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I'm interested in finding plants that make good hedges, but that have translucent leaves so as to let light through. I'm interested in plants that can create privacy without blocking all the light.

The reason I want the extra light is to allow for more sun in the garden (and to attract more pollinators—they like light).

What do you think would best handle this scenario?

(It's a bonus if they're edible, medicinal, or otherwise multipurpose.)

For landscaping purposes, I guess it doesn't really have to be a hedge of plants, if you can think of something else that could work.

  • At what distance from the hedge would the to-be-shielded and the to-be-shielded-from people or object be placed? I think it’s a huge difference whether we are talking about just a few feet or larger distances. – Stephie Nov 22 '17 at 6:51
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    And are you thinking about sunbathing-in-the-buff privacy or what-I’m-serving-for-lunch-is-none-of-your-business privacy? In other words, how “private”? – Stephie Nov 22 '17 at 6:55
  • This question is somewhat confusing - can you clarify how tall and wide you want your privacy screen, and whether privacy is your main priority, or whether allowing light through is your main priority. A hedge of plants, any plants, will, by their nature, create privacy; how much light it blocks is dependent on which way the hedge faces, that is, a tall hedge facing south in a small garden will block quite a lot of light, but in a large garden, it will be less of a problem ... some clarification required please – Bamboo Nov 22 '17 at 12:03
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    Another point - the wider (and older) a hedge, the more light it will block, if only from the internal branching within the hedge. Translucent leaves won't really enter into it if your hedge is going to get four feet wide. So - how wide of a hedge are you thinking? – Jurp Nov 22 '17 at 13:05
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I would choose a climbing plant. Many of them can be pruned, to that you create some holes. I think it is better to have strong sun on few places (sun moves), then translucent leaves.

Maybe some rose (if you take wild types, you get edible fruits, and they are usually strong and climbing). On plus side: they make also a physical barrier (with spikes), but many climbing species should work.

The most translucent leaves that I remember now are, by the way, also climbing: wine grape and clematis. The advantage of such climbing trees, is that you can have a single (or few) layer of leaves. But much light is absorbed.

Note: rose leaves are persistent, so very dark and zero translucence, but you get privacy also on winter. Translucent leaves tend to be short lived, so no privacy in winter (and grape wine is late to grow on early spring), but maybe you will use winter shields on other plants, which give you enough privacy.

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