Container and Planter box instant hedge planting guide.

Please note: Not all hedges are well-suited to long-term container planting. Choose a hedge variety that is better suited.

A quick guide to installing your Living Walls instant hedge into areas where root growth is restricted, such as in containers, raised planters, planter boxes, and retaining walls, is below.

If you are employing a landscape contractor to install your hedge, please forward this guide to them.

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Container and planter box instant hedge planting guide.

Please check rootball measurements before planting as all quoted measurements are approximate.

1.  Choosing the right planter.  Instant hedges are grown and sold in one-metre lengths (foliage) with the rootball around 900mm long. 

Bigger is better but planters should have minimum internal dimensions of
  900mm L x 500mm W x 500mm H for a 100L hedge bag option, 
  900mm L x 400mm W x 400mm H for a 70L hedge option. 

Ensure your planter has adequate drainage as plants will not thrive and may even fail in saturated mixes or soil. Containers need to have drainage holes; planter boxes must be open to free-draining ground below.  For multiple metres of hedge, ensure any necessary cross-bracing in your planter is placed at intervals that minimise rootball disturbance, e.g. at one-metre centres.

2.  Preparing your planter.  Choose the appropriate mix for your planter. For enclosed containers, use good quality container/potting mix for beneath and around the rootball.  For planter boxes that are open to the ground, use either quality garden mix or topsoil. Mixes are available from your local garden centre and some landscape supply yards.

Use the appropriate mix only. Don't add amendments into your planter, such as scoria/broken terracotta, compost/sheep pellets/manure, water crystals, or fertiliser. Contrary to popular belief, scoria doesn't improve drainage in planters; compost breaks down, causing plantings to sink and can be too rich for delicate roots; and fertiliser should be top-dressed only (scattered on the surface). Mixes may already contain fertiliser and wetting agents but this has been evenly distributed within the mix during processing so is fine for your hedge.

Calculate how much mix you'll need by measuring the volume of your planter. Multiply the internal measurements of the planter, (e.g. 1.000 x .400 x .400 is 160L), and deduct the volume of the rootball (e.g. 70L).  So in this example you will need approx 90L of mix per planter.

Fill the planter to the level where the rootball will sit. For example, the bottom of a 70L hedge rootball will sit at around 250mm below the top of your planter.

3.  Planting your hedge.  You may wish to wear gardening gloves when carrying the hedge bags as the rods are made of fibreglass. Place hedges near your planter with each logo facing the same direction. If we have numbered your hedge bags, place the bags in numerical order left to right.

Cut out the two square ends of the bag and carefully lift the hedge into the planter. You may like to use the bag as a sling if that's easier. Avoid kicking or roughly handling the rootball, as this will weaken it.

For multiple unit planting, place the hedge rootballs about 10cm apart so that you have one hedge per metre. The foliage should touch but not the rootballs (see diagram below). Remember, the rootballs are 900mm long (give or take) and the foliage covers the full metre. The hedge bag handle is one metre long if you need a guide.

Only cut the rootball if necessary, e.g. when a part metre is required to fill your space. Cut between the plants leaving as much of the rootball intact as possible. Use a saw rather than a spade for less rootball damage.

Instant hedge - rootball spacing diagram

4.  Backfilling and Watering.   Before backfilling, settle the hedge(s) into place to your liking, upright and evenly spaced. Backfill with your mix to around halfway, packing it firmly around the rootball(s), but don't overly compact it. Water around the rootball at this stage to help settle the mix. Finish backfilling to the same height as the top of the rootball. Water your hedge immediately after planting.  See Water for ongoing watering requirements.

5.  Trimming.  Lightly trim the hedge to shape, if needed.  See Trimming for ongoing trimming information.

6.  Feeding and Mulching.  After planting, scatter a complete NPK-based slow-release fertiliser, such as Nitrophoska®, Nitro Blue or Triabon®, around the top of the rootball(s). NPK  stands for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). These fertilisers are available from your local garden supply store. 

Apply a layer of mulch around the hedge to help retain moisture and control weeds. Don't pile mulch up against the plant trunks. Don't use green grass clippings, either.  See Feeding and Mulching for ongoing feeding and mulching information.

7.  Enjoy your hedge.  Now stand back and enjoy your newly planted hedge!  Remember to refer to CARING FOR YOUR INSTANT HEDGE for ongoing care and maintenance information.