How to Plant Privet


Privet (Ligustrum spp.) is a rapidly growing evergreen shrub that can grow to tree size. It produces tiny white flowers in late spring and early summer. Privet plants are used as landscape shrubs, foundation plantings, shrub borders, patio trees, hedges and specimen trees. Privets tolerate heavy pruning and recover very quickly. This popular hedge plant is inexpensive, highly available and very adaptable to growing conditions.

Step 1

Clear an area of grass, weeds and debris that is located in full sun to partial shade. Without the competition of other plants, the privet will establish its roots more easily.

Step 2

Loosen the soil to the depth of 24 inches with a shovel. Break the soil clumps up with the edge of a garden hoe. Keep working until the soil texture is as fine as pebbles.

Step 3

Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and 6 inches wider. Remove the privet from its container and gently spread its roots with your fingers. Place the privet in the hole so it is as deep as it was planted in the container.

Step 4

Fill the hole halfway full with soil and pour a bucket of water around the roots. Finish filling the hole with soil and firm it around the privet plant.

Step 5

Plant the rest of your privet bushes by spacing them 2 feet apart for a formal hedge or 4 feet apart for an informal hedge. Water the soil around the plants until wet. Trim the newly planted privets into the shape you want with pruning shears.

Tips and Warnings

  • Privet shrubs have a pungent odor. Some people find the smell of this bush to be offensive. Do not plant under windows if you do not like the smell.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Garden hoe
  • Privet plants
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Pruning shears


  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: Hedges
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Ligustrum or Privet
Keywords: planting privet bushes, planting privet hedges, planting privet shrubs

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.