Planting Privet

Privet is a quick-growing broadleaf evergreen shrub. Most cultivars reach large sizes and are a great way to grow a living fence. Since these shrubs are often used as hedges, the correct planting techniques are crucial for long-term survival. Privet is scientifically known as Ligustrum, and there are over 50 species in the group, with many more cultivars bred specifically for the ornamental garden.  


What You Need To Plant Privet

  • Shovel
  • Organic material for mulch
  • Granular slow-release balanced fertilizer
  • Site in full or at least 6 hours of full sun
  • Water source
  • Hand pruners

Where to Plant Privet

Privet needs at least 6 hours of full sun to maintain deep foliage color and produce flower buds. Well-draining soil is also necessary. Privet roots do not like to be in waterlogged soil at any time of the year. Privet will grow well in almost any texture of soil if the roots have room to grow deep. Planting Privet near other deep-rooted trees or shrubs is rarely successful. The deep roots will compete for moisture, and the newly planted shrubs will suffer.


Privet Spacing

Privets need close spacing when they are grown as a hedge. Placing the shrubs in an alternating zig-zag pattern will allow each plant to develop fully while making a dense hedge. Space individual plants at 3-6 feet from each other on center, depending on the variety. If you are planting a long row of hedges, digging a trench will be a quicker and easier way to plant. Privets grown for topiary or as specimen shrubs need far more space. A clearance of 5-8 feet around the plant ensures room for mature growth.


Steps To Plant Privet

Step 1 - Dig a hole twice as wide and as deep as the pot in which the shrub was grown. 

Step 2 - Mix a handful of granular fertilizer into the soil dug out of the hole.

Step 3 - Remove the shrub from its pot and tease apart any roots circling the rootball. 

Step 4 - Place the shrub in the hole so that the top of the rootball is at the same depth as it was in the pot.

Step 5 - Backfill with the native soil and gently tamp down the soil to eliminate any large air pockets.

Step 6 - Water the shrub well and let any puddled water soak in the soil.

Step 7 - Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the shrub, keeping the mulch from covering the stem.

Step 8 - Prune away any branches that have been damaged during transplanting.

Step 9 - Install drip irrigation lines or soaker hoses for even and efficient watering of all the shrubs in the hedge.

When to Plant Privet

The best time of year to plant Privet is in the early spring before the weather warms or the early fall as the weather cools. Cool soil will remain damp longer and allow for less supplemental watering. Consistent watering will be needed for the first 2-3 years until the Privet is established. 

Transplanting Privet

Privet is not suitable for transplanting from place to place or suited for dividing. The best way to propagate Privet is by taking soft or hardwood cuttings and growing them in a pot for 1-2 years before planting them in the ground. Cuttings taken in the early summer will have all summer to root and will tolerate being outside in the winter. Hardwood cuttings taken late in the summer will need to be grown in a warm, bright spot for the winter. A frost-free greenhouse or a house with plenty of light and humidity will produce vigorously growing new plants in the spring.

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Author Robbin Small - Published 9-18-2022