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Ligustrum japonica Texanum (Waxleaf Privet)

This has been used for hedging and informal topiary in the south-west and the south-east of the U.S. for many years. They’re now produced by a number of nurseries in Italy and have therefore only been in cultivation in Britain for 15 to 20 years. It’s a ‘sport’ of the well known Japanese Privet (Ligustrum japonica) with much thicker, fleshier and waxier leaves that seems to have spontaneously erupted in Texas – but where and when, I’m yet to discover.

It’s definitely tougher and greener and more eye catching than ordinary Japanese Privet but the thick and fleshy nature of the leaves dictates a particular informal approach to clipping it; if you clip this regularly (more than once or twice a year), the cut ends of the leaves are not a pretty sight. Clip it in late May into the shape you want (whether it’s a hedge or a lollipop or any other shape you want) and then allow it to grow out. That’s when it looks its best. The tiny leafed and related Ligustrum delavayi (or L. jonandrum) can be used for real topiary – cut it as often as you like and it looks beautiful but this is different. Cutting the bunches of white flowers out individually will also help the general green-ness and lushness of the plant. This will reduce the number of berries which (being related to olives) are of no great beauty.

Any reasonable well drained soil (including chalk) and plenty of light. This seems to tolerate even quite exposed sites but not too close to the sea.

Propagated by cuttings

N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.

Hardiness traffic light green

Hardiness level Green

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Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.