Dodonaea Viscosa Hop Bush – A native garden hedge

A main feature of our front yard design will be a hedge that meanders it’s way across the front yard. We live on the main road that enters our estate, so we wanted not only something that could reduce the noise of the constant traffic, but also some privacy from the passers by.

Surprisingly there are lots of native Australian plants that can be used for a hedge. Most people perceive Australian plants as being quite rugged and unable to coax into shape, but the same pruning techniques used to shape traditional hedging plants can also be used on Australian natives. Provided you have the patience to keep on top of the pruning, you can shape any native plant to fit into a formal or informal garden style.

The plant we are using for our hedge is the Dodonaea Viscosa (supp Cuneata), or Wedge-leaved Hop Bush, and is indigenous to our area. Most articles on the internet mention the Hop Bush makes for a very effective informal hedge as well as a habitat plant. The Hop Bush is an open, evergreen shrub that grows between 1 – 3 meters high and about 1.5 meters wide. The majority of the examples I’ve seen in this area grow to about 2 meters.

I see this plant used a lot in council landscaping and I get the feeling it’s a trusty work horse for the environment. One of the walking paths I frequently use on my morning walks has a row of them planted a couple of years ago. So it’s great to have been able to watch how the stock tube plants mature.

I have also seen a purple version of the Hop Bush growing in front yards. Whilst the purple colour is very pretty, unfortunately it’s a New Zealand plant and not native to Australia – despite what is signposted at your local Bunnings!

The Hop Bush flowers in spring with coloured fruit. The color can be anywhere from a deep red, through to oranges and yellows. The bush is really pretty when you stand back and I think it will look amazing in our front yard.

Apparently the fruits were used to brew beer by the early European Australians, hence the shrub is called a Hop Bush. Maybe there is a side business for me – ‘Western Plains Beer’ perhaps?!