Which Fencing Plants in Kenya Make the Best Hedges

Garden with hedge plants that create fences maze

In this post, we will give you a list of the best live fence plants to grow in Kenya for the best hedges.

Fencing trees can give you thick and secure barriers keeping people and animals away from your home and property. The best types of live fences in Kenya are Kayaba, duranta, Bamboo and bougainvillea. In dryer areas you can grow Acacia, finger euphorbia and cactus species. The post shows that hedge fences are cheaper to establish and maintain. Other benefits of using hedge fences in Kenya include their aesthetic value.

Finally the post will give you a guide as a homeowner, farmer or landscapers on how to choose the best hedge plants for your fence.

Read Next : Which are the best ornamental trees Kenya?

10 best types of Live fences in Kenya

Which is the best fencing trees for homeowners and landscapers in Kenya?

In our list, we have listed the ten commonly used hedge plats in the Kenya. They include cactus, acacia and euphorbia that are suitable for dry areas.

Kei-apple

sheared kayaba fence
Kei Apples is also know as Kay apple, Mkokola, Kayaba or kayapa fences

Kayaba Fences are raised from the dovyaliscaffra or the Iberia caffra plant.

The plant species is native to Namibia in Southwest Africa along the River Kei.  It grows best in sandy soils making it a suitable fencing plant in the lowlands, coastal and areas with saline soils.  Besides, the plant is drought resistant. The plant belongs to the family Flacourtiaceae.

The Kayaba plant has many thorns giving you the best hedge for security from intrusion by wild or livestock animals. You can make a Kei-apple fence from seeds or seedlings. The recommended spacing is 3 to 5 ft (0.9-1.5 m) apart. To note, the plant is unfit for land fences. It produces a biochemical that inhibits the growth of other nearby plants.

Besides its use as a hedge plant, you can use Kei apple fruits for human food. Its recipe ideas include making jam and jelly or pickles.

Cypress

A fence of green coniferous ornamental trees outside in the grass

Cypress tree fence is one of the best coniferous hedge plant in areas with high rainfall. Its hedges are lush, pretty and fast growing. Once you establish it, it is free of maintenance. The species is drought and heat resistance. Since they have a thick growth, they are the best choice hedge plant for privacy. Besides, their Soft foliage and non-prickly greenery is great for families with kids and dogs!

The recommended spacing distance for cypress hedge is 6 to 10 feet apart for quick privacy. For straight-line traditional privacy, plant your trees about 8 to 10 feet apart.  If you are looking for security consider a spacing of approximately 6 to 8 feet apart on a diagonal or zigzag pattern by planting them in 2 rows.

The three types of cypress trees in Kenya are the Monterey Cypress, Italian cypress, or the Arizona cypress. Besides the cypress species, the other related trees of the same family are the junipers, thuja green giants, cedar, and fir.

Duranta

well trimmed duranta hedge kenya

The variegate Duranta fence is the most common hedge plant from more than 30 different species of the evergreen plant. It is one of the fast growing fencing plants in Kenya if you are looking to establish an ornamental hedges over a short time. 

The Duranta species has several beautiful variegate varieties that you can consider The common types of duranta plants are

  • ‘Golden Edge’: It has Light green leaves centered with a golden edges
  • ‘Sapphire Showers’: this duranta has White or cream variegated leaves on edges
  • Alba’: This plant forms clusters of white flowers.

Duranta hedges are easy to establish in well-drained moist and fertile soils. The general guideline for spacing Duranta plants in a hedge or fence is approximately 2 to 3 feet (about 0.6 to 0.9 meters) apart. They grow extremely fast and need frequent pruning. Some varieties can also have small thorns making it a good choice for security pathways.

Lantana

red lantana hedge

Lantana hedges (Lantana spp.) hedges can bloom all summer, attracting hosts of bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. It has bushy growth habit and its blooming makes it a good candidate for a hedge. The Lantana species is tolerant to most soil types, but prefers rich, well-draining soil that is slightly acidic. Mulch with pine needles to increase soil acidity. Lantana can reach 2 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 10 feet wide. Though there are 150 different species, those most widely available to home gardeners are Lantana camara and modern hybrids.

To get a good hedge, plant it at a spacing of 36-48 inches (90-120 cm). You can propagate it using stem cuttings. You can plant the Pink, Magenta (pink-purple), Red, Orange, Bright Yellow or the Medium Purple types.

Tithonia

Tithonia or the Mexican sunflower is one of the widely used hedges in Kenya. It is a multipurpose plant and can use it for ruminant and rabbit fodder, fuel, compost and land demarcation. It is native to Central America and Mexico.

You can easily propagate tithonia hedge by direct seeding or by planting of 20-30 cm long cuttings from green stems, at a spacing of 0.5-0.75 m x 0.75 m The plant produced large quantities of biomass you can use to make green manure.

Cactus Plants

The above seven (7) hedge plants are best for areas with high or medium rainfall volumes. The last three are suitable for areas classified as either arid or semi-arid. These comprise almost 80 % of land mass in Kenya.  These include the cacti, acacia and euphorbia tree types.

You can grow more than 1500 cactus species and varieties. Cacti plants are succulent plants. They have fleshy, water-storing branches. Cacti are drought tolerant and survive well during warm, dry periods, making them an easy-to-care-for landscape plant. Check for spacing requirements on the cactus variety before planting. The best cactus types you can establish for your fences and landscaping are-

  • Buckthorn cholla,
  • Barrel cactus,
  • Prickly pears,
  • Aloe Veras
  • Agaves (Sisals)
  • Totem pole cactus
  • Saguaro Cactus
  • San Pedro Cactus

Acacia Species

Acacia species has hardy thorns that easily deter livestock and humans from farms and your home. The three types you can use for hedges are the Acacia brevispica, Acacia nilotica, Acacia tortilis. These are most suitable in areas classified as dry semi-arid like Isiolo and wajir counties To use acacia for hedges exercise caution as they may be too thorny to have near houses as children may suffer

Finger Euphorbia

 finger euphorbia fence with grevillea trees

The last hedge plant in our list is the finger euphorbia or the pencil cactus. Its local names are Kamba (Ndau), Kikuyu (kariaria) or Swahili (Mtupa mwitu). It is an extensively used hedge plant in dry, hot areas. areas of East Africa. It is easy to establish and an ideal species for agroforestry offering little shade and do not affect soil fertility like Kei-apple.

You can propagate the kariaria fences from cuttings. Plant them close together for strong non-penetrable fences. To make sure it does not grow wild, trim and top-prune it regularly.

Bougainvillea

A blooming bougainvillea fence kenya

Bougainvillea is one of the most preferred fence plant in Kenya. This tree type originates from South America. It is now widely distributed throughout the tropics. The evergreen crop has a small actual white flower that is shielded by a cluster of three brightly colored bracts. Landscapers have interbred Bougainvillea species into many different flower colors, growth forms and hybrids. The common types available in Kenya have long vines that can climb up to 12 meters with long strong thorns. You can interwove the vines into strong impenetrable hedges for security as well as beauty.

You can propagate the Bougainvillea hedges from cuttings. Plant them in a 1m by 1m by 60cm deep with well-packed compost and bone meal. Train it early in its growth stages. Otherwise, it will grow wild into thick overgrown bushes

Bamboo

Bamboo fences are fast growing and very low in terms of maintenance. The bamboo are extremely invasive and you may consider the less invasive types or grow them in containers placed along the fence.

Read Next: 8 Ways To Make Money Growing Trees in Kenya

For a living barrier fence, order for the Hedge bamboos either the Phyllostachys glauca or the Bambusa guangxiensis. These types have strikingly beautiful canes that grow compact. The two are naturally bushy right down to the ground. It will give you a beautiful bamboo hedge with a very graceful appearance.

How to choose the best hedge plants in Kenya

There are many plant options you can choose to establish a live fence. To make a choice among our list , look for the plants that are easy to shear and prune for a landscaping masterpiece. Your fencing trees should easily blend with the well-manicured grass and other surroundings. finally look for the evergreen and flowering shrubs for beautiful driveways and gardens in front of your house or farm.  The other factors to consider in your shopping are as follows;

duranta hedge kenya
  1. Cost: Choose hedge plants that are easy to plant and maintain. Your fence can serve multiple purposes, like providing firewood, enhancing soil fertility, offering food, animal fodder, and fiber. Consider planting legume trees such as Calliandra, Leucaena, and Sesbania, which you can prune for animal feed, and then use the branches as firewood. For human food, grow guava, mulberry for fruits, or moringa trees for vegetables. You can also train climbing vines like passion fruits, yams, and gourds on your fences to yield more fruits and vegetables.
  2. Landscaping: If you’re looking for a natural and beautiful landscape, opt for evergreen plants that remain green all year round. You can also plant flowering and ornamental species like roses and hibiscus, which can be trimmed into lovely hedges. For added color in your driveways, consider variegated plants like the duranta species.
  3. Maturity: If you want privacy and a tall, thick hedge, plant fast-growing herbs. Examples include pine, cypress, Kei apple, and white bottlebrush.
  4. Security: Enhance your live fence’s security by combining it with a chain-link or barbed wire fence. Alternatively, you can choose thorny plants like Kei-apple, acacia species, and bougainvillea to discourage intruders, both human and animal.
  5. Climate: Select fencing trees that are suited to your region’s climate. Drought-resistant species like yellow Oleander, acacia, and cactus are suitable for hot lowlands. In wetter highlands, consider growing cypress and Bougainvillea. Indigenous species are well-suited to your area but may take longer to mature. If you need fast-growing hedges, you can opt for exotic species.
  6. Mixed Hedges: To safeguard against diseases and pests, consider planting a variety of plants in your hedge. This mixed hedge approach ensures that if one plant is affected, it won’t affect the entire fence.

Why live fences? 10 top Benefits

Are there any benefits of establishing live fences over stone, timber or mesh wire fences?

Live fences and hedge plants provide numerous benefits. They include aesthetics, environmental advantages, enhanced security and privacy, and cost savings, making them a valuable choice for farmers and landowners.

The table below has 10 benefits of live fences and hedge plants

BenefitExamples
Environmental & AestheticsAesthetic Appeal: Live fences enhance the beauty and colors of your landscape with aromatic and visually pleasing plants.

Wildlife Attraction: They attract beneficial wildlife such as songbirds, butterflies, and bees, promoting biodiversity.

Environmental Protection: Live fences act as windbreakers, reduce noise, and help control dust, creating a safer environment.

Temperature Regulation: They absorb sunlight, keeping your property cooler during hot weather.

Eco-Friendly: Live fences contribute to reducing global warming, conserving soil, reducing erosion, and acting as natural temperature regulators.
Security & PrivacyBoundary Markers: Use hedges to clearly mark boundaries between properties or within your land.

Security: Live fences deter human and livestock intruders, enhancing the safety of your property.

Privacy: They significantly improve privacy around homes, offices, and private facilities like pools and sports court
Cost EffectivenessAffordable: Establishing and maintaining live fences is more cost-effective than constructing permanent walls.

Savings: For a quarter-acre property that needs 209 feet (64 meters) of fencing, live fences cost less, ranging from $1,730 to $2,350, compared to the $2,270 to $5,760 cost of traditional fencing with labor and materials.
Benefits of live fences and hedge plants

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7 Comments

  • Have tried bamboo and it failed many times even after watering.what could be the reason?

    23 May - 2021 at 04:20 AM
    muthoni Reply
  • Hello,l sell keiapple seeds,acacia, gravillea, Croton, casuarina,olea Africana,prunus Africana,pondo carpus,

    08 November - 2022 at 07:34 AM
    Joseph Maina Mwangi Reply
    • How can I buy Kayaba from you?

      06 July - 2023 at 11:55 AM
      Awino Reply
      • We are not stocking Kei-apple seeds nor seedlings, do a market research for reliable sellers on your region.

        24 July - 2023 at 07:28 PM
  • Which is the best live fence in dry areas

    08 November - 2022 at 07:36 AM
    Joseph Maina Mwangi Reply
    • Hi Joseph, the best live fences in arid areas include ones made of Cactus species, sisal, Acacia, Finger Euphorbia, Keiapple, etc.

      09 November - 2022 at 06:19 AM
      Agcenture Reply
  • Hello,
    This is a very Good piece of writing and very informative. Just the info I was looking for as I try to do a fence makeover.
    Don Sheriff.

    19 November - 2022 at 07:58 AM
    Surrum Reply