Privets Aren't Blooming

Privet is a shrub that can be deciduous, semi-evergreen, or evergreen. Ligustrum is mainly grown for its quick-growing, dense, glossy foliage. Most varieties have showy blooms in late spring or early summer. You can encourage more flowers from Privet by pruning at the proper time of year. Pruning can also promote bushier foliage growth. Read on to find out more about these pruning techniques.


Common Reasons Why Privet Isn’t Blooming

Privet hedges do not bloom for two reasons: pruning at the wrong time of year and too little sun. Privet requires full sun to maintain glossy, green foliage. Partially shaded sites are acceptable when there are at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Privet shrubs bloom on the previous year's growth. If they are pruned late in the winter, the buds formed in the last summer and fall will be cut off also. The best way to have flowers and a nicely shaped Privet is to wait until after the flowers are done in the early summer. 


Pruning Privet To Help It Bloom

Pruning for annual shaping must be done after the blooming period has finished in early summer. A light shearing of new growth helps the Privet to develop flower buds for the next season while keeping the shape tidy. Pruning again late in the summer could result in removal of any flower buds that have formed. This late-season pruning will give the hedge a more natural and loose shape. Keeping Privet tightly clipped usually prevents this shrub from blooming.  

Fertilizing Privet To Help It Bloom

Over-fertilizing Privet is not recommended. This hardy shrub grows in almost any soil as long as it is well draining. Adding fertilizer will not encourage blooming and may result in weak foliage growth, susceptible to attack from diseases or pests. 

Get Privet To Produce More Blooms

Privet only blooms once during the growing season and does not respond to the usual techniques for extended blooming. Deadheading will not encourage more blooms. Using fertilizers with high Phosphorus does not make Privet bloom again in the same season. The only way to encourage blooming is to prune after the flowers die back in the early summer to encourage bud formation for the following year.


Why Privet Isn’t Blooming

  • Flowering happens on the previous season's growth
  • Flower buds are pruned off by cutting back too early in the growing season
  • The shrub has too little direct sunlight
  • Privet will grow well in part shade as long as there are 6 hours of direct sun.
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Author Robbin Small - Published 9-18-2022