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18 Fast Growing Trees For Quick Privacy [Article]

Japanese Maple True

Trees are a wonderful addition to a garden. They provide shade, privacy, can filter out unwanted views, and create habitats and food for creatures of all shapes and sizes.

Some trees grow faster than others, and those that grow quickly should reach a generous height in around five to seven years. So if you’re keen to experience the benefits of these natural wonders sooner rather than later, here are some of the best Australian natives and exotic fast growing trees that will add some variety to your garden.

1. Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Magnolia Tree

Image from Oxley Nursery

With glossy deep-green leaves that are bronze on their reverse, the variety Teddy Bear displays large, fragrant white flowers in the warmer months. Ideal in a large planter or as an informal screen or feature tree, magnolia grows in most conditions — even in coastal areas. However, this tree needs regular watering, as it will lose its lushness if deprived.

2. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

Japanese Maple True

Image from UNH Cooperative Extension – University of New Hampshire

There are hundreds of varieties of this fast-growing tree, and their delicate leaves and glowing Autumn colour make them an ideal choice for cooler-climates gardens. A few worth considering are Atropurpureum, which reaches a height of around four metres and has bronze-purple foliage in summer. Coral bark maple or Acer Sango Kaku grows to around five metres tall and is renowned for its upswept branches and bright bark in winter.

3. Tahitian Lime (Citrus x latifolia)

Tahitian Lime Tree

Image from The Tree Center

When it comes to fast-growing trees in Australia, the Tahitian Lime does best in warmer climates and needs rich, well-drained soil. They grow to around three metres tall and have scented white blossoms as well as beautiful limes. Tahitian Limes should be mulched and well-watered, especially when the fruit is forming. Although they can be grown in pots, mature trees love a sunny, protected position and a bit of organic-based fertiliser once a month — then watch them thrive!

4. Redbuds (Cercis)

Redbuds Tree

Image from Wikipedia

The Forest Pansy or Purple Redbud variety of this tree grows to around five metres in height. They prefer being planted in the garden rather than in a pot and need to be protected from harsh winds. In spring, large, heart-shaped leaves emerge that are a beautiful purple-red colour and also an abundance of small, pink-purple blossoms on the tree’s bare branches. Leaves are purple-tinged green through summer and turn to apricot and gold in autumn.

5. Dwarf Flowering Gum (Corymbia ficifolia)

Dwarf Glowering Gum

Image from Gardening With Angus

Native to Western Australia, they can thrive outside of the state if grafted onto robust rootstock. They produce masses of super-sized flowers for a small-statured tree, with colours ranging from pink and white to red and orange. Depending on the variety, they can reach heights from three to six metres. Birds (especially lorikeets) love their abundant, nectar-filled blossoms, which are followed by huge gumnuts. To keep the plant bushy, prune after flowering to conserve the plant’s energy.

6. Dwarf Lemon-scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora)

Dwarf Lemon Scented Gum

Image from Mallee Design

A fast-growing native Australian tree, this is a dwarf variety that provides all of the benefits of a large gum tree (including shade and fast growth) without turning into a forest giant! Corymbia citriodora can grow to over thirty metres in height, however, the Scentuous variety reaches just seven metres high. Elegant with a slender white trunk and beautiful lemon scent, it has colourful pink stems and white flowers in summer.

7. Blueberry Ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus)

Blueberry Ash Tree

Image from Gardening With Angus

One of the best fast-growing garden trees, Elaeocarpus reticulatus is evergreen, narrow in shape and has blue berries — which birds find delicious! These follow the tree’s pink or white flowers, which have fringed petals. Eventually reaching ten to fifteen metres in height, is it an ideal choice for a tall screen planted in shade or sun

8. Water Gum (Tristaniopsis laurina)

Water Gum

Image from Gardening With Angus

Another rainforest favourite, Tristaniopsis laurina is a dense tree with bright green leaves and clusters of small yellow flowers that appear in summer. Growing naturally in moist areas beside creeks, it benefits from regular watering after planting. It can reach from five to fifteen metres in height, depending on growing conditions.

9. Lemon-scented Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)

Lemon Scented Myrtle

Image from small green things

Backhousia citriodora offers shade along with beautifully fragrant, lemon-scented leaves. It is laden with clusters of white flowers in summer, and grows to around eight metres in height. Originally a sub-tropical rainforest tree from the east coast of Queensland, it needs frost protection when young and regular watering until it is well established.

10. Wattle (Acacia)

Wattle Seed Tree

Image from Shutterstock

While a third of Australia’s wattle species flower throughout winter, our national flower — Acacia pycnantha — flowers at the end of August and the beginning of September, which signals the start of spring. With thin, curved green leaves and large yellow balls of flowers, wattles are often deemed “fast-growing but short-lived”. However, some varieties are stately, tall and relatively long-lived, including Black Wattle (Acacia decurrens), which can reach up to twelve metres tall, and Cedar Wattle (Acacia elata) and Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon), which can reach heights of up to thirty metres.

11. Virgilia (Virgilia divaricata)

Virgilia Tree

Image from Branch out with BotSoc

A genus of Southern African trees in the family Fabaceae, Virgilia is renowned for its rapid growth — in fact, it is often called a “tree-in-a-hurry.” It has soft, finely divided leaves and mauve-pink spring pea blossoms (which smell a bit like bubblegum!) appearing in warmer months, followed by dark, leathery seed pods. They can grow up to twenty metres tall, and prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained soils.

12. Fiddlewood (Citharexylum spinosum)

Fiddlewood Tree

Image from Pinterest

This beautiful West Indian native tree (Citharexylum spinosum) is very fast-growing and known for its fragrant, creamy white flowers and attractive foliage. Growing to a height of ten to twelve metres, its bright green leaves turn an unusual orange-salmon colour in spring, and in cooler climates, lose many of its leaves after that. They prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade, and like well-drained soil enriched with organic matter.

13. Casuarina

Casuarina Tree

Image from Monaco Nature Encyclopedia

“She oaks” are well worth considering for your garden if you’re after a fast-growing native tree that will attract lots of native birds. The word “casuarina” comes from the word “cassowary” due to their fine, evergreen, textured foliage that looks like the bird’s feathers. Foliage is actually not made of leaves but fine-ridged “branchlets”. Species to consider include the River Oak, which grows between 15 and 35 metres, and the Swamp and Forest Oak, both of which grow to around 15 metres in height. Forest Oak, in particular, has been a favourite in Australian gardens for years due to its rich burgundy foliage.

14. Grevillea

Grevillea Tree

Image from Geographe Community Landcare Nursery

If you have a smaller garden and prefer a tree-like shrub rather than a tall specimen, many grevillea species can be “trained” to take on a tree shape and grow reasonably quickly. Taller grevilleas include Moonlight, which has white flowers, Honey Gem golden-orange flowers, and Sandra Gordon yellow flowers, which can be grown successfully into small, slender trees. You simply select a plant with a single stem and remove the lower growing branches as it grows. These varieties can grow from three to eight metres high and when closely planted, provide dappled shade and privacy. Birds and insects also love their nectar-rich flowers.

15. Frangipani (Plumeria)

Frangipani Tree

Image from Australian Handyman Magazine

The native Hymenosporum flavum is a lovely “shrubby” tree that is dense, fast-growing and grows six to eight metres high. It has shiny green leaves and clusters of creamy yellow flowers that have a lovely heavy fragrance. If you’re after shade, select one with a single trunk and then remove the lower-growing branches as it grows. For a taller screen, prune into a columnar shape. Frangipanis can grow in shade or sun and prefer good soil, regular watering and a little shelter from the hot afternoon sun.

16. Bottle Brush (Callistemon)

Bottle Brush Tree

Image from Shutterstock

The native Callistemon is known for its hardiness, thrives in most conditions, and can grow up to four metres tall. Their name comes from the spikes of flowers that form in summer and spring. The flower forms pollen on the tip of a long stalk called a filament (which are usually red or yellow), and these give the flower its distinctive shape. Varieties to consider include the Prickly Bottlebrush with its yellow pollen-covered flower spikes, the Crimson Bottlebrush with its bright-red flower spikes, and the Willow Bottlebrush, which has white, greenish, pink, red or mauve flower spikes.

17. Lilly Pilly (Syzygium smithii)

Lilly Pilly Tree

Image from Shutterstock

A common choice for privacy in Australian gardens, Syzygium smithii can grow up to five metres tall relatively quickly, and varieties range from large trees to small shrubs. They have dense foliage, oval-shaped glossy leaves, and new foliage can appear in a variety of colours. These range from vibrant pinks to fiery oranges and bright reds. Flowers can vary from small to “showy”( but are always “powder puff” looking), and colourful berries follow the flowers.

18. Pittosporum

Pittosporum Tree

Image from Wikipedia

There is a huge variety of this popular screening plant available. They are very hardy, fast-growing and evergreen and ideal as low hedges or as a screening or ornamental tree. Pittosporum can grow from four to twelve metres in height and prefer well-drained soil and part shade or direct sun. They are generally not known for their flowers, and foliage can vary from pale and mid-green to deep greens. Varieties include Silver Stirling, Green Pillar, Golden Pillar and Golf Ball, among others!


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