One of the most popular hedging plants, privet is vigorous, pollution resistant and semi-evergreen, keeping its leaves in all but the harshest winters. Choose from Ligustrum ovalifolium (green oval-leaved privet) or Ligustrum ovalifolium aureum (golden privet), with variegated leaves.
Cut as a hedge, privet is dense, providing privacy and reducing noise and air pollution, plus it provides a good nesting environment for birds. It will grow virtually anywhere, but prefers well-drained but moist soils, in sun or partial shade. Privet is suitable for exposed coastal situations although it may lose its leaves in winter.
Both varieties are fast-growing, up to 30cm (12”) per year , up to a final height of approximately 4m (12ft) and should be trimmed twice a year to encourage dense growth. Privet is suitable for a formal hedge, as its leaves are small enough to cut into precise shapes and topiary. If left unpruned, it bears white flowers in summer, followed by black fruit.