Sick Ligustrum Texanum/Waxleaf Privet -- please help

sshanky(9)February 7, 2006

Hello everyone

I bought a two-tier ligustrum texanum, which I think is the same thing as a Waxleaf Privet, from the Target garden center on clearance.

I've uploaded some images here:

It was originally $125, to give you an idea of its size, which is probably about 6 to 7 feet tall. It's still in its original wooden crate, because I am not sure exactly where to put it. I'm in Phoenix, AZ, and the winter has not been super cold, but there were a couple of nights where the temp got down to the mid-30's.

In the months I've had the plant, I haven't seen any new growth, unless I'm missing it. But, more important, there are areas that seem to be dead. The little branches are dry and snap right off with a bit of flying dust. I water it regularly -- the Target garden center man told me he had been watering it daily (it sat unmoved there for months before I bought it), so I started off doing that. Now, during the winter, I've been watering it more like every 2 to 3 days. The water drains out very quickly and the soil seems to have some sand in it. It sits near a small hibiscus tree, which incidentally is also not growing.

Maybe it's just because it's winter, but I want to be sure I'm not killing my ligustrum. Should I prune it a bit? Will that cause new growth? Should I water more or less? Do I have to move it to a larger pot? Thanks a lot for your input!

Steve in AZ

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Steve ...

The plant looks OK .. but get it out of that pot .. the box you bought it in is not meant to be a permenant container .. and it's been in their way to long. Check the the roots to make sure they are not growing in a circle .. if so pry them apart a bit before replanting. Also ... get rid of that nursery stake ... it will seriously wound the tree ... if you must restake use two stakes secured loosely to allow the tree room to move and grow without injury.

Give the plant a good washing down once in a while .. that will help the dust problem. The temps you mention are no problem for this plant but they do get a bit weather beaten in winter and growth will slow or stop at this time.

The plant can take a considerable amount of sun and do well in moderate to moderate heavy shade. At my home they do great growing as foundation plants on the north side of my two story home. Avoid reflected heat from patios .. walls or rock mulch. Use organic mulches around this plant.

The best bet with water is to pry into the soil .. look for moist but not soggy conditions and a clean earthy smelling soil not rotten egg smell.

The plant will do better in the ground but can be grown in large pots with drainage... about three times as wide as what you have now. Flush pots out once in a while to reduce salt build up.

The main problem with this plant in deserts is iron deficiency ( yellow leaves with green viens 0 .. salt build up ( leaves with yellow then brown tips and edges ). They need decent drainage so watch water carefully if planted in the ground .. pry into the soil.

All in all a tough plant. Try giving the plant a rest from pruning for a while. End of winter pruning is best .. light pruning anytime... be careful in summer ..pruning can expose shade leaves to sun and cause leaf burn .. ugly but not fatal.

Good luck.

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 12:59AM
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How did that plant do after that advice?

Here is a link that might be useful: Budget Plants

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 3:41AM
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