Hedges and screens are often a necessity on many properties, with the need for privacy or the desire to screen an ugly view. Even things around the house like air-conditioning equipment and pool-pumps need screening if your garden is to be a beautiful refuge. So a plant that can make a hedge of any size, grows rapidly, has no pests, is drought-resistant and doesn’t need complex maintenance is a real asset. When that is combined with the brightness of white edges to every leaf, making a cheerful and light appearance, then you have the ideal plant for many uses around your property. That plant is the Variegated Privet.
Even if you don’t need a hedge, the Variegated Privet is still a useful and attractive plant for the garden. It can be grown as a background shrub, trained into a small tree and also clipped into various shapes, with or without a trunk. This is one of those versatile plants that has many, many uses in every garden.
The Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) is a shrub native to China, Taiwan and Vietnam, but it is now naturalized in many countries, including the southern United States. The variegated form is a much ‘tamer’ and more attractive form of this plant, yet it is still a vigorous grower, which makes it suitable for hedges and screening.
Growing Variegated Privets
Variegated Privet will grow in almost any soil as long as it is not constantly wet. That means if you have sand, loam or clay soil, acid or alkaline soil or if your soil is low in nutrients, this adaptable plant will still thrive. It has no pests or diseases and will just grow happily, whatever you do – or don’t do – to it. The evergreen foliage is always attractive and there is no season that this plant does not look its best.
This plant is an ideal choice for hedging in warmer areas of the country. It will grow in the warmer parts of zone 7 and throughout zones 8, 9 and 10. So anywhere in the South, in Texas, Florida and all along the West Coast, this plant is ready and willing to work hard for your garden and give you the hedges and screening you need.
Size and Appearance
Variegated Privet grows 10 to 20 feet in height if left un-pruned, but with pruning it can be maintained at almost any height you want and a 3-foot hedge is as easy to grow with this plant as a 20-foot one is. The plant naturally forms a rounded shape, with a dense form that is almost as wide as it is tall. The new shoots on un-pruned plants tend to hang down when young, giving a graceful form to the plant. The leaves are small and only an inch or so in length. Clipped plants produce the smallest leaves, which add to the neat appearance of hedges made from this easy to grow plant. Clipped plants rarely flower, but unclipped ones may bloom in spring with small white flowers in attractive sprays.
Spacing Your Plants
The correct spacing for this plant depends on how you are planning to use it. For small hedges, space plants 2 to 3 feet apart and for larger hedges space them 4 to 5 feet apart. Individual plants placed as specimens should have sufficient room to grow, so if you are not planning to prune regularly, plant at least 6 feet from buildings and hedges. Do not plant in front of low windows. When planting a low hedge with closer plant spacing, it is easier and better to dig a trench and then line the plants along it. Make sure all the plants are evenly placed so that your hedge will be neat and uniformly dense.
If you are growing Variegated Privets as a hedge, begin clipping in the first season to get the densest hedge possible. Clip the sides and the top once or twice a year to keep the growth dense, or more often if required. Always keep the top of your hedge narrower than the bottom, so that the foliage remains right to the ground. If any stems with plain-green leaves should appear, cut them out completely at the branch they originate from.
To develop a tree form with Variegated Privet, remove the lower branches as the tree grows, cutting them close to the trunk. Remove any shoots that may grow from the trunk while the tree is still young. You can develop a single central trunk or two or three attractive stems supporting the top.
Buying Variegated Privets at The Tree Center
Because of its special variegated leaves, this plant must be produced the correct way to preserve that unique feature. Our plants are produced correctly by rooting stem pieces selected for their attractive leaf-markings and carefully grown into good-sized plants. Beware of cheaper seedling plants, which will often be plain-green in color and lack the special features of this tough specimen. Our Variegated Privets are true to the correct form and will be ideally suited to your purpose. We are constantly receiving new stock to ensure customers get the best quality plants possible, but that means supplies are often limited. Order now so that you avoid the risk of being disappointed.