Tree branches for sprouting roots.

How to Propagate Privet Hedge Cuttings

by Jaimie Zinski

Native to North Africa and Europe, the common privet hedge (Ligustrum vulgare) reaches mature heights of 12 to 15 feet and widths between 10 and 12 feet. Ideal for backyards throughout U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 5 through 7, the privet hedge features showy white flowers that produce an unpleasant odor during the spring. Propagation of the evergreen privet hedge is possible through softwood, semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings, depending on the season.

Fill a large plastic pot featuring drainage holes with a mixture of one part peat and one part sand, or one part peat and one part perlite. Water the medium until it's evenly moist, not soaking wet. Allow any excess water to drain from the pot before introducing the cutting.

Remove at least one, 6- to 8-inch cutting with sharp pruning shears early in the morning. Softwood cuttings are removed in May, June or July; remove a chunk that bends and snaps easily. Semi-hardwood cuttings are taken in mid-July through fall, and feature mature leaves. Propagating hardwood privet cuttings is also potentially successful, according to North Carolina State University; hardwood cuttings are very firm and won't bend or break and are harvested in the late-fall, winter or early spring.

Cut or gently pull off the leaves from the bottom one-third to one-half of the cutting. Quickly dip the end without the leaves into a powdered rooting hormone. Gently shake the cutting to remove the excess powder.

Dig a hole into the potting medium with your fingers. Push the cutting in until the bottom one-third to one-half of the privet cutting is in the medium -- no leaves should be under the soil. Pack the medium around the cutting until it stands erect. Lower the cutting into a clear plastic bag. Gather the bag's opening and secure it loosely with a rubber band.

Place the plastic bag-covered pot in an indoor spot featuring indirect sunlight that maintains a temperature between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the rubber band around the bag at all times. This maintains a high humidity level around the cutting, which helps keep the medium moist. Water the medium to maintain an even moisture; don't create a soggy mess. The cutting will root in approximately eight weeks.

Transplant each rooted cutting into a separate plastic pot featuring well-drained, alkaline potting soil. Allow the tender privet seedling to grow in a partially-shaded indoor area for an entire season before planting outdoors. If growing from a softwood cutting in summer, wait through the first spring and plant in the following March through May. Plant the privet hedge in an outdoor area featuring well-drained, alkaline soil, and full to partial shade.

Items you will need

  • Large plastic pot
  • Peat
  • Sand or perlite
  • Pruning shears
  • Powdered rooting hormone
  • Clear plastic bag
  • Rubber band
  • Well drained, alkaline potting soil

About the Author

Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.

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