30 plants to deter unwanted visitors

Updated Jul 6, 2023

english-holly-ilex-aquifolium-common-holly-391-pIf clients are trying to find better protection around their homes, they don’t always have to turn to abundant lighting and video cameras.

Surprisingly, landscapers can help a great deal when designing a client’s home to help keep unwanted visitors away.

To be helpful, the Metropolitan Police in London put together a list of 30 plants to help clients feel better protected on a daily basis. Although the list comes from across the ocean, these plants can help a variety of clients in different locations.

1. Creeping Juniper – Juniperis horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’ – Also known as ‘Blue Rug’ because it has long branches and its prostrate shape forms a flattened blue carpet. It has a thorny stem and foliage.

2. Blue Spruce – Picea pungens ‘Globosa’ – Rigid branches, irregular dense blue, spiky needles. Slow growing. Moist rich soil.

3. Common Holly – Ilex agulfolium – Large evergreen shrub, dark green spiked leaves. Large red berries on female plants only. Any well drained soil. Plant with garden compost and bone-meal.

4. Giant Rhubarb – Gunnera manicata – Giant rhubarb-like leaves on erect stems, abrasive foliage. Plant by water-side for effect.

5. Golden Bamboo – Phyllostachys aurea– Very graceful, forming thick clumps. Less invasive than other bamboos. Hardy. Young shoots in spring.

6. Chinese Jujube – Zizyphus sativa – Medium-sized tree with very spiny pendulous branches. Leaves glossy bright green. Bears clusters of small yellow flowers.

7. Firethorn Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’ – Flowers white in June, with bright orange-red berries. Thorny stem. Height 10-15 feet. Suitable for north or east-facing wall or as impenetrable hedging.

8. Shrub Rose – Rosa ‘Frau Dagmar Hastrup’ – Excellent ground cover, pale pink flowers, very thorny stem. May to September. Plant with garden compost and bone-meal.

9. Pencil Christmas Tree – Picea abias ‘Cupressina’ – Medium-sized tree of columnar habit, with ascending spiky branches. Attractive form with dense growth. Avoid dry chalky soils.

10. Juniper – Juniperus x media ‘Old Gold’ – Evergreen. Golden-tipped foliage. Prickly foliage. Height 2 feet. Spread 6 feet. Low growing. Excellent ground cover.

11. Purple Berberis – Berberis thunbergil ‘Atropurpurea’– Rich purple foliage. Thorny stem. Medium-sized deciduous. Any soil sunny position.

12. Mountain Pine – Pinus mugo ‘Mughus’– A very hardy, large shrub or small tree, with long sharp needles, of dense, bushy habit. Leaves in pairs, rigid and curved, dark green, cone.

13. Blue Pine – Picea pungens ‘Hoopsii’– Small to medium-sized tree, spiky needled stem, densely conical habit, with vividly glaucous blue leaves. Likes moist, rich soil.

14. Oleaster – Elaeagnus angustifolia – Small deciduous tree, about 15 to 20 feet high. Smooth, dark brown branches that often bear spines and narrow, light green leaves that are silvery on the undersides. The flowers are small, greenish, fragrant, and silvery-scaled on the outside, as are the edible, olive-shaped, yellowish fruits, which are sweet but mealy. Hardy, wind resistant, tolerant of poor, dry sites, and thus useful in windbreak hedges.

15. Blackthorn – Prunus spinosa – Also called Sloe; spiny shrub. Usually grows less than 12 feet tall and has numerous, small leaves. Its dense growth makes it suitable for hedges. White flowers. Bluish-black fruit is used to flavor sloe gin.

16. Fuschia-flowered Gooseberry – Ribes speciosum – Fruit bush, spiny, produces greenish to greenish-pink flowers in clusters of two or three. Extremely hardy, thrive in moist, heavy clay soil in cool, humid climates.

The remaining 14 are as follows:

  • Aralia
  • Chaenomeles
  • Colletia
  • Crataegus (including hawthorn/may)
  • Hippophae (sea buckthorn)
  • Maclura
  • Mahonia
  • Oplopanax
  • Osmanthus
  • Poncirus
  • Rhamnus
  • Rosa (climbing & shrub roses)
  • Rubus (bramble)
  • Smilax Prickly ash (Zanthoxylum).
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