Virginia Tech® home

Privet (Ligustrum species)



Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Professor, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech (first published May 2009, last reviewed March 2024)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 4 to 15 feet

Spread: 4 to 8 feet Shape: Bushy

Small, green, summer foliage. When unpruned, pyramidal clusters of small white flowers produce black berries.

Plant Needs:

Zone: 3 to 8

Moisture: Wet to moist pH Range: 3.7 to 7.0

Light: Partial shade to full sun Soil Type: Sandy, loam, or clay


Suggested uses for this plant include hedge, screen, and border.

Planting Notes:

Bare-root plants transplant easily. Tolerates all but very wet soil conditions.

Does well in dry soil. Tolerates wide range of soil pH. Tolerates smoke and grime of cities.


Prune after flowering.

Tolerates severe pruning, including shearing. Prune hedges so that base is wider than top.


Despite their susceptibility to a variety of insects and diseases, privets generally do well and rarely require spraying.

Many privets species have become invasive and are therefore not suitable as landscape plants. Ask your local Extension agent if a particular Ligustrum is appropriate for landscape use.


Consult local sources, including historic or public gardens and arboreta, regarding cultivars and species that are suitable for your area.

In lieu of potentially invasive Ligustrum, consider holly (Ilex) species and cultivars as alternatives.


Privets are most often grown as hedge plants because they are so easy to grow. There are many other plants which make more attractive hedges.

The fruit on unsheared specimens lasts throughout the winter and provides food for birds.


This material was developed by Carol Ness as part of the Interactive Design and Development Project funded by the Kellogg Foundation.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law

Publication Date

March 7, 2024

Available As

Other resources in:

Other resources by: