Ligustrum Vulgare ‘Atrovirens’ Hedging

The ligustrum vulgare ‘Atrovirens’, often referred to as “wintergreen privet”, is the offspring of our native wild privet. It was developed as a cultivar of the common privet with the simple goal of producing a variety that is even more hardy and evergreen than the natural species. Privet species generally do not shed their leaves when temperatures drop, but there is certainly a possibility that they will when winters are exceptionally cold. Ligustrum vulgare ‘Atrovirens’ really shows off in chilly areas, windy coastal positions and during harsh winters. Despite its deciduous status, it is very unlikely for this wintergreen privet to drop its leaves in the winter, thus ensuring year-round screening. The same cannot be said for the common privet, which is likely to lose its leaves when severe frost rears its head.

In this respect, the non-native oval-leaved privet, which is hardier than the wild privet, is comparable to the ligustrum vulgare ‘Atrovirens’, with the notable exception that the latter is much more like the native wild privet in terms of appearance and growth habit. Apart from being hardy and undemanding, ligustrum vulgare ‘Atrovirens’ is also popular due to its relatively fast growth rate and dense, compact foliage, which enables this excellent plant to create a beautiful green screen throughout the year. Keep in mind that it is not disastrous when your privet hedge sheds its leaves during an exceptionally harsh winter, as they will almost certainly grow back during the next spring. The ligustrum vulgare ‘Atrovirens’ is simply an excellent, versatile plant for hedging purposes.

Ligustrum Vulgare ‘Atrovirens’ for Privacy Hedging

Whereas a majority of native hedging species is traditionally linked to the English countryside, privet hedges were highly popular in urban gardens during the Victorian era. Urban life does not allow for a wide range of hedging plants to thrive, as the relatively limited size of gardens as well as circumstances such as pollution are difficult conditions for a majority of hedging plants. Privet species, however, are tough, undemanding and tolerant, which gave city dwellers in those days the opportunity to decorate their gardens with the beauty of a privet hedge. Of course, the screening qualities that a privet hedge has to offer also contributed to its popularity, as a hedge made from this species will ensure year-round privacy.

Most hedging plants lend themselves for either formal or informal hedging exclusively. The ligustrum vulgare ‘Atrovirens’, however, provides you with the opportunity to go both ways. You can go for the classic, elegant and formal appearance of a neatly pruned hedge, but the cultivar also makes a perfect hedge for those who are looking for a more wild, rustic look. That is why a ligustrum vulgare ‘Atrovirens’ hedge is suitable for both urban gardens and countryside farmsteads alike. If you choose to leave your hedge unpruned and go for a more natural appearance, your hedge will bear white flowers in the summer, followed in the autumn by small, blackish and inedible berries. Neither of these are too conspicuous, but they may add some seasonal interest to your hedge.

Ligustrum Vulgare ‘Atrovirens’ Upkeep

The wintergreen privet is very reliable and will take any well-drained, slightly fertile soil. It can be a good idea to add some compost or a comparable fertiliser to stimulate new growth, but this is in no way a necessity. We would advise you to plant your wintergreen privet hedge in the full sun or partial shade for the best results, but it can even be grown in deep shade if you do not have a more suitable position available. Privet species are the plants to go for if you need your hedge to be tolerant of less favourable conditions, including difficult soils, such as sand, lime, clay and chalk, as well as polluted sites in urban areas. If the difficult conditions in your garden are caused by particularly harsh winters, ligustrum vulgare ‘Atrovirens’ is the hedging plant you need.

Pruning a privet hedge does not require a comprehensive scientific study, as a wintergreen privet hedge can simply be trimmed as desired. If you prefer to create a more natural, informal hedge, you can just let it grow, with maybe some light pruning every now and then if necessary. More formal hedges require regular pruning to compensate for the fast growth rate, as the ligustrum vulgare ‘Atrovirens’ has a relatively fast annual growth rate of approximately 30 centimetres on average, but most people who own a wintergreen privet edge do not experience trimming as problematic. In terms of height, ligustrum vulgare ‘Atrovirens’ is very useful for average to larger hedges that are between 1 and 3 metres tall.

Wintergreen Privet – a Versatile Hedge Plant

If you live in an area where the conditions are not ideal for growing a hedge, the wintergreen privet might just offer you exactly what you are looking for. This tough, undemanding hedging plant will thrive where most other hedging plants will not and therefore offers anyone with a garden in coastal or polluted areas the chance to grow a beautiful hedge. In addition, the versatility of the species in terms of hedging opportunities is astounding, as it is able to make a formal, neat screening hedge or a more informal hedge with a more natural, wild appearance without much trouble. Of course, a formal hedge requires a little more maintenance, but even that should not cause too many problems. Because of this, the ligustrum vulgare ‘Atrovirens’ is a very valuable addition to the privet family.

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