Common name: Privet
Numerous shrubs are used as hedges, among them common privet (Ligustrum vulgare), a great favourite for years, especially in town front gardens. Privet has the ability to grow in shady spots, and appears to be unaffected by polluted air. If regularly trimmed, the bushes seldom flower.
This group of shrubs has much to offer, both evergreen and deciduous forms, and when they flower, the blooms are white and often fragrant.
One of the best for producing a show of blooms is Ligustrum quihoui (AGM), a deciduous shrub growing to around 2.4m (8ft) high. From mid to late summer the 30cm (12in) long cones of small, whiteare carred on stiff branches. Ligustrum tschonoskii ‘Vicaryi’ is another good choice. This is an evergreen shrub noted for its rich bronzy-purple winter colour.
Others to look for are the Japanese privet (Ligistrum japonicum), growing to 2m (6ft), with evergreen leaves similar to those of a camellia, and white late summer flowers. Ligustrum japonicum ‘Rotundifolium’ is a low-growing, compact form with leathery dark green leaves. The common privet (Ligustrum vulgare) is still widely available, but is not used as often these days for.
Soil type Any fertile garden.
Planting Privets will grow in sunny or lightly shaded positions. They can be planted in the autumn or spring. Those grown for hedging should be spaced 45cm (18in) apart. Cut back at planting time (or the following spring, if planting in autumn) to promote strong, bushy plants.
Pruning This is only necessary for those grown as hedging; clip in early spring and again in late summer
Propagation Semi-ripe cuttings with a heel may be taken in summer. Hardwood cuttings of some varieties can be taken in late autumn. Root these in a nursery bed.
Pests and diseases Leaf miner and thrips can attack.