Japonese Ligustrum 'Recurve'

Scientific name: Ligustrum japonicum

The Japanese ligustrum, also called Japanese privet, is a large shrub or tree that is usually seen at 6-12 ft (1.8-3.7 m) in height but is capable of reaching 20 ft (6.1 m) or more. The attractive leaves are evergreen, opposite, and somewhat pear-shaped with a sharp terminal point. They have 6 to 8 pairs of veins that may be somewhat sunken on the back. In spring, white flowers are borne on large terminal clusters (panicles) 5-8 in (12-20 cm) long.

The flowers produce a perfume that is not particularly pleasant as well as quantities of pollen that many people find bothersome. The blossoms are followed by green berries that ripen to dull black in winter and tend to persist on the plant for most of the year. The older and larger the tree, the more open its form becomes and looks attractive limbed up to create a bonsai-esque effect.

Extremely tolerant of a wide variety of soil conditions, ligustrum is a strong, sturdy plant requiring little care other than regular pruning to maintain desired shape and size. It will grow in sun or part shade. In shade and when planted too close or in conditions that limit air circulation, whitefly and sooty mold can become problematical. These are controlled with a soap spray. One of the most common mistakes is planting immature ligustrums and other large shrubs too close together. Space these at least 5 ft (1.5 m) apart and they will grow together to form a solid hedge.

Light: Plant in sun to part shade.
Moisture: Once established, wet to dry, but not soggy.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 10 
Propagation: Mature plants propagate themselves prolifically from seed. Cuttings are easily rooted. Named selections are propagated commercially by grafting onto seedling rootstock.