Plants for privacy screen around 10 feet tall

San Jose, CA

Now that there's this new forum, I'll reask a question I posted before on another forum.

I'm looking for some medium shrubs or trees that would work well against a fence. They will get partial shade most of the day. Evergreen would be preferrable. Not too tall, just a little over the fence line.

Any suggestions? Pictures of some you like?

Stockton, CA(Zone 9a)

Well I am partial to Abutilon for a screen, in our area they are evergreen & bloom all year round. And partial sun will make them very happy.
I just love them!

Northern California, CA

Hi Tracy -

Does it have to be shrubs........could you cover the fence with vines. As they thicken up and grow, they can be sheared at the top and will generally form their own "fence" which can be higher the the actual fence. The only reason I like the vine idea over shrubs is leaves more room to plant more stuff than a hedge of shrubs does. :-)


San Jose, CA

It doesn't have to be shrubs. It could be vines. Do you have any suggestions, Candy?

PudgyMudpies, I love Abutilon too, but I haven't seen any here that approached 10 feet. The established ones I've seen here are a little shorter than most fences. It would dress up the fence, though!

Northern California, CA

My first choice would be Yellow Jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens)

It has an abundance of small yellow flowers in the spring.
It isn't as messy as say Pink Jasmine.
It has a bright green semi glossy foliage.
It grows like a weed.
It is easily found at all nurseries including the big box stores like HD.
It comes in 1 gallons on up, also often found already trained on a frame or small trellis.
It is relatively inexpensive.
It can be spaced 6-8' apart and in a year you should have good coverage, definietly the second year should see excellent coverage.

It will require some sort of apparatus for climbing. Pretty much anything will work, nails/hooks with twine strung in a pattern, nails with wire, anything to give it a grip til it gets established. I chose to use expanding bamboo frames.

I just love the stuff. I prefer it over climbing roses for cover or Passiflora or Pink Jasmine.....can't think of anything I don't like about it. Here's an image that shows the Yellow Jasmine in the background beginning to cover the bamboo frames.

Thumbnail by Happenstance
Stockton, CA(Zone 9a)

Yes, your right. My tallest is only 6 ft. I did not realize you needed 10 ft.
I agree on the vines, but then I am partial. It will just be finding one that is available in your area & that handle the partial shade.

San Jose, CA

That is a really pretty vine. Do you think it would flower in shade? Some of the shader is denser in some areas than others.

Northern California, CA

Carolina jasmine grows best when its roots are shaded and cool, but the vine tolerates either full sun or partial shade.They like somewhat acid soil well-drained with organic matter worked into it. Keep the soil moist and feed monthly with a balanced 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer except when plants are resting in the fall. Although a moist soil is ideal, the vine is able to withstand short periods of drought.

I have a similar situation along a fence where I have this planted, some areas are in shade most of the day while others get several hours of sun. Perhaps a little less flowering in the shadiest area, but not that significant. Another thing I like about this vine is that it looks good all year long, not just when it blooms.

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9b)

Where can I find 'expanding bamboo frames' mentioned?

Northern California, CA

I've only found the smaller version, maybe 3' tall locally at Yardbirds. I ordered mine online and am so pleased with them. They make an attractive interim coverup for the fencing, until eventually all the climbing vines will fill in.

I ordered product #BBF66 - 6' x 6' expandable trellis. There really is no need to have it at the lower level on the fence, so I mounted it with the bottom at about the 3' level, then stretched it to hit the top of the fence. Each 6x6 trellis will cover about a 10' length of fencing when extended. I screwed regular dry wall screws into the wooden fence at a slight upward angle every few feet at the top and bottom It is just hanging there and has never moved, even in our heavy winds.

Butler Bamboo

Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

I like 'real' bamboo... fast growing and several species that only get that tall... some need rhizome barriers, though.

Northern California, CA

I would agree with you pb......but the whole neighborhood was already afraid that my big clumping bamboo was going to engulf their children and houses and garages and all their terribly boring plants. :-)

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

I'm having the same problem

Here's a site in Alabama that specializes in live bamboo to use as fencing.

Also, I love the new Honeysuckle cultivars that come in such pretty colors.

And there's the always present Camellia

There is a new Hydrangea cultivar "Seamanii" that is evergreen here. It's a native of Mexico and blooms all summer, it says. I've bought some for a fence recently. We'll see where it goes.

My local nursery was interested and bought some for themselves.

I've put some viticella clematis with it to put some more color into it through the season. Chalk Hill Clematis has a whole list of shade tolerant (still 6 hours of sun) clematis. We can push it more here though because it's so warm. The list is about half way down the "nursery" page just before the photos.

Abutilon is beautiful but tends to get wide. Hardenbergia is a beautiful vine - sort of slow growing but it has really beautiful flowers in December. Prone to spider mites however. I've cut it back here and let it flop, but you can tie it up.

Passionflower can take some shade, and also Mexican Scarlet Trumpet Vine which can take over but sometimes you want that. I prune my vines at the beginning of each month in the growing season so that they don't get out of hand.

or Mme Galen

But don't plant the generic Campsis Radicans. It is very invasive and puts out runners like bamboo and it eats into whatever it climbing. They are still trying to get it off the Southern California freeways.

Do you have a photo of your fence?

Thumbnail by doss
San Jose, CA

I like that Scarlet Trumpet vine. Very pretty. Is the second variety, 'Madame Galen', the same as Cape Honeysuckle? I potted up some cape honeysuckle from my front fence before the area was cleared.

I can take a picture of the fence, but it may not help because the backyard is pretty much stripped bare except for the oak trees. I'll be starting from scratch in most areas.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Madame Galen is a Trumpet Vine. The flowers are huge - about six inches long. There's an apricot one named "Morning Calm' but I've only seen it mail order. It's really beautiful. I've got a distictus on my chimney but it's not blooming now.

Here's Cape Honeysuckle in the plantfiles.

Arroyo Grande, CA

If cape honeysuckle likes your place, you will have it everywhere. Great flowers and good leaf color but in some locations it goes crazy.

Davis, CA(Zone 9b)

I remember a plant that looks just like the cape honeysuckle from when I was a kid. We'd pull the flowering head off and suck the honey out. I wonder if this is the same plant and I just ever ate enough to get sick.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

I used to do that too! Maybe a "must" for all California kids? That and pop my poor grandmother's fuschias. We got in a lot of trouble if we did that but every blue moon we had to do just one. Oh, and stick your fingers in a snap dragon and make it into a puppet. What's that shrub with all the little flowerettes that the moths like? We spend a lot of time trying to catch them. And snail races. That could take up an afternoon.

There are some really terriffic new honeysuckles. I haven't actually seen the old one in the nurseries. Let me know if you find one.

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