Ligustrum- Privet

Very well known, deciduous or evergreen shrubs, usually grown as hedges.


The reason why privet is used on such a large scale is probably the fact that it is the cheapest hedging plant available. However, everyone knows that it is not the most suitable shrub for the purpose; privet hedges usually shed their foliage in winter and then look very unattractive, and incorrect clipping makes them bare at the base. A neglected hedge may be rejuvenated by cutting it down almost to ground level, it will then start into new growth and bare spots may be filled in with new plants. If the hedge is then clipped in a pyramidal shape it will remain dense at the base. Naturally it would be better to invest in a different type of hedge.

Privets may produce quite attractive flowers, especially if they are not pruned. They may be used to provide shade. Unfortunately many species are not winter-hardy. Finally privet, especially the variegated forms, may be clipped into attractive shapes.


Privets will grow in practically any type of soil. Ensure that the roots do not dry out when they are transplanted.


Very easily increased from cuttings taken in winter. This is why these shrubs are so cheap.

Ligustrum amurense: Height to 2.5 m; creamy-white flowers in early to mid summer. The oval leaves are evergreen. Quite hardy.

Ligustrum X ibolium: A hybrid of the hedge privet, which it resembles. However, it is more winter-hardy. Ligustrum obtusifolium: Height to 3 m, spreading habit; white flowers in angled plumes in mid to late summer. The arching twigs are downy, as are the 2-6 cm oval to oblong leaves, which drop in winter. Suitable hedging plant, quite winter-hardy.

Ligustrum ovalifolium, hedge privet: Height to over 2 m; white flowers in elongated plumes in mid to late summer. Partially evergreen, and the best known hedging plant. ‘Aureum’ is golden yellow; ‘Aureomarginatum’ has leaves edged with golden yellow.

Ligustrum vulgar e, common privet: Height to 3 m; small plumes of white flowers in summer months. Deciduous. Foliage, bark and berries are poisonous.

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