'Sunshine' Ligustrum Is the Easy-Care Hedge You'll Love

You've never seen privet like this before.

Sunshine Ligustrum
Photo: Courtesy of the Southern Living Plant Collection

Before you say, "No privet, no way," let us tell you: You've never seen privet like this before. Sunshine Ligustrum is not like common privet which, if left untended, will sprawl far and wide and reach heights of 15 feet or more. For one, 'Sunshine' Ligustrum is non-invasive. While privet has a reputation for being smelly and growing like a weed, this particular selection of Ligustrum sinense is easier to corral. Plus, it doesn't flower. (Pause for gasps.) This privet has all the hedging capabilities and visual interest of its Ligustrum relatives (maybe even more, thanks to its bright yellow foliage) with none of the odor or invasive sprawl. It's a privet that won't cause a headache for you or your garden.

About 'Sunshine' Ligustrum

Ligustrum sinense 'Sunshine' is a hardy, evergreen planting with bright yellow foliage. According to the Southern Living Plant Collection, which offers this plant for purchase, "Ideal as a hedge in the landscape, 'Sunshine' Ligustrum offers year-round golden foliage that flourishes in full sun. This sterile, non-invasive cultivar will not re-seed into the landscape. In fact, it doesn't bloom at all, which is good news for allergy sufferers!" It will reliably reach heights of three to six feet and widths of three to four feet, making it a versatile planting for both bigger and smaller garden spaces.

How to Grow 'Sunshine' Ligustrum

Light

Like its name, this particular privet thrives in the sunshine. Make sure you plant it in a spot where it gets at least six hours of sun per day.

Soil

The golden hedge likes moist, well-draining soil. We suggest adding one to two inches of mulch around the base of the plant to ensure moisture. When doing so, avoid the area closest to the stem.

Water

When first establishing the plant, water often, but make sure it has ample time to drain. After the plant is established, it is drought and heat tolerant. However, make sure to water enough to keep its surrounding soil moist. Avoid overwatering, as its roots do not like soggy soil.

Pruning

To bring out even more of its bright yellow foliage, occasional pruning is needed. Pruning this Ligustrum is more for shape, though; it doesn't need the careful, regular shearing of other privet selections, which are speedy, aggressive spreaders. If you don't want to grow it as a hedge or a mass planting, it also thrives when grown in a container and as an accent in the garden. Make sure not to prune when getting close to the first frost of the year. Watch the video below for more information and instructions for pruning 'Sunshine' Ligustrum.

Fertilizing

We recommend fertilizing your ligustrum once a year in the spring.

Spacing

When designing your landscape, make sure you give these plants ample spacing depending on their use. For shrubs, three to four feet apart; for hedges, 28- to 36-inches apart; and for a border or mass landscaping, four to six feet apart.

How to Plant Ligustrum

  1. Water the ligustrum before planting.
  2. Find a sunny spot to plant your ligustrum.
  3. Dig a hole about two times the width of the pot.
  4. Plant one to two inches above ground soil level and backfill the hole with soil.
  5. Water deeply to settle, then, add more soil if needed.
  6. Add mulch one to two inches deep around the plant, avoiding the area closest to the stem.

Ligustrum Species

While The Southern Living Garden Book describes most selections of L. sinense as "a horrible weed in the Southeast" and "hard to kill," two selections, in particular, are a bit easier to deal with. L. sinense 'Pendulum' and L. sinense 'Variegatum' have attractive foliage and are less aggressively invasive than their relatives. Other Ligustrum species include L. amurense, L. japonicum, L. lucidum, L. ovalifolium, and L. vulgare, all of which have distinctive characteristics. Some are more popular plantings than others, while some have been banned entirely by a few Southern gardeners, including a famously grumpy one. Other selections include L. 'Suwanee River' and L. 'Vicaryi', the latter of which is also known as "vicary golden privet" and has bright yellow leaves.

You can find more information about 'Sunshine' Ligustrum online and you can also purchase it online and by mail from the Southern Living Plant Collection.

Do you love privet, or is it a planting you will never ever touch? Do you have any 'Sunshine' Ligustrum growing in your yard?

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