RE: What's so bad about Japanese privet (aka waxleaf ligustrum)?

mcdd_growerOctober 26, 2009

I was about to decide on wax ligustrum to put along a fence line on the road(no improvements nearby) but after reading the posting, I'm not so sure. I have plenty of space but don't want anything that needs maintenance, just provides privacy. Anybody got any other suggestions? I don't really want to plant something that is overused already.

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If I'm correct, I think it's the regular waxleaf ligustrum that is invasive/troublesome. The one labeled 'Texanum' is better behaved and only gets to 8' tall.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 8:27AM
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where to start? They are overused, boring, ugly, get scraggly, they are ugly & boring, non-native.
They get mold.
So many other choices!
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 9:02PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Tally, why don't you tell us what you REALLY think about ligustrums? LOL!

I don't think they are so bad. I have a very tall 'hedge' of them along the back fence that the former owners planted. The pluses are that they grow in this limy, rocky, black clay 'soil' (where there is any), are evergreen, have no diseases, take the drought, have long lasting fragrant blooms in the spring that scent the whole yard, and their berries feed the flocks of cedar wax wings that come through in the fall. I know some people wouldn't call the bird thing a plus, but I enjoy seeing them.

So I'm happy with the old fashioned ligustrums, but perhaps someone else will suggest some alternatives. If I were planting a hedge now I would plant a variety of shrubs for a colorful tapestry effect.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 9:39PM
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My biggest complaint is, my mom's allergic to them.

Anytime they're in bloom and she gets a whiff, she starts sneezing like crazy.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 1:46PM
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Here they get straggly and are host to a variety of molds, aphids, whitefly and mealy bugs. And they make me sneeze. Perhaps in less humidity?
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 2:12PM
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Yes, they do attract Cedar Waxwings, a beautiful bird. Also a bird that eats more than it needs to and leaves purple polka dots on your patio. Ligustrums also self-seed on their own. When we moved here to the farm and I brought two pallets of plants with me, I checked each and every pot to make sure it didn't have a ligustrum seedling in it!
Ligustrums make a quick, evergreen hedge and can be kept trimmed to a reasonable height. But the self-seeding and invasiveness put it on my "don't want" list.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 4:31PM
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My ligustrums have been well-behaved, but then, I pull up all kinds of things without even checking what they are ... perhaps I just haven't noticed how many come up. Either that or the birds carry off the seeds to my neighbors' yards ... lol!

I would go for a mixed hedge, with something like this ... A majority of sturdy, evergreen shrubs, and a few scattered among them that bloomed at different seasons of the year. For example, some forsythia, flowering quince, barberry, Osier dogwood, crepe myrtle, nandina, holly, maybe even a few big perennials like salvia and berry bushes. Depending on the kind of fence, you might try vines, too. Passion flower and AMERICAN wisteria (not chinese!!!) make good, relatively quick covers.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 4:26PM
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How poisonous are japanese privets? Also how allergenic are they.
I have small children.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 5:25PM
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Not sure everyone is singing from the same page here. There is the Glossy Privet, commonly known as Japanese ligustrum which, if allowed to do so, will turn into a small tree 25 ft. or so tall. It is virtually indestructible, and quite invasive. It thrives in sun or shade. It has darker leaves than its cousin, Ligustrum Japonicum, better known as waxleaf ligustrum. It will get perhaps 12 ft. or so tall, and requires a bit more light. I learned the hard way that even mature specimens cannot take Central Texas drought without some supplemental watering. It has been charged with being "invasive," but I've never observed any evidence of this.

I've had both these plants for some 15 years, and have never observed any signs of fungal disease on either. I suppose results might vary, depending on the amount of precipitation and humidity. If either is poisonous, Neil Sperry doesn't mention it.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 2:42PM
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Gardener972(7b-8a DFW)

And the seeds travel throughout your yard and plants pop up everywhere. Grrrrrr!!!!!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 4:34PM
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Ann_in_Houston(z9 Houston)

My mil's waxleaf ligustrums aren't invasive but I absolutely hate the smell of the blooms. Personal preference, I know.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 3:43PM
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A good replacement in Texas and much of the south would be something like Yaupon Holly or Wax Myrtle. Though the Wax Myrtle can start to wander a bit.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 6:47PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I don't like Ligustrum either. We have a lot of problems with it naturalizing in the parks and wild spaces. Cherry Laurel is a native that does the same thing . It Has nice glossy evergreen leaves and is drought hardy, I think it is a lot more attractive. I had easier time growing it in Blackland prairie and regular garden soil than out here on caliche though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cherry Laurel

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:07PM
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Lynn Marie

I have three that I LOVE! They smell wonderful in the spring and the bees LOVE them. (And I love the bees!) I've never had any trouble as far as aphids or mold here in Texas, but have seen aphids on them in Louisiana. They are not growing anywhere I didn't plant them, so they don't seem invasive to me. Honestly, other than being overdone, I can't see the downside.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:23PM
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How do you get them to not be 'leggy'? Prune the top?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 11:24PM
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No! They will turn into trees, unless you occasionally prune the lowest branches. This will encourage new growth, keeping the plant bushy.

It perhaps bears mentioning that the Japanese Privet will not flower, and bear fruit for birds to scatter, unless it gets sufficient light. It is the ideal shrub for areas that get little sun.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 7:00AM
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"they're not invasive in my yard"
Exactly--the birds spread them so they're invasive in everyone else's yards, and the wildlife areas also.
Stop saying this--it's selfish & illogical.

But my major beef with waxleaf ligustrums is that you could plant something better with similar size & leaves:
-Cherry Laurel
-Indian Hawthorne (the tall pink-flowered kind)
-Gardenia (the big kind, not the dwarf kind)

Seriously, spend $5 more per shrub now and you could have either a beautiful native or endless fragrant flowers in the summer for decades.
Buying a ligustrum is penny-wise, dollar-foolish.

AND they're a pain to pull out. Just about impossible to kill & forget pulling the stump. I pulled out a bunch at my last house and I've got a couple at this house. I want 'em gone, but I'm dreading it. For now I'm just trimming off all the berries so they won't become someone else's problem (which is tedious but not painful.)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 9:50AM
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I don't know, Ligustrum Texanum aren't too bad.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ligustrum Texanum

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 3:58AM
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