Ligustrum vulgare
Common Name: common privet 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Oleaceae
Native Range: Northern Europe, Mediterranean, northern Africa, Asia Minor
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: June
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


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 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 vulgare, called common privet, European privet or wild privet, is a fast-growing, deciduous (semi-evergreen in mild winter climates) shrub that typically grows 10-15’ tall and as wide. It has good winter hardiness and formerly was the most popular species of privet grown for hedging in northern areas. Unfortunately, it is one of the least ornamental of the privets, and is now planted less frequently. Over time, it has escaped landscape plantings and naturalized in many parts of the U.S. and southern Canada. It features oval to lanceolate, dark green leaves (to 2.5” long) and small, tubular, white flowers in panicles (to 3” long). Flowers bloom at the stem tips in June. Flowers are very fragrant, but are considered by many to have a strong, unpleasant aroma. Flowers give way to globe-shaped, glossy drupes which ripen to black in fall and persist throughout winter. Fruit clusters are considered by some to be the best ornamental feature of this species.

Genus name comes from the Latin word for privet.

Specific epithet means common.


No serious insect or disease problems. Anthracnose twig blight can be a significant problem with this species. Some susceptibility to a number of other potential disease problems, including 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.


Hedge, screen or background planting. Shrub border. Wild areas.