Blackthorn Hedging – Prunus Spinosa


Prunus spinosa, commonly known as Blackthorn or Sloe, is a native British deciduous shrub that serves as a hardy and effective hedging plant. Known for its dense growth, white spring blossoms, and dark blue-black autumn berries, it stands apart from many other English trees.

Blackthorn Hedging – Prunus spinosa

Prunus spinosa, commonly known as Blackthorn or Sloe, is a native British deciduous shrub that serves as a hardy and effective hedging plant. Known for its dense growth, white spring blossoms, and dark blue-black autumn berries, it stands apart from many other English trees.

Description and Characteristics

Blackthorn gets its name from its dark, almost black bark, and its sharp, robust thorns. It has small, oval leaves and its spiny, dense, and bushy nature makes it an excellent choice for secure hedging. In spring, it explodes with a froth of small, white flowers that appear before the leaves, making it a spectacular sight.

In a hedge, Blackthorn typically grows up to 2-3 metres (6-10 feet) if regularly maintained, but as a standalone tree, it can reach up to 6-7 metres (20-23 feet). Its growth rate is relatively fast for a hedging plant, averaging about 40-60cm (15-24 inches) per year. The lifespan of Blackthorn can extend up to hundreds of years.

Flowering, Berries, and Reproduction

Blackthorn is one of the first shrubs to flower in spring, producing clusters of small, white, hermaphroditic flowers that are pollinated by bees and other insects. This early bloom provides a valuable nectar source when many other plants have yet to flower.

In autumn, the plant produces sloes – small, blue-black, tart berries. These are extremely astringent and are typically used to flavour sloe gin, a popular British liqueur. The berries contain one seed and are primarily dispersed by birds and other animals that eat them.

Benefits to Wildlife

Blackthorn hedging provides an invaluable habitat for wildlife. Its dense, thorny structure offers shelter and nesting sites for birds, and its early flowers are a vital source of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators. In autumn and winter, birds and small mammals feast on the nutrient-rich sloes.

Ideal for British Gardens

Blackthorn is a fantastic addition to British gardens. Its dense, thorny growth makes it an excellent choice for secure, wildlife-friendly hedging or as a windbreak. Its early white flowers and autumn berries provide year-round interest and its hardy nature means it can thrive in a wide range of soils and conditions, including coastal areas.

Distribution in the UK

Blackthorn is widespread across the UK and is a common feature in the British countryside. It’s often found in hedgerows, woodlands, and scrubland, and is particularly prevalent in chalk and limestone soils.

In conclusion, Blackthorn hedging, with its seasonal interest, wildlife benefits, and robust nature, makes a practical and aesthetically pleasing addition to British gardens. Whether you want a dense, secure hedge or to attract wildlife, Blackthorn is a fantastic choice.


Full Standard, Boxhead, Feathered, Multi Stem, Pleached, Half Standard Pleached, Umbrella, Half Standard, Espalier, Mini Standard, Ball, Cone, Spiral, Cube, Cloud Form, Cube Spiral, Cube Multiball, Cube Ball Cone, Pom-pom, Lollipop, Archway, Twisted Stem, Triple Lollipop, Multiball 2, Multiball 3, Dome, Cylinder, Pyramid, Cylindrical Dome, Twisted Stem, Unique, Bonsai, Instant Hedge, Instant Screen, Hedging Plants, Young Tree, Regular Tree

Root Type

Pot Grown, Rootball, Bare Root


15-30cm, 30-50cm, 50-70cm, 70-90cm, 90-110cm, 110-130cm, 130-150cm, 150-170cm, 170-200cm, 200-230cm, 230-250cm, 250-270cm, 270-300cm, 300-350cm, 350-400cm, 400-450cm, 450-500cm, 500-600cm, 600-700cm, 700-800cm, 10-20cm, 20-30cm, 30-40cm, 40-50cm, 50-60cm, 60-70cm, 70-80cm, 80-90cm, 90-100cm, 100-110cm, 110-120cm, 120-130cm, 130-140cm, 140-150cm

Stem Girth

4-6cm, 6-8cm, 8-10cm, 10-12cm, 12-14cm, 14-16cm, 16-18cm, 18-20cm, 20-22cm, 22-24cm, 24-26cm, 26-28cm, 28-30cm, 30-35cm, 35-40cm, 40-45cm, 45-50cm, 50-60cm, 60-70cm, N/A, 20-25cm, 25-30cm

Foliage Type




Water Requirement

Moderate Watering

Growth Height

Medium Growing

Growth Speed

Moderate Growth

Costal Growing










Hard Wood Cutbacks?



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