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How to Grow a Privet Hedge

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017

Gardeners desiring a natural privacy border often add privet hedges to a landscape. Privet hedges thrive in almost any type of soil and grow quickly together to create a solid hedge. Gardeners must prune a privet hedge regularly to maintain the desired shape and control the tendency this shrub has to spread out over a growing area. With basic maintenance, a privet hedge will provide a natural boundary in a landscape.

Prepare a sunny or partly shady growing area by working the soil with the garden spade down to a depth of approximately 1 foot. Add at least 4 inches of compost to the top of the soil and work the compost in well with the garden spade.

Dig a long trench where you will be planting the privet hedges. Make the trench deep enough that when you place the privet hedges into the trench for planting, they will be at the same height as they are in the temporary containers.

Remove the privet hedges from the temporary containers and place them in the trench. Space the hedges 5 feet apart along the trench (they will grow together quickly). Fill the soil in around the roots of the privet hedges and pat the soil firmly to finish planting.

Provide water immediately after planting the privet hedges. Keep the hedges evenly moist for two to three weeks while they are establishing. After this, water only during extremely dry periods.

Cut back the privet hedges to approximately 8 inches of the soil right after planting. This will enable the roots to establish and will encourage fuller privet hedges on top.

Add 2 inches of compost over the soil around the base of the privet hedges as a rich mulch.

Prune back the privet hedges two to three times over a growing season. A general rule for pruning privet hedges is to remove approximately 3 inches of new growth every time the hedges grow 6 inches. Shape the hedges so that the tops are narrower than the bottoms for best results. Make the tops of the hedges either square shaped or curved, according to your desires. Square shapes are easier to create than rounded shapes. Prune slowly and carefully, stepping back frequently to assess your progress.

Keep the privet hedges growing within your desired growing area by removing new growth that appears in the soil under the hedges. Pull this new “sucker growth” up out of the soil and discard it.


Things You Will Need

  • Spade
  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • Privet hedge plants
  • Pruning shears


  • Privet hedges are hardy to USDA zones 8 through 10.

About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.