Fertilizing Privet

Privet is a robust shrub that can be either deciduous or evergreen. The plant is mainly grown for its glossy foliage, although many types have late spring or early summer flowers, which are unusually high scented. The leaves range in color from the deepest green to a brilliant sunny yellow, depending on the cultivar. Using the correct type and amount of fertilizer annually will keep Privet growing strong for many years.


How to Fertilize Privet

Privets grow best in soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.0-7.0. Fertilizing should be done once a year in the spring as the new growth starts and just before the flowers break bud. 

A granular slow-release fertilizer will provide the nutrients the roots need throughout the growing season. The granules will slowly break down every time the plant is watered, releasing nutrients into the soil. Mulching well with organic compost is also a great way to fertilize Privet and improve the moisture retention and texture of the soil.


Best Time To Fertilize Privet

The best time of year to fertilize Privet is in spring when the roots are actively growing. Fertilizing late in the fall or when the ground is frozen will only cause the unused fertilizer to wash away, possibly into storm drains and waterways. Heavy winter rains in growing zones that do not have hard freezes will leach nutrients out of the soil. In warmer growing zones, Privet will benefit from an early fall feeding at half the strength of the spring fertilizing. The light fall feeding will support the Privet’s growth through the winter until the main feeding in the spring.

Best Fertilizer For Privet

Fertilizers with a higher ratio of Nitrogen to Phosphorus and Potassium are best for Privet. The dense foliage needs high amounts of Nitrogen to remain deeply colored and glossy. Fertilizers that only contain Nitrogen are not recommended. Always use a complete fertilizer with all three macronutrients in a ratio of 4-3-4 or similar. Espoma makes organic-based fertilizers that are easy to use. Espoma Plant Tone or Evergreen Tone has the correct balance of N-P-K. 

Privet Fertilizing Tips

  • Slow-release granular fertilizer will supply nutrients all growing season
  • Use a complete fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio close to 4-3-4
  • Apply fertilizer in early spring and water it in well
  • Apply a lighter feeding in the fall if you are gardening in USDA zones 7-10 and have heavy winter rains


-Always wear protective gloves and a face mask when handling chemical fertilizers.

-Closely follow all directions and storage guidelines that are on the fertilizer label.

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Author Robbin Small - Published 9-18-2022