Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture

(Ligustrum species)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 4 to 15 feet

Spread: 4 to 8 feet

Shape: Bushy

Small, green, summer foliage. When unpruned, pyramidal clusters of small white flowers produce black berries.

Plant Needs:

Zone: 3 to 8

Light: Partial shade to full sun

Moisture: Wet to moist

Soil Type: Sandy, loam, or clay

pH Range: 3.7 to 7.0


Suggested uses for this plant include hedge, screen, and border.

Planting Notes:

Bare-root plants transplant easily.

Tolerates all but very wet soil conditions.

Does well in dry soil. Tolerates wide range of soil pH.

Tolerates smoke and grime of cities.


Prune after flowering.

Tolerates severe pruning, including shearing.

Prune hedges so that base is wider than top.


Despite their susceptibility to a variety of insects and diseases, privets generally do well and rarely require spraying.

Many privets species have become invasive and are therefore not suitable as landscape plants. Ask your local Extension agent if a particular Ligustrum is appropriate for landscape use.


Consult local sources, including historic or public gardens and arboreta, regarding cultivars and species that are suitable for your area.

In lieu of potentially invasive Ligustrum, consider holly (Ilex) species and cultivars as alternatives.


Privets are most often grown as hedge plants because they are so easy to grow.

There are many other plants which make more attractive hedges.

The fruit on unsheared specimens lasts throughout the winter and provides food for birds.


This material was developed by Carol Ness as part of the Interactive Design and Development Project funded by the Kellogg Foundation.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

May 1, 2009

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