Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Ligustrum japonicum
Ligustrum japonicum

Click to Enlarge

Zones 4-31, H1, H2
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Leaves and fruits cause gastric distress if ingested.

Ligustrum japonicum

Japanese Privet, Wax Leaf Privet
Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees


Most widely used as hedges, though one type is a street tree; can also be clipped into formal shapes and featured in tubs or large pots. All bear abundant, showy clusters of white to creamy white flowers in late spring or early summer (some people find the scent unpleasant). Flowers attract bees. Clipped hedges bloom less heavily, since shearing removes most of the flower-bearing branches. Blossoms are followed by small blue-black berries; birds eat them, thus distributing seeds. Most privets grow well in any soil.

Ligustrum japonicum

From Northern China, Korea, and Japan. Grows to 10–12 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide, with a dense, compact habit. Roundish oval leaves are 2–4 in. long, with a thick, slightly spongy feel; they are glossy medium to dark green above, distinctly paler to almost whitish beneath. An excellent plant for hedges or screens and for pruning into globes, pyramids, and other shapes. With the lower limbs pruned off, it also makes an attractive small standard tree. Sunburns in hot spells. In areas where there is hardpan or where Texas root rot prevails, grow it in containers.

‘Recurvifolium’: Leaves are wavy-edged, twisted at the tip, and slightly smaller than those of the species. Somewhat open grower.

‘Texanum’: Very similar to the species, but lower growing (8–10 ft. tall and 4–6 ft. wide), with somewhat denser, lusher foliage. Useful as a windbreak. This plant is often sold as the species.

‘Variegatum’: Leaves have creamy white margins and blotches.

You Might Also Like...

Eriobotrya japonica

From China. Though this loquat produces edible fruit, it’s most often used as an ornamental. Gro...

Melia azedarach

Native to China and northern India. Grows to 30–50 ft. tall and wide, with an irregular habit. R...


Native to western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean, Ficus carica is grown for its edible fr...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More