Ligustrum vulgare- European Privet


General: A dense, upright, multi stemmed shrub growing 12 to 15’ with an equal spread.  

Leaves: Opposite, simple, elliptic, green leaves grow 1 to 2” long. No fall coloration.

Flower: 1 to 2” long white panicles with an unpleasant aroma appear May to June but are often sheared off with hedging maintenance.

Fruit: A black rounded berry in September, up to 1/3”.

Attributes:  Used almost exclusively for hedging and screening purposes, but is interesting in habit and flower if left to naturalize.


Hardiness:  Zones 4-7

Growing Conditions:  Dry to medium well drained soils in full sun to part shade.

Maintenance: Susceptible to a range of disease and insect pests. Anthracnose, twig blight, leaf spots, scales, mealybugs, whitefly and nematodes to name a few.

Transplanting: Easily transplanted to well-draining soil due to adaptability.

Our Experience

Experience at Great Hill

Privet was once used very commonly for hedging and is planted all over the northeast for this purpose. On Great Hill however, we’ve given preference to evergreen hedging options and so haven’t utilized privet in this capacity. While they display excellent winter hardiness, and respond very well to hedging maintenance, it’s always a little sad to pass a hedge that’s displaying one or two rogue flower panicles that were missed by the shears. If given the opportunity to use this plant as a screen instead of a formal hedge, I’d choose the former.