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Japanese Privet, Ligustrum japonicum

Go to - Landscape Trees
Landscape Shrubs

Family - Oleaceae

The Japanese privet is also known by the common names of Japanese wax-privet, Japanese wax-leaved privet or simply Ligustrum - pronounced

This shrub or small tree is often confused with and sometimes share common names with Ligustrum lucidum which has thin, 4 to 8 inch long leaves with narrow, pointed tips and distinct reddish-yellow margins, L. japonicum has thick leaves 2-4 inches long and more rounded, blunt tips.

Japanese privet is a versatile landscape plant, it responds well to clipping and can be grown as a shrub or as a small tree to about 15 feet maximum. When grown as a tree the crown is symmetrical and usually gets a spread equal to or greater than the overall height of the tree. Leaves are dark green and oblong to ovate. Leaf margins are entire and undulate (wavy).

U.S.D.A. Zones 7 thru 10.
Full sun to partial shade.

Landscape uses - Hedges, tall screens, groups with under-plantings, Bonsai, topiaries and containers. Drought tolerant once established, not salt tolerant, should be protected from salt spray.

Japanese Privet is relatively pest free, can be subject to scale and sooty mold if planted in shady, moist locations & doesn't like "wet feet". If the roots stay wet root rot will probably result. Some find the smell of the flowers to be offensive and a few people may even experience allergy symptoms from them.

Ligustrum japonicum will spread from seeds so its best to remove the fruit when it appears.

L. lucidum and L. sinense are invasive and should not be planted in Florida, these two are extremely difficult to eradicate, sprouting back from small pieces of root left in the soil and seeds spread by birds into lawns and forest where they readily sprout.

Image of Japanese privet shrub in a Florida landscape

Image of Japanese privet foliage

Image of Japanese privet flowers

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