Ligustrum obtusifolium - Border Privet
Family: Oleaceae

Hear the scientific name

Ligustrum obtusifolium is the most common formal semi-evergreen to deciduous hedge for northern climates through zone 4. Border Privet has dense, dark green foliage to the ground if pruned as a formal hedge.

F   E   A   T   U   R   E   S
  form Form

-semi-evergreen to deciduous large shrub

-to 12' tall x 15' wide but often smaller

-radiating rounded shrub in youth if left unpruned, becoming an arching vase with age

-frequently pruned into a formal hedge

-medium rate

foliage Foliage

-medium to dark green

-semi-evergreen to deciduous


-elliptical to oblong

-short petioled

-about 1-1.5" long

-green, yellowish green, or green-purple

-not showy



-late May to early June

-inflorescences that tend to nod

-will cover the plant and be rather attractive if it was unpruned during the second half of the previous year and sited in full sun

-slightly malodorous

-attract bees


-black to blue-black

-fruits mature in clusters in Sept. and persist into the following spring if uneaten by birds


-olive, becoming light gray

-thin and multi-branching, giving the unpruned or pruned shrub a very twiggy appearance

-will branch and foliage nearly to the ground


-light gray and fairly smooth

-lenticels a lighter color

C   U   L   T   U   R   E


-full sun to partial shade

-adaptable to most urban stress situations (soils, pHs, compaction, drought, high light, heavy pruning, pollution)

-does not like poor drainage


-zones 4 to 7


-native to Japan

U   S   A   G   E


-urban tolerance

-most commonly used deciduous formal hedge for northern climates

-foliages to the ground if a formal hedge


-growth rate requires frequent pruning if used as a formal hedge

-poor aurumn color

-other shrubs and trees may grow up through the shrub and be a pesky problem to remove because the average density allows light to penetrate to the interior

-garbage collector

-attracts bees if allowed to flower


-formal hedge by far the most common

-also informal hedge, screen, or non-thorny barrier

-good in rows, borders, against walls or foundations (except full shade areas)


-fine in foliage and when bare

-average density in foliage but thick when bare

S   E   L   E   C   T   I   0   N   S

Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species


-formal or informal hedges, either deciduous (Ligustrum species, Ribes alpinum, Spiraea x vanhouttei, Viburnum dentatum, etc.) or evergreen (Buxus cultivars, Taxus x media, etc.)

-barriers or screens, either deciduous (Acanthopanax sieboldianus, Ligustrum species, Lonicera species, Rosa multiflora, Rubus species, etc.) or evergreen (Juniperus species [upright forms], Taxus x media 'Hicksii', Thuja occidentalis [upright forms], etc.)


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