Ligustrum japonicum ‘Rotundifolium’ (Japanese Privet)

Evergreen Privet from Japan grown as a tree. Well behaved, masses of white flowers from July to September. To about 15ft. Any soil. Please contact us for stock availability and sizes.

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Hardiness level Green

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This slow-growing hardy plant comes from the gardens of Japan and has loads of thick and glossy leaves that are neatly rounded and coin-like. These are produced with abundance and thickly clothe their upright stems. Like its bigger cousins, it will give you sprays of white flowers, prettily privetty, followed by purply-black berries. Not big. Can manage 1.5 x 1 metre over 20 years.

“Well-behaved shrubs rarely make history” Forgive the butchered quote (wrongly attributed to Ms Monroe, thank you. The jury’s out on who actually uttered these very tee-shirtable words) but from a horticultural point of view we’ll say that ‘well-behaved’ is not synonymous with low value or low interest. Ligustrum japonicum ‘Rotundifolium’ is small, steady, maintains its own shape and won’t do anything dramatic or anxious-making. And that’s why we love it.

Forming a neat but textured shape it has that natural-but-disciplined sort of a silhouette that we’d sloppily call ‘Japanese-y’ and it’s a must-have for this style of garden design. Smashing, too for courtyards and terraces and even in pots where watching raindrops pool into the centre of each leaf is a nice distraction on a drizzly day. A very smart little shrub. Have this one dolloped-about in a gravel or rock garden and you can rely on some glossy evergreen architecture year-round.

Rather slower-growing, unlike the species type, the compact nature of ‘Rotundifolia’ (round leaves, yes) makes it a valuable blob of evergreen architecture which you won’t have to be whipping your shears out every five minutes to maintain. In fact, we’d urge you not to primp and poodle this privet too much or indeed at all, as their slightly out-sized and slightly chubby leaves will look more than slightly ghastly when hacked at. Cut edges go brown and dry, and you’d be denying them of all their charming rotundiness. Plus, it will take a while to forgive you and push out new shiny ones. Best let it do its own thing and trust to that well-behaved nature.

Happy on any soil that is moist but well drained in any aspect but better out of the cold north winds.


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.

SKU: PLANT0468-1 Category:

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