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Ligustrum japonicum

Pronunciation: lig-GUS-trum juh-PON-ih-kum
Family: Oleaceae (Olive Family)
Common Name: Japanese Privet
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 10ft (3m)
Width to: 8ft (2.5m)
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • early spring
  • mid spring
  • late spring
  • early summer
  • late winter
Bloom Description: Japanese Privet (Ligustrum japonicum) bears white flowers are borne on large terminal clusters (panicles) 5-8 in (12-20 cm) long. The flowers produce a perfume that is not particularly pleasant as well as quantities of pollen that many people find bothersome. The blossoms are followed by green berries that ripen to dull black in winter and tend to persist on the plant for most of the year. The older and larger the tree, the more open its form becomes and looks attractive limbed up to create a bonsai-esque effect.
Soil Type: well drained soil
Plant Perks:
  • Fragrant
  • Easy to Grow/Ideal for Children
Pests and Diseases: aphids, scale insects, Japanese beetles, weevils, mites, thrips, leaf spots, blights, cankers, crown gall and root rot
Propagation: Mature Japanese Privet (Ligustrum japonicum) plants propagate themselves prolifically from seed. Cuttings are easily rooted. Named selections are propagated commercially by grafting onto seedling rootstock.
Native to: Japan and eastern Asia
Winter Sowing Zones: none
Notes for Identification:

Japanese Privet (Ligustrum japonicum) is an upright, dense, evergreen shrub with ovate, glossy, very dark green leaves, to 4in (10cm) long.

This versatile shrub can be used as a solid hedge and for creating tall screens. Japanese ligustrum is often trained into small multi-stemmed specimen trees by removing the lower limbs and all but 3-7 stems. Due to its rapid growth rate this shrub is a favorite for creating novelty topiary specimens with one, two, or three "balls" or shaped into cones and pyramids. For a formal look, twin topiaries are often used on either side of a front entrance.

Japanese privet is an attractive and tough plant that requires little care. It is extremely fast growing and can add green "bulk" to new landscapes quickly. Ligustrums provide a source of food for birds when other berries or food sources are meager. This unfortunately disperses the plant helping it to naturalize over a wide area.

Care: Extremely tolerant of a wide variety of soil conditions, ligustrum is a strong, sturdy plant requiring little care other than regular pruning to maintain desired shape and size. It will grow in sun or part shade. In shade and when planted too close or in conditions that limit air circulation, whitefly and sooty mold can become problematical. These are controlled with a soap spray. One of the most common mistakes is planting immature ligustrums and other large shrubs too close together. Space these at least 5 ft (1.5 m) apart and they will grow together to form a solid hedge.

Source: Various sources including Floridata, The American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and the USDA


USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 60 to 90 days ZONE 7
  • 90 to 120 days ZONE 8
  • 120 to 150 days ZONE 9
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
Seed photo: 1
Seed Label: 0
Located in: Trees, Shrubs
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