The oval-leaved privet, which is known as ligustrum ovalifolium in Latin, is a common sight in urban gardens all across the UK. Occasionally called green privet, the oval-leaved privet is a fully hardy shrub, capable of growing almost anywhere. It will create a fast-growing, dense screening hedge. The dense clusters of flowers that appear in July and August spread a heavy, characteristic scent that is not loved by everyone, but a wide range of insects are drawn to this abundant food source. After these flowers have faded, shiny black berries will appear. This will draw birds to your oval-leaved privet hedge, as they like to eat these berries.
Sometimes, thriving in an urban garden can be a little difficult for a hedging plant. City gardens are usually smaller than those in rural areas and air pollution is a common problem in the bigger cities. While the oval-leaved privet does need some room to grow, it is an ideal hedge plant for urban gardens due to its high tolerance of pollution. As a semi-evergreen hedging plant, it will also ensure the privacy of its owner throughout the year, though it is possible that the oval-leaved privet will shed its leaves when temperatures drop too far below zero. The oval-leaved privet is a sturdy, robust hedging plant that will feel well in just about any garden and therefore, it is hardly surprising that it has become one of the most sought-after hedging plants in the UK.
Oval-Leaved Privet Screening Hedges
An oval-leaved privet needs a position in the full sun or partial shade, but it will also tolerate more heavily shaded positions. This type of hedge is best planted in a well-drained soil, while waterlogged soils should be avoided. Ligustrum ovalifolium is very shapely and has small, oval, bright green foliage, providing an excellent evergreen backdrop for other plants in borders in addition to year-round screening. Oval-leaved privet is formally a deciduous plant and will shed some or all of its leaves during winters that are exceptionally cold. Should this occur, your privet hedge will not be able to provide screening until new leaves appear during the next spring. However, its foliage should be able to survive the average British winter.
Maintaining your Oval-Leaved Privet Hedge
Oval-leaved privet can be kept neat by pruning it once or twice a year, depending on how neat you need your privet hedge to be. Ligustrum ovalifolium has a large growth habit and typically needs more space than other popular hedging varieties and cultivars. Privet hedges are never very slender, but regular trimmings will help keep them as compact as possible. Regular maintenance will however disturb the privet’s ability to flower and as a result, there will be no berries the following year. This will keep your privet hedge relatively formal, so if a neatly trimmed hedge is what you are after, pruning regularly is recommended. The oval-leaved privet has an average annual growth rate of about 30 centimetres and will eventually grow up to 3 metres in height.
Versatility of the Oval-Leaved Privet
The versatility of the oval-leaved privet and other privet species never ceases to amaze us. Ligustrum ovalifolium is able to make a beautiful flowering hedge with strong wildlife interest, though it is usually pruned before flowering in order to create a more formal, tidy screening hedge. Even if winters unexpectedly get so harsh that they force your oval-leaved privet hedge to shed its foliage, the leaves will grow back in the spring. After all, we are dealing with a strong hedge plant that will tolerate circumstances such as pollution and hard pruning, that would be detrimental to other hedging plants. Regardless of how you want your garden to look, the oval-leaved privet will certainly allow you to enhance its appearance.