Propagating Privet from Cuttings is Easy

The dastardly Dursley's of Harry Potter fame have done not a little damage to the street cred of the Ligustrum family.  Privet Drive is no longer as attractive an address as it once was and some muggles seem to think that privet hedging is out of fashion.

Well, not with wizards its not. Apart from being an outstanding wand-making wood, Privet has a few other magical qualities of its own.  Young Jasper (aged 10) from next door stumbled across one of them when in the garden just before Christmas and just before the freeze.

About a year ago, Jasper was 9 and had not yet become the man he is today.  Bit of a brat really.  To keep him quiet (he visits a lot) I set him to digging some fortifications - a rather intricate trench system - behind the shed.  When I came on a tour of inspection I found he had camouflaged his earthworks with most of a self-seeded privet bush that until half an hour before had been hiding the compost heap from public view.

While the compost heap was now obvious, the Maginot line was truly well hidden by literally hundreds of bits of Privet which General Jasper had stuck in the ground.

War ended, peace was declared and the wife said she wanted a compost heap closer to the kitchen anyway. So behind the shed was forgotten.

Until Boxing Day when Jasper came over with his mate Alfie to make war.  About two minutes into the spring offensive, young J came running into the house to say that the battlefield was better than paintballing.  Suspiciously, Jasper's parents and I went to inspect and discovered that just about every bit of privet he had pushed into infertile earth a year earlier had rooted and grown away.  Several were well over a metre tall.

Jasper is now planning on digging them up, potting them up and going into competition with Ashridge Nurseries.  A worrying prospect given that his raw material cost is close to zero.

So, if you have a few gaps in your privet hedge, cut off a few long thin growths on any frost-free day, stick them into a bit of soft soil (preferably damp) in the garden where they can be left undisturbed until autumn by which time they will have rooted and can fill your privet hedge out for free.

If you do not have the patience, then buy some privet from us...

Sit back, watch your garden grow and Enjoy!

4 thoughts on “Propagating Privet from Cuttings is Easy”

  • Iain

    Hello
    I purchased over 100 bare rooted privet hedge plants from you and planted them last Nov. They have been doing really well this summer and almost all of the plants have shot from the base giving them a bushy appearance from the ground up. A few are a little 'leggy' in the bottom half of the plant with few leafs and bushy on the top. I haven't pruned the plants, but over the past 2 months I have nipped out the new growth to encourage bottom growth through the whole of the privet hedge. Can I do anything about this or is it too late as we approach the end of the summer? Should I take the hit and run a hedge trimmer over the lot taking off about a foot and leveling them off ready for next spring?

    Reply
    • julian

      Thank you for your email.

      Hi Iain
      Privet hedging is pretty bombproof and as a last resort you can cut a plant down to few inches above ground level and it will resprout bushily from the base....

      Hopefully however that should not be necessary. Clipping them back hard now - top and sides will help, and then clipping them lightly again in spring when they are just covered with new young leaves. The two clips should force the recalcitrant bits of privet hedging to sprout low down. A bit of mulch in spring will help as well - privet hedge plants put out masses of green growth if fed.

      Hope this helps.

      Julian

      Reply
  • Gary

    What is a good fertilizer to use for privet hedge? Have you ever propagated plants by sticking the stem into a potato and then planting it?

    Reply
    • root

      Thanks for your questions. Privet is a "gross' feeder which means it is greedy and exhausts the soil. To combat this the best thing to do is to give your privet hedge a good mulch of 2" of well rotted compost/horse manure every year or two. Much more effective than chemical fertilisers in the long run. For a quick boost a foliar feed in spring or early summer is probably as good as anything else.

      As for potato cuttings - there is lots of information on the web - it certainly is used when taking rose cuttings, but we have no direct experience.

      Reply
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