Red Robin Hedging container grown hedging perfect for Spring planting


Blackthorn Hedging

Blackthorn Hedging, also known as Prunus Spinosa is a popular thorny, deciduous hedge species that provides year round seasonal interest and produces sloes in the autumn that are a hit with birds and other wildlife. 

Popular varieties of Blackthorn Hedge Plants

Choose from our most popular varieties of Blackthorn Hedging plants, available in a range of sizes and root types.

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Blackthorn Hedge

Blackthorn Hedge

(Prunus spinosa)

Blackthorn or Sloe is a thorny, native deciduous hedge plant which produces white flowers in spring, followed by attractive green leaves and Sloe's in the autumn.

Growth rate: Fast 30-60cm per year

Overall height: Medium up to 5 metres

Position: Exposed, Full Shade, Full Sun

Root Types: Bare Root, Pot Grown

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What is Blackthorn?

Blackthorn, scientifically known as Prunus Spinosa, is not just a beautiful addition to a garden, but also a provider of valuable habitat and food source for wildlife. 

The densely packed branches offer shelter for many species of birds and small mammals, while the sloe berries produced in autumn are a great food source for many animals.

Blackthorn is a deciduous shrub or small tree with an ultimate height of up to 5 metres tall. It has an upright, spiny growth habit with dark grey bark and oval-shaped leaves that turn yellow in autumn.

In spring, it produces beautiful white flowers, followed by small round sloes in autumn.

Blackthorn Prunus Spinosa Growth Rate

Blackthorn hedge plants exhibit a moderate growth rate, typically growing between 30-60 centimetres per year.

This allows it to quickly establish itself once planted, and provide an effective barrier or boundary in a relatively short span of time, even in a semi shade position.

An established blackthorn prunus spinosa hedge

Available Types of Blackthorn Plants

Blackthorn are available as bare root and pot grown plants, each with their own advantages.

Bare root yew hedging plants

Bare Root Blackthorn Hedge Plants

Bare root Blackthorn plants are a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution for your hedging needs. 

These plants are sold without soil around their roots, making them easy to transport and reducing their environmental impact. 

As they're usually sold during the dormant season, they're ready to burst into life once planted, and they're well-suited to a wide variety of soil types, making them a flexible choice for many gardeners.


Pot grown yew hedging plants

Pot Grown Blackthorn Prunus Spinosa Hedges

Pot grown Blackthorn plants offer convenience and flexibility. These cell grown plants can be planted throughout the year, so there's no need to wait for the dormant season. 

The plants, already rooted in their pots, often establish more rapidly, and their survival rate tends to be higher. 

This makes pot grown options a viable choice for gardeners seeking a more immediate impact from their hedging.


Benefits and features of Blackthorn Hedging

  • Wildlife Attractant: Blackthorn Prunus spinosa hedges are a magnet for wildlife and common in native hedgerows, providing a habitat and food source for many species of birds and small mammals.
  • Year-Round Interest: They offer year-round aesthetic appeal with beautiful white flowers in the spring and sloe berries in the autumn.
  • Robust Growth: Considered as a fast growing hedge, with a growth rate of 30-60cm per year, Blackthorn hedges can provide privacy and become an effective barrier in a relatively short span of time.
  • Flexible Planting: Blackthorn is available as both bare root and pot grown plants, offering flexibility in terms of planting and budget.
  • Eco-Friendly: Bare root hedge plants have a lower environmental impact due to the absence of soil during transportation.
  • Versatile: These hedge plants are well-suited to a wide variety of soils, making them adaptable to various garden conditions.
  • Convenient: Pot grown plants can be planted throughout the year, providing greater convenience compared to seasonally bound bare root plants.
  • Higher Survival Rate: Pot grown plants often establish more rapidly and have a higher survival rate.
  • Provides Cover: The densely packed branches offer a protective shelter to many bird species and small mammals.
  • Autumnal Beauty: The oval-shaped leaves of the Blackthorn hedge plants turn a lovely shade of yellow in the autumn, adding to the seasonal beauty of your garden.

Blackthorn hedge in flower during the spring

Planting Blackthorn Hedge

How to plant a Blackthorn Hedge

For a step by step process and further information on how to plant a new hedge, please see our comprehensive hedge planting guide.

When is the best time to plant Blackthorn Hedging?

The ideal time to plant Blackthorn Hedging depends on the type of plant you've chosen. 

Bare root Blackthorn should be planted during the dormant season, which usually falls between November and March in the UK. 

This is when the plant is not actively growing, which allows it to establish itself in its new location without the stress of maintaining leaves.

On the other hand, pot grown Blackthorn Hedging plants can be planted throughout the year, as they're already established in soil and can handle the transition. 

However, do remember to water more frequently during drier periods, particularly in summer months, to ensure successful establishment.

Person planting pot grown blackthorn hedge in the garden

Blackthorn Hedge spacing and planting distances

The distance between each Blackthorn hedge plant depends on the root type and size of the plant.

Please refer to our Blackthorn Hedge spacing chart below which contains the correct planting spacing and distances for each root type and plant size.


Preferred soil types and planting positions

Blackthorn Hedging thrives best in moist, well-drained soil, demonstrating a particular preference for chalky or loamy soils. 

Although it's known for its robust adaptability to varying soil conditions, Blackthorn tends to grow less enthusiastically in heavy clay or overly sandy soils. In terms of sunlight exposure, 

Blackthorn exhibits flexibility, growing well in both full sun, semi shade and full shade. Whether you're planting it in an exposed or sheltered site, 

Blackthorn hedging will flourish, providing a stunning, wildlife-friendly hedge that offers year-round interest.

Pruning and maintenance tips for Blackthorn Hedging Plants

To ensure the longevity and health of your Blackthorn hedges, regular pruning and maintenance is essential. Below, we offer valuable tips and advice on how to properly care for your Blackthorn.

When to prune a Blackthorn Hedge

The best time to prune a Blackthorn hedge is during the dormant season, between November and March in the UK. This allows for a more thorough pruning without disturbing nesting birds or damaging new growth.

How to prune a Blackthorn Hedge

To maintain a neat and tidy appearance, cut back any overly long or bare branches using sharp secateurs or hedge trimmers.

Remember to wear protective gloves due to the plant's thorny nature. To encourage dense growth, prune back older branches to allow younger shoots to thrive.

Watering and fertilising

Blackthorn hedges aren't particularly demanding when it comes to watering and fertilising. During the establishment period (usually the first two years after planting), you should ensure the plants receive adequate water, particularly during drier weather. 

Providing a thorough soaking once a week should suffice, but avoid waterlogging the soil. As for fertilising, an annual application of a general-purpose fertiliser, such as slow release hedge feed, in late winter or early spring can help boost growth and overall health of the hedge. 

However, Blackthorn is generally tolerant and can thrive without additional feeding, especially if planted in rich, well-drained soil.

General maintenance tips for Blackthorn Hedging

  • Keep an eye out for signs of disease or pest infestation and treat accordingly.
  • Regularly remove any debris or dead branches from the base of the hedge to promote airflow and reduce the risk of fungal diseases.
  • In dry periods, water the hedge regularly to ensure successful establishment and healthy growth.
  • Mulch with well-rotted manure or compost in spring to provide essential nutrients for optimum growth.

Frequently Asked Questions about Blackthorn Prunus Spinosa

When does Blackthorn flower?

Blackthorn hedging typically flowers in early spring, usually from March to April in the UK. The bright white blossoms emerge before the leaves, creating a stunning contrast against the dark branches. 

The flowering period can depend on local weather conditions and is an eagerly awaited spectacle that signals the onset of spring.

Does Blackthorn make a good hedge?

Absolutely, Blackthorn prunus spinosa makes an excellent hedge. Its dense growth habit, versatility in a range of soil types and exposure conditions, and wildlife-attracting qualities make it a popular choice for hedging. 

In addition to providing robust security with its thorny branches, the Blackthorn hedge also blooms beautiful white flowers in the spring and bears dark fruits in the autumn, adding seasonal beauty to your landscape. 

Its resilience and low maintenance requirements further enhance its appeal as a hedging plant.

How fast does a Blackthorn hedge grow?

Blackthorn prunus spinosa hedges are known for their moderate to fast rate of growth. On an average, they can grow about 30 to 60cm per year. 

However, it's important to note that the actual growth rate can vary based on factors such as soil type, sunlight exposure, and overall care. 

Regular watering and annual feeding can promote healthier and more vigorous growth.


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