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How to Care for a Golden Privet

The golden privet (Ligustrum x vicaryi), also known as the Vicary golden privet, is a semi-evergreen shrub that grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 8, withstanding winter temperatures no lower than minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit. The shrub is evergreen only in the warmer regions where winter temperatures stay above 35 degrees. Prized for its golden leaves and springtime clustered, white flowers, the golden privet grows up to 12 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide at maturity. The golden privet grows into a natural vase-like shape, with small berries emerging in the summer that attract birds. Plant your golden privet in full sun to enjoy the most vibrant golden leaf colors.

Water your golden privet deeply once a week throughout the growing season to moisten the soil evenly down to the root zone. Water the shrub more frequently during dry spells, droughts or severe summer heat.

Feed your golden privet shrub once each year in the spring, before new growth emerges. Apply a slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer and follow the dosage instructions for flowering shrubs.

Spread a 2-inch to 3-inch layer of bark, straw or leaf mulch on the ground around the base of the golden privet to control weeds and retain soil moisture. Keep the mulch about 3 inches away from the trunk.

Prune your golden privet in winter to remove any crowded, diseased or damaged growth. If you’re growing golden privets in hedge form, you can shear the shrubs to shape them, making the tops slightly narrower than the bottoms to provide adequate light exposure to all parts of the shrub.


If you’re growing your golden privet as an individual plant and not a hedge or privacy screen, no pruning is required to shape the shrub. Be sure to allow plenty of space for the golden privet to grow, spacing it at least 6 to 8 feet away from other trees, shrubs, plants and structures.


Avoid using the golden privet as a hedge or privacy screen if you live in a colder region, because in such areas the shrub is deciduous and will drop its leaves in the winter.

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