Privet: planting cultivation maintenance and pruning

Privets belong to the genus Ligustrum and to the family of Oleaceae. Ces shrubs with compact foliage can be used interchangeably in isolation as in hedge. Easy to cultivate, Privet lends itself particularly well to topiary art. Let’s see how to plant it, prune it, and what its needs are.

Plant a Privet

There are various varieties of privet. These are subjects easy going because they are undemanding. Each gardener chooses his Privet according in particular to the space he has and the area of ​​his land, knowing that the height of his shrubs varies from 1.50 to 10 meters. It is therefore preferable to choose a low Privet if you have a small garden: simple question of proportions.

In open ground as in bacthe Privet crashes in autumn but also tolerates being planted in the spring if you remember to water it well during the summer, because being in the process of rooting, it is more sensitive than the adult privet.

Plant a privet in the ground

  • Dig a sufficiently large hole, at least 2.5 times larger than the root ball, if possible ten days in advance, which allows the soil to air well.
  • Remove weed roots, plant debris and larger stones.
  • On D-Day, place a fertilizer for shrubs at the bottom.
  • Position the privet in the center of the hole, making sure it is perfectly straight.
  • Backfill with good soil mixed with mature compost, taking care not to bury the collar, which must be flush with the level of the ground.
  • Tamp at the foot.
  • Water generously.

If you choose to create a privet hedge, you shouldspace the shrubs from 0.90 to 100 cm. Two to three years are enough to enjoy a compact hedge.

Plant a Privet in a pot

For a container culture, it is preferable to choose a variety of Privet whose height in adulthood remains rather moderate. It is essential to opt for a large container, with a pierced bottom so that the water does not stagnate there, as this would be detrimental to the roots of the shrub. It is recommended to fill the tank with a universal soil or with a potting soil for shrubs. After planting, it is necessary to carry out copious watering.

Growing a Privet

The Privet tolerates any type of floor, even ordinary which it is advisable to enrich with compost, and is particularly rustic since it can withstand low temperatures of the order of -18 to -20°C without batting an eyelid. As far as the ideal exposure for privet is concerned, it can be sunny to partly shaded.

It is both a windbreak and one privacy screen of choice because of its compact and evergreen foliage providing a screen in all seasons. Be careful, however, you have to be wary of its blue-black berries appearing after a very abundant and fragrant summer flowering because they are toxic due to their high ligustrin content.

Privet is cultivated in the ground of course, but also in a jar, which makes it possible to green a terrace or a small balcony. If it is grown in a pot, avoid placing it on a south-facing terrace which does not benefit from any shade because the substrate risks drying out too quickly, and in a pot or tray, the Privet is more sensitive to heat than if it were grown in the ground.

Carve a Privet

Privet is a shrub that lends itself particularly well to the waist. You can sculpt it according to your desires in order to give it any type of shape. Creative gardeners can give free rein to their imagination since it is one of the dream shrubs for thetopiary art, which is why it is very present in French gardens. However, pruning should be avoided during the year following planting.

Once well rooted, the Privet can be pruned several times a year and it is a good solution to allow it to keep beautiful foliage during the off-season. We can a minima prune a privet:

  • During the spring, when the sap is ascending. Spring pruning accelerates the growth of the shrub and increases its vigour.
  • From the end of thesummer and until fall, time of year when the sap is downward, if one intends to slow down its growth. The fall pruning of privet planted as a privacy screen is important since it allows you to have a neat hedge throughout the winter.

The Privet in isolation is pruned with secateurs. On the other hand, shears are sufficient for a low hedge, but it is better to use a hedge trimmer – which is passed from bottom to top – to maintain a large privet hedge. In either case, you can content yourself with leveling it out by simply removing the overhanging shoots, or reducing the thickness of the shrub, or even the entire hedge, more consistently. In order to obtain an absolutely straight result, a line size s’impose.

Finally, pruning a privet also makes it possible to aerate the heart of the shrub if necessary and to remove all the dead wood as well as the old wood, which greatly favors the development of new branches.

The old privet who begin to be more or less emaciated need a more drastic size in order to be folded down. Pruning should only be done in the spring to allow rapid growth of new branches. If it is necessary to perform a severe pruning of bare privet, the shrubs should be shortened at the base of the trunk.

Caring for a Privet

The Privet is among the easy-going shrubs. It is suitable for all gardeners, even those who do not yet have any experience in this field.


We take care ofwater moderately but regularly its privet, and vigilance must be increased for plants in pots, especially when the rains are rare and the temperatures are very high. It is essential to do not let the substrate dry out completely. Also beware of the summer winds which considerably dry out the soil.


Installing a mulch at the foot of its privet is very useful for save water since it keeps the soil cool longer. In addition, mulches slow the growth of weeds.

Pests and diseases

If we notice any scale insects or some aphids on its privets, do not wait to spray the shrubs with water to which black soap has been added. In the event of a severe attack, when the leaves curl up and turn grayish, it is essential to remove them and burn them.

Excess humidity, especially in privet which rarely sees the sun, promotes maladies cryptogamiques as in many plants. In this case, we eliminate all the affected parts that we burn and we can then apply a antifungal treatment. But to prevent parasitic fungi from reappearing, it is necessary to revise the watering downwards.

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