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How To Grow and Care for Privet?


Imagine having a backyard oasis that provides a sense of privacy and serenity, a peaceful haven where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Well, with the right plant, you can create just that!

This article will show you how to grow and care for privet, a versatile and resilient shrub perfect for creating a lush, green hedge that’s beautiful and functional. So let’s get started!

What Is Privet?

Privet is a hardy, versatile evergreen shrub commonly used for hedges and screens.

It features glossy green leaves and clusters of small, white flowers that bloom in the spring and summer, followed by black or blueberries in the fall.

Privet is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa but has been naturalized in many other parts of the world.

There are several common varieties of privet, including the following:

  • Common privet (Ligustrum vulgare): A fast-growing, hardy shrub with dark green leaves and small, white flowers.
  • Japanese privet (Ligustrum japonicum): A popular hedged choice with glossy green leaves and fragrant white flowers.
  • Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense): Similar in appearance to Japanese privet, but with larger leaves and clusters of small, black berries.
  • California privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium): A fast-growing and dense shrub with bright green leaves and white flowers

Choose a variety that meets your specific needs and location requirements.

How Long Does It Take To Grow Privet?

Privets can grow relatively quickly, with an average growth rate of about 1-2 feet (30-60 cm) per year. Full maturity can take 3 to 15 years, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

How To Grow and Care for Privet

Blooming Privet

Before planting privet, there are a few important things to consider.

Pre-Planning and Site Selection

Choose a location with full sun or partial shade and well-draining soil.

Privet can grow in various soil types but prefers a pH between 6.0 and 7.5.

Soil Preparation and pH Levels

Before planting, loosen the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches (30 cm) and mix in organic matter such as compost or aged manure.

Test the soil pH and adjust it to the optimal range if necessary.

Choosing the Right Variety

There are wide varieties of privet available. But the most commonly used for hedging is Ligustrum ovalifolium.

It is fast-growing and tolerant of pruning.


Privets can be planted from seeds or nursery-grown plants.

When To Plant Privet

Privets can be planted in the spring or fall, but it is best to avoid planting during the hottest part of the summer.

Planting Techniques

Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the plant.

Place the plant in the hole and backfill it with soil. Water thoroughly.

Watering and Fertilizing Requirements

Water the newly planted privet regularly until it is established.

Once established, the privet requires moderate watering.

Fertilize in early spring with a balanced fertilizer.

Post-Planting Care

Privet berries

Here’s how to care for your privets after planting.

Pruning and Trimming

Privet requires regular pruning to maintain its shape and encourage dense growth.

Prune lightly in the first year, then more heavily in subsequent years.

Avoid pruning in late summer or fall, as this can stimulate new growth that may be damaged by frost.

Pest and Disease Control

Privet is susceptible to pests and diseases like spider mites, aphids, and powdery mildew.

Use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to control pests. Remove infected leaves and prune affected branches to control the disease.

How To Make a Hedge Thicker

To make a privet hedge thicker, prune the plants back within a few inches of the ground in the early spring.

This will stimulate new growth and create a denser hedge.


Privets can be invasive in some areas, so check with your local extension office before planting.

Common Problems and Solutions

Look out for the following problems while growing your privet.

Soil Compaction

Here’s everything you need to know:

  • Symptoms: slowed growth, yellowing leaves, reduced leaf size.
  • Causes: heavy foot traffic, machinery, compacted soil.
  • Solutions: loosen the soil by aerating, add organic matter like compost or mulch, and avoid excessive foot traffic.

Water Stress

Here’s everything you need to know:

  • Symptoms: wilting, yellowing leaves, leaf drop.
  • Causes: underwatering, overwatering, poor drainage.
  • Solutions: water deeply but infrequently, avoid overwatering or watering foliage, and improve drainage by amending the soil or installing a drainage system.

Pests and Diseases

Common pests and diseases that affect privet include aphids, spider mites, scale insects, powdery mildew, and leaf spot.

Symptoms and treatment options can vary, so it’s important to properly identify the pest or disease and choose an appropriate treatment method.


Growing privet is a rewarding experience that can bring you joy and privacy for years to come.

Just remember to give your privet some love, attention, and maybe a little bit of country music to keep it happy.

And if you ever need to make a quick escape, remember that privet makes for a great hiding spot, as long as you don’t mind smelling like a hedge.

Happy growing!

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