Blackthorn | Prunus spinosa
For a single row of hedging, you will need 4 plants per metre; for a double row of hedging, you will need 6 plants per metre.
Blackthorn or sloe grows naturally in scrub and woodland and is commonly used as a hedging plant. A flowering plant in the rose family, the mature trees can grow to a height of around 6 – 7 metres.
Blackthorns’ white blossoms appear in early spring and provide a valuable source of nectar and pollen for bees and other insects. Their rich, dark, blue-black fruits start to appear in August, but are at their ripest in late autumn or early winter when they are picked to make wine, preserves and gin. Traditionally, sloes are said to be best picked after the first frost, as the cold weather helps split their skins and release their juice.
Blackthorn is an important species for wildlife. As well as providing blossom as early food for bees, the leaves of the blackthorn is a food plant for the caterpillars of many moths including the magpie and swallow-tailed. The dense, thorny branches provide shelter and a safe nesting place for many different bird species.
It is said that witches’ wands and staffs were made using blackthorn wood.
Our blackthorn whips are grown in the UK from UK origin seed.