditions, which makes it a good choice for privacy hedges. Because it can be cut into different shapes, it can be used to make privacy screens that fit the needs of any garden.

4. Simpson’s Stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans)

  • Growth Rate: Moderate to Fast
  • Max Height: 20 feet
  • Features: Simpson’s Stopper is native to Florida and has dense leaves and small, fragrant white flowers that butterflies love. You can cut it back to make a formal hedge, or you can let it grow wild for a more casual look.

Low Maintenance Outdoor Plants in Florida: Three Varieties to Create Privacy

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