Ligustrum ovalifolium

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: privet
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Oleaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide range of soils, except wet ones. Tolerant of urban conditions. Prune as needed immediately after flowering. If flowering is not a consideration, prune in spring. Hedges are also commonly trimmed 1-2 times in summer. Plants will naturalize by self-seeding in optimum growing conditions, and may form thickets in areas where growth is not controlled.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ligustrum ovalifolium, for reasons that are not all that clear, is commonly called California privet even though it is native to Japan. It is a dense, fast-growing, deciduous (evergreen/semi-evergreen in warm winter areas) shrub that typically grows 10-15’ tall. It has over time escaped garden plantings and naturalized in many parts of the U.S. Elliptic-ovate, glossy, dark green leaves (to 2.5” long) are yellow-green beneath. Small, tubular, dull white flowers in upright panicles (to 4” long) bloom at stem tips in June-July. Flowers are very fragrant, but are considered by many to have an unpleasant aroma. Flowers give way to globe-shaped drupes which ripen to black in fall and persist into winter.

Genus name comes from the Latin word for privet.

Specific epithet means with oval-shaped foliage.

Variegated cultivars (e.g., ‘Aureum’ with golden leaf margins and ‘Argenteum’ with creamy white leaf margins) are popular landscape plants.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to a number of potential disease problems, including anthracnose, crown gall, twig blight, leaf spots, powdery mildew, cankers and root rots. Aphids, leaf miners, scale, thrips, mealybugs, whitefly, nematodes, Japanese beetles, weevils and mites may appear.

Garden Uses

This is commonly grown as a formal or informal hedge or screen. Shrub border.