Ligustrum is a genus of about 50 deciduous or evergreen shrubs. Also commonly known as Privet, the plant is native to Europe, North Africa, Asia. The Ligustrum and Privet we offer are winter hardy in growing zones 6 to 11. The shrub can grow from 3 to 10 feet tall and wide, with a mounded growth habit. Ligustrum shrubs have dense, oval shaped glossy green leaves with small tubular flowers. This shrub thrives in locations with full sun, but can also grow in partial shade conditions. Thriving in heat and humidity, Ligustrum shrubs are a popular plant in southern states. Most gardeners use these shrubs as hedges, but it can also be grown in mass plantings, in planters, or as a garden border.
Planting Privet Shrubs
Ligustrum shrubs can handle most growing conditions and are low-maintenance once established. Any soil should work as long as it is well-drained. For best foliage density and flowering, choose a site that will get 4 to 5 hours of full sun each day. Space each plant a foot apart. Dig a hole at least 2-3 times as large as the root ball. Water the shrub well after planting and until well established. Add a layer of mulch around the base of the shrub.
Watering Privet Shrubs
Young Privet shrubs will need regular watering to establish the roots. Weekly watering an inch deep during the first year is suggested. Mature shrubs are drought tolerant. Water every 10-14 days increasing the frequency as needed during drought conditions. Refrain from watering during rainy periods. Slow deep watering is better than a quick spray of water., Allow the soil to completely dry out in between waterings.
Fertilizing Privet Shrubs
Once established, Ligustrum shrubs do not require fertilizing. In fact, it is best to use fertilizer sparingly with this shrub. A Ligustrum shrub can get the nutrients it needs from decomposing plant matter and mulch, or from lawn fertilizers. If you notice yellowing leaves or decreased growth, then the shrub may need some feeding. A balanced NPK fertilizer should be used. Follow packaged instructions and water well after applying.
Pruning Privet Shrubs
Ligustrum shrubs are mostly grown into large hedges due to the gardener’s option to prune these plants into almost any shape. ThIs shrub is fast growing and requires frequent pruning to keep it under control. Light pruning throughout the summer will encourage more branching and bushier growth. If you choose to do a heavy pruning, this should be done after the shrub completes the flowering for the season. Privet will begin forming buds for next year’s growth soon after the flowers fade, so avoid pruning later in the season. Don’t be concerned if you prune too much off of the shub. This hardy plant will bounce right back.
Caring For Privet Shrubs in Pots
Caring for Ligustrum shrubs in a container is the same as caring for them in the garden. This shrub will appreciate well drained soil and full sun. Choose a container that has drainage holes as Privet does not like wet feet. The container should be large enough to allow for 2 to 3 years of growth or 6-12 inches more in width than the root ball. Plant in a good quality potting mix and add pumice to help with drainage. Water when the top of the soil begins to dry out. Trim the shrub as needed to control the shape and size desired.
Winter Care for Privet Shrubs
Ligustrum shrubs need little care over the winter months. The leaves will remain the same during the cold season and brighten any landscape area. If the shrub happens to be hit with a hard frost, you may see browning of leaves afterwards. Be patient until spring. Once new growth emerges, you can prune off any branches that may look dead or damaged. Watch out for rabbits as they will munch on this shrub during the winter season.
Common Privet Care Questions
How much sun does the Ligustrum need?
Are Ligustrum invasive?
What is the growth rate for Ligustrum?
Do Ligustrum Have Berries?
Late in spring or early summer, Ligustrum japonicum will bloom with tiny white, honey-smelling flowers, which will soon turn to shiny black berries that birds love!
Is Ligustrum A Tree Or A Shrub?
Ligustrum is actually a dense, fast-growing, deciduous shrub, as such, they're often used as a hedge or privacy screen. Ligustrum can sometimes be evergreen or semi-evergreen, in climates that have warmer winter weather.
Can Ligustrum Be Kept Small?
You can prune your Ligustrum, while it is dormant (in later winter) to help keep it whatever size you'd like. Ligustrum can be trimmed back to within 6-12 inches of the ground, as it grows back, you can periodically trim those branches but be sure to allow the bottom of the bush to remain wider than the foliage at the top, so sunshine can reach them.
Have a question about Ligustrum? Fill out the form below and we will try and get back to your question as soon as possible. We may even feature your question on this article to help other gardeners!