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Privet

Privet

Buying privet makes sense for different garden situations and is one of the classic hedgerow plants. This sturdy, adaptable shrub (Ligustrum ovalifolium) grows quickly in any garden to an opaque, semi-evergreen hedge with good privacy and it can cope at almost any location. But even as a solitary plant, buying this variety of shrub for your garden can be worthwhile. In addition, the flowers are popular with insects and the bush provides good bird nesting and nutritious berries, which are not edible for humans. In mild winters, it is evergreen, but in very cold winters, its foliage will fall with time.

The Best Varieties for Your Garden

Ligustrum ovalifolium belongs to the olive family Oleaceae. The wild type (Ligustrum vulgare) is a native wild plant. However, the classic variety for hedges is the oval-leaved Ligustrum ovalifolium. This is a universal hedge plant, which also thrives reliably in rather unfavourable locations. If you buy this plant, you can expect an annual increase of 40 to 50 centimetres in height. Overall, the hedge can be three to four feet high and the plants form a dense privacy screen. Privets can be also be grown as single shrubs for shaping or free growing shrubs and for this the two variegated foliage varieties of Ligustrum ovalifolium are recommended. The golden privet 'Aureum' has green leaf centres, which are bordered by a golden yellow edge. The leaves of the white privet 'Argentum' are silvery white and green.

   
 
Golden Privet 'Aureum'

Golden edges surround the shiny, green leaves of Ligustrum ovalifolium 'Aureum'

From £9.90 *

Privet

Ligustrum ovalifolium - a universal hedge plant

From £9.90 *

Privet 'Argentum'

Ligustrum ovalivolium 'Argentum' is an enrichment to the assortment of hedge plants

From £9.90 *

   
 
Privet

Buying and Planting Properly

If you buy privet for a hedge, then calculate a planting distance of 30 centimetres between the individual young plants. The hedge will soon be opaque and offer good privacy. Use a string to make the hedge straight. Then put one of the young plants every 30 centimetres. The young hedgerows are planted individually in holes dug for them. Alternatively, a continuous pit can be dug. Add some bone meal and compost as fertiliser if the soil in your garden is lean. Water well after planting. After planting, the young hedge plants should first be cut back strongly. The individual branches can easily be shortened by half their height. This allows them to branch and grow closer and more densely together. The lost height then quickly recovers with their vigorous growth, and the denser they are, the better the privacy. If you buy one of these shrubs to use as a solitary plant in your garden, plant it like any other flowering shrub: first dig a planting hole with the spade that is twice the size of the root ball. If necessary, enrich the soil with some bone meal and compost. Then tear open the root ball of the potted plant well, so that the roots in the planting hole can fan out and are not tangled. Fill the planting hole with soil and water generously at the end. Free-growing privet must not be pruned after planting.

Location

Ligustrum (Ligustrum ovalifolium) are very robust and adaptable plants which can handle almost any location. With polluted city air and along busy roads, these hedge plants have no trouble. The hedges also tolerate drought well and they even survive several weeks of drought without being damaged. A privet hedge can also thrive in the root area of ​​birch, maple and other highly competitive shallow rootlets. In such locations, other hedges such as beech or cherry laurel have more trouble. They also grow well in every normal garden soil; they like lime but are tolerant of the pH in various soils. They prefer sunny locations, but also thrive in partial shade. They do not tolerate very shaded areas.  Otherwise, there are almost no problems with privet; it is not vulnerable to diseases and pests. In addition to the cherry laurel, privet is certainly the most robust hedgerow plant for any garden.

Growing in the Garden Tradition

Ligustrum ovalifolium is one of the traditional long-established hedge plants. Already in the gardens of the Baroque, it was extremely popular as a plant for shaped pruning and it was seen next to beech and yew trees. Also, as a pruning wood for designing individual figures, be it spheres, pyramids or fantasy shapes, these plants have been popular. On the balcony or on the terrace, such shapes can also look great and open up new design possibilities. Since these plants tolerate sun and drought and practically never get sick, they are extremely easy to grow, even as potted plants. As such, they are also hardy, and can easily stay in place. Traditionally, the flexible, long branches of these free-growing shrubs have also been used to weave baskets and other wickerwork.  The name privet probably originates from the Latin "ligare", which means "to bend", and refers to the flexibility of the shoots. Buying a Ligustrum ovalifolium and allowing it to grow freely would also be worthwhile, in order to gain branches from this grateful plant for weaving.

As formed artworks in the garden or in a container, the variegated varieties are particularly interesting, as they grow a little less vigorously than the wild form. The silvery white margined Ligustrum ovalifolium 'Argentum' and the golden yellow Ligustrum ovalifolium 'Aureum' are very special eye-catchers, especially as hedge plants. With the silvery-leaved types, the leaves usually remain on the shrubs until the spring. The oval-leaved Ligustrum ovalifolium, however, grows upright and is about three metres high. It retains its foliage in mild winters but can lose it during periods of extreme cold. Its white flowers smell intense and are often visited by bees and other insects. The blackberries are popular with the birds. For humans, however, the bluish black berries are slightly poisonous. In general, a freely growing variety in the garden is good for birds, as it also offers nesting sites.

Propagation

If you have patience for a few years, you can easily propagate an entire privet hedge yourself. For this purpose, about 20 centimetres long hardwood should be cut and that should be done in the winter if possible. The shoots are placed at a distance of 30 centimetres at the desired location, where the new hedge plants need to grow, directly into the ground. Only the uppermost bud pair should be seen above the earth. To be on the safe side, some branches are rooted in pots or elsewhere in the garden, so that any failures can then be replaced next year and soon a properly dense hedge is created. As soon as the new cuttings start to grow, they should be cut in the first summer, so that they form bushy plants from the beginning, from which the hedge then grows into a dense privacy screen.

Cutting Correctly

Since privet hedges grow strongly they should be cut twice a season. The first cut is made in June. In August, the late summer cut should follow. Afterwards, in autumn they should not be cut any more, and not in the spring either. If you missed the late summer, just wait until next June and then cut a bit more. This is important when cutting: they must be trapezoidal in shape, that is, they must be slightly wider at the bottom and narrower towards the top. If the hedges, on the other hand, are top-heavy and broader upwards, then they age more over the years. For cutting, use strings so that the hedge trimming follows a straight line. It can be cut by hand with a hedge trimmer or with the electric hedge trimmer. If they are planted as solitary shrubs in the garden, these plants should be regularly rejuvenated after a few years by pruning. In each case, some older shoots from the interior of the shrubs should be cut down close to ground level. Hedges, which are completely out of shape, can be cut all the way back to ground level, so they can be regrow from scratch. This is usually easier than completely replacing the hedge, as the roots remain in the ground.

Maintenance

Privet is one of the most easy to care for plants. In addition to the regular pruning in June and August, it needs almost no care. However, it likes it when it is mulched and fertilised with some compost in the spring. On nutrient-poor soils, a hedge can sometimes use some bone meal as additional food. In terms of care, it is easier to handle than the cherry laurel, as it does not spread so much. So, if you're worried about a cherry laurel hedge that could bother your neighbour, you better choose a privet hedge.

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