Privacy Hedging


I read through previous posts but couldn’t find an answer for my specific situation. I am looking for some advice regarding privacy hedges/vines. We have some mature spruces that were limbed up but was looking for something to cover the fence and gaps between. I would prefer something evergreen and fairly fast growing. Would want it to grow 5-6 feet tall or be able to be cut to this size. It must be at least somewhat shade tolerant due to the trees that are already there. I also don’t want any plants toxic to pets/children. I have included picture of area trying to cover.

I initially was thinking climbing vines like Boston ivy and honeysuckle/kiwi but they aren’t evergreen.
Then I was thinking purple or big leaf wintercreeper but it’s very slow growing from what I read.

Was thinking about Japanese euonymnus.

Also considering beech and hornbeams. Would prefer beech but might not be shade tolerant enough.

Also considering Holy.

Thoughts or any other suggestions.


Besides creating shade, the existing spruce will compete for water with whatever you plant.  So, your selection criteria for a plant to grow for privacy along your fence include: tolerates dry shade, fast growing, ultimate height 5 to 6 feet, evergreen, non-toxic.  These criteria all together limit your options.

Winter creeper could be your best choice. One cultivar to consider is ‘Emerald Gaiety’ wintercreeper, (Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’) a broadleaf evergreen with variegated white and green leaves. It is reasonably fast-growing and can be trained to grow as a vine or mounded shrub.

Please note that, like other species of Euonymus, this shrub can be toxic if large amounts of any part of it are eaten.

Comments on the other plants you are considering.

  • Japanese Euonymus (E. japonicus) needs a warmer climate than Toronto offers.
  • Beech and hornbeam are deciduous trees. They will be clear several feet above ground, and not offer the privacy you seek.
  • Holly tends to be slow-growing.

See below for more information on ‘Emerald Gaiety’ wintercreeper.

April 22, 2021