Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’

Irish yew

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata' is an extremely useful evergreen conifer for sun or shade. Most commonly used for hedging purposes, it has a naturally upright form and takes shearing well. It was discovered in Ireland in 1780 and has been a favorite for formal hedges ever since. A hedge of Irish yew, with its dense form and dark green color, makes a dramatic backdrop for a perennial or mixed shrub border. Irish yews are often used individually, as a vertical exclamation point in a border or paired to set off an entryway. Plants are more expensive and slower growing than the more common cedar hedging, but the wait is worthwhile. As yews are among the few conifers that thrive in dry shade, they can be used to provide a textural contrast to other plants in a shady garden.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: conifer

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 3 ft. 0 in. (0.91 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 20 ft. 0 in. (6.10 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 9

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light or open shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant once established

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: silver, burgundy, gold

Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse, blue

Culture Notes
Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata' prefers well-drained soil and is drought tolerant once established. Plant it in full sun or light to open shade. 'Fastigiata' is a female clone, so it bears fruit. Yew bark, foliage, and fruit can be toxic, so site plants with care. Irish yew is generally pest and disease free, but it can get scale (and the resulting sooty mold) and black vine weevil. For a hedge, set plants 2 feet on center and shear as required. Like all yews (but unlike most conifers), it can be pruned back to old wood and will resprout readily.