These two plant species are very similar but there are some notable differences
- Beech leaves are glossier and thinner – Hornbeam are a duller green, with deep veins and a slightly serrated edge – I always think they look like little concertinas when they first appear in the spring
- Both keep their leaves in winter but Beech does it better
- Beech winter leaves are a brighter copper colour whereas Hornbeam are greyish brown
- Beech doesn’t like to be in damp soil – choose Hornbeam for a moist but not waterlogged site
- Both are native
- Both are available as bare root, pot grown, cell grown and also instant hedging
For preference I would always go for Beech hedging plants, but Hornbeam has many qualities which make it a better choice for many situations.