Plants that fight back
Clearly, another level of defence are the plants themselves. Thorny, spiky and prickly plants can deter even the most determined burglar and maybe all the protection you need around your property.
If you choose the right plants, they can also look aesthetically pleasing and add interest to your garden. Planted in groups or as focal points, there’s a vast array of forms, textures, and sizes to choose from.
Have a chat at your garden centre or with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) for the right plants for the right location.
Top Protective Plants
Rubus cockburnianus (white-stemmed bramble)
Rubus is a thicket-forming shrub which has arching prickly shoots with a brilliant white bloom in winter. Pinnate leaves 20cm long with lance-shaped leaflets are dark green above and white-hairy beneath. Racemes of saucer-shaped purple flowers 1cm across are followed by rounded unpalatable black fruits.
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Berberis can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs with spiny shoots bearing simple, often Berberis can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs with spiny shoots bearing simple, often spine-toothed leaves, and small yellow or orange flowers in axillary clusters or racemes, followed by small berries.
Mahonia x media ‘Lionel Fortescue’
Mahonia (Oregon grape) are evergreen shrubs with leathery, pinnate leaves which are often spine-toothed, Mahonia are evergreen shrubs with leathery, pinnate leaves which are often spine-toothed, and clustered racemes of sometimes fragrant yellow flowers, sometimes followed by black or purple berries.
Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’ (firethorn)
Pyracantha are evergreen shrubs or small trees, with spiny branches bearing simple leaves and corymbs of small white flowers followed by showy red, orange or yellow berries.
Llex aquifolium (common holly)
Llex is an evergreen shrub and tree, often spiny leaves, small white flowers (male and female on separate plants) and, on female plants, showy berries in Autumn.
Another alternative is to train a Blackberry (Rubus) variety with thorns on the wall or timber fence. They are easy to grow, and in addition to protecting your property, you get a crop of fruit in the Autumn.