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Plants that Improve Landscape and Home Security

Home invasions are becoming fairly common these days and the scary thing is that most of these crimes are committed by young and inexperienced people. They are called by authorities as “opportunity criminals” because they search for residences that are easy to burglarize, preferring these to properties that seem more difficult to invade. But before homeowners build 8-foot walls or install hi-tech security devices, they should first consider creating an intimidating or off-putting landscape to deter criminals. By making small changes to the surroundings, people can readily heighten their property’s security and their family’s safety as well.

Using Security Plants

What are “security plants” or “hostile plants”? Well, these are plants that help in preventing robberies, and examples are spiky and itchy shrubs, as well as plants that make prickly and impenetrable barriers. It’s really advantageous to have such plants because thieves will avoid pricks or cuts as they can leave DNA evidence when they are injured. So, people should consider getting security plants that will not only look good, but will also supplement their current security systems. Many types of flora are also more visually appealing than barbed wires and less expensive than concrete walls. Here are a few examples:


The blackthorn is named as such because it produces sloes or plum-like fruits that start off as purple and become black as autumn nears. This is an effective hedge because of its sharp spikes. In Europe, this plant is grown in order to create hedges that will keep away animals, even cattle. Like Cherry Blossoms, which also belong to the same genus (Prunus), the blackthorn produces masses of white flowers after winter before its leaves come out.


The common hawthorn has pointed thorns and some species, like the Washington hawthorn, can grow to more than 40 feet. Species of the hawthorn plant are typically used as hedges because these can provide dense but very prickly foliage that deters prowlers. Another benefit of planting a hawthorn is that it grows lovely flowers and also attractive and edible berries that can be made into jellies or jams. Wood from the hawthorn tree can be used as firewood too.


Hollies have very prickly leaves. These can be placed near paths or walkways. There are many varieties of hollies, but the best for home security are the following: blue, Japanese, silver hedgehog, silver variegated and the golden variegated species. These evergreens are easy to grow, trim and shape.


The pyracantha or firethorn is a wonderful shrub that can also be grown against walls since they can reach 6 to 9 meters tall. It’s a spiky evergreen that also grows festive golden to red berries, depending on species, during autumn and winter.


Roses obviously have thorns, which is why they are great as security plants. But apart from this, many species, such as the Sweet Briar, Rugosa Red, and the Scotch rose not only add beauty to a landscape, but they also give off a wonderful aroma. Roses can be placed underneath windows, for instance, or they can also be used as hedges.

Maintenance of Security Plants

1. Trim shrubs and hedges below 3 to 4 feet. This avoids having overgrown hedges where burglars can hide in.

2. Prune branches that are near windows or doors because thieves can use these to climb into a house.

3. Keep lawns and gardens well-maintained even when vacationing far from home. Ask a trusted neighbor or relative to care for plants and lawns because an unkempt lawn is a sign that no one is home.

4. Do not obscure a house with plants and trees. Make sure that windows and doors can be seen from the street so that in case burglars attempt to break in, neighbors and bystanders will be able to see and report the crime.

Claire Hoffman runs a family-owned garden shop. She supplies all sorts of ornamental and security plants, which is why many landscaping groups and security companies, like Lifeshield Holland Michigan, contact her when they need certain flowers or shrubs. She has also done a number of seminars regarding security landscaping for Lifeshield home security Jackson.

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