Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Japanese Privet, Waxleaf Privet
Ligustrum japonicum

Family: Oleaceae (oh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ligustrum (lig-GUS-trum) (Info)
Species: japonicum (juh-PON-ih-kum) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Seed is poisonous if ingested
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 11 photos.
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7 positives
6 neutrals
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive dibro On Jul 11, 2012, dibro from New Albany, MS wrote:

Folks we absolutely love and enjoy our waxleaf privet and have for years.
We have both the flat leaf and the curled leaf.
All I can say is that we have at least seventy to eighty around our farm and would never dream of replacing them.Talk about superb road frontage privacy that can't be beat.Provides a year round evergreen hedge .Trimmed from the ground up about half way makes beautiful mid size oriental trees.
With a scent straight from heaven when in bloom, the blossoms attract beautiful bumble bees and honey bees that work for us around the farm pollinating the gardens!
(Ligustrum japonicum) YES!

Positive katncentx On Apr 7, 2012, katncentx from Harker Heights, TX wrote:

I have Ligustrum japonicum (Wax Leaf Privet) in my yard but we have never seen black fruit on them. We love them because they are easy to maintain and we've never had an issue with them spreading... actually we're looking to put them in the back yard as well if we can find some to plant.

Negative Sandwichkatexan On Dec 8, 2011, Sandwichkatexan from Copperas Cove, TX wrote:

I hate this plant with a passion ! Whoever had this house before I bought it planted this awful plague of a tree and now I have to just deal with it . 1, it is messy it has these black berries that are food for every bird in the entire state to eat . 2, Everywhere one of those berries lands a new tree starts . 3, Every year I tear more and more of these d*** things out of my flowerbeds and no matter what you do more just pop right up to take their place . I am so sick of this G.D. tree I am ready to pour gasoline on its roots and call it a day . It ruins my flowerbeds with all its volunteers that just seem to help themselves to my containers , cracks in the cement, the foundation even in the gutters . INVASIVE INVASIVE INVASIVE pest of a godforsaken tree . Please excuse my ranting as I am just frustrated with this plant .

Neutral pfadi On Sep 21, 2011, pfadi from Larkspur, CA wrote:

Is this plant salt water tolerant?

Positive dghornock On May 8, 2009, dghornock from bear (glasgow), DE (Zone 7b) wrote:

We are in Southeastern Pa (7a) about 75 miles wnw of Philadelphia, and 75 miles nne of Baltimore; and this plant has been growing well in a protected spot (shaded by loblolly pines) on the east side of our house.

Negative realbirdlady On Dec 10, 2008, realbirdlady from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

"Wildlife disperse the seeds from its abundant drupes, which then sprout and grow with amazing vigor... They compete with native understory plants and even suppress native hardwood regeneration." I couldn't have put it any better. They can be controlled in just your own yard, but there's no way to keep the animals from spreading the seeds. So, so sad, what they can do to a woodland ecosystem. Please, please, remove them if you have them, and don't plant any more.

Neutral htop On Feb 13, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

How to distinguish Ligustrum japonicum from Ligustrum lucidum:

The leaf tips of Ligustrum japonicum are blunt or bluntly pointed; however, those of Ligustrum lucidum are sharply pointed. The leaf tips of Ligustrum lucidum tend to bend backwards a bit.

Ligustrum japonicum leaves are three to four inches (7.5 to 10 cm) long; whereas, Ligustrum lucidum leaves are four to six inches (10 to 15 cm) long.

When a L. lucidum leaf is backlit by strong light, the lateral veins are lucid and appear as is a halo (pinkish) on the leaf margins. L. japonicum leaf veins are inconspicuous or opaque before a strong light.

L. japonicum usually has a shiny, waxy leaf, whereas, a L. lucidum leaf is dull. L. japonicum leaves snap when bent. L. lucidum leaves usually just bend. They are thinner and softer than L. japonicum leaves.

When grown as a tree, L. japonicum is smaller in stature than L. lucidum and is usually 15 to 18 ft. (4.5 to 5.5 m) with an equal spread (can grow to 20 ft.). L. lucidum can grow 25 ft. (8 m) to 40 ft. (14 m) in height with a 25 ft. (8 m) to 35 ft. (12 m) spread.

L. japonicum usually has small clusters of tightly bunched fruit with L. lucidum having prominent, loose clusters of fruit.

Neutral nifty413 On Nov 20, 2007, nifty413 from Garland, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

There seems to be confusion as to this plant's true identity here. Unfortunately, the moniker "Japanese Ligustrum" has been used for Ligustrum lucidum in many areas, and several of the photos here show that species instead of Ligustrum japonicum (more frequently referred to in my area as "Waxleaf Ligustrum" -- a reversal of the two species' literal meanings).

Neutral frostweed On Dec 20, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Japanese Privet, Waxleaf Privet Ligustrum japonicum is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Negative GreenEyedGuru On Feb 19, 2006, GreenEyedGuru from SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant is very prolific in northern California. I constantly have strong-rooted volunteers popping up in my yard. Their favorite place to sprout seems to be right near the trunks of other valuable trees, making it hard to dig them out. 'Invasive' is too strong a term, but they are definitely annoying.

Negative RobD_SC On Nov 21, 2005, RobD_SC from Columbia, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Like Ligustrum sinensis, this is an exotic invasive species. Wildlife disperse the seeds from its abundant drupes, which then sprout and grow with amazing vigor in Southern woodlands. They compete with native understory plants and even suppress native hardwood regeneration. Like kudzu, it is extremely difficult to remove once it has established itself. We would be better off if Ligustrum had never been imported to N America.

Positive MARTYV On Jul 1, 2004, MARTYV from Wilmington, NC wrote:

My first experience was very good, but I'm not sure if I got lucky in my method of cutting and planting. I cut a small (6inch) stem, removed all but three small leaves, cut it on an angle wet it covered with Rootone, shook off excess then placed it into a mixture of sand and peat moss. These were in a cold frame, and not opened for about 5-6 mo's. Approximately 90% made it, have since placed into 1 gal. containers for about another 4 months. All have made it into 18 inch plants.

Positive nipajo On Nov 16, 2003, nipajo from Dallas, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

In my area which is Dallas, Tx., it grows like a weed. The only kind I have ever planted is the varigated. However if you prune that it goes solid green. They love the fence line and will grow in between it. We have the small leaf and the large. I prefer to shape them into trees, the blooms are beautiful and the berries give color to a bland landscape in the winter.

Neutral dogbane On Nov 11, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

A very popular and dependable shrub or small tree in the lower South. Flowers are very fragrant, but some people are allergic. Good for urban landscapes and for topiaries. Excellant screen, but be prepared to do lots of clipping for a formal hedge. Variegated forms available in yellow and white.

Positive Monocromatico On Jun 6, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

When planting a few of them, you can sense a sweet smell when they all start blooming at the same time. Its a great sensation I have everyday in my way to work.

Positive Wingnut On Aug 31, 2002, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Wonderfully tough plant that grows fast and tolerates many moisture conditions including lack of. Makes a great hedge or small tree for the landscape. If pruned right, it'll form a vase-shaped small tree. Or, if cut completely off about three feet from the grond to rejuvenate it every few years, it will make a beautiful round huge bush/small tree like the one in the first pic on this page.

One drawback is limbs die off in older ones, so you'll need to prune them out quite often.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 28, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Needs well-drained soil and prefers regular watering. Grows fast. Leaves are glossy and leathery.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Canoga Park, California
Corning, California
Oakley, California
San Diego, California
Wilmington, Delaware
Bartow, Florida
Boynton Beach, Florida
Hobe Sound, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Riverview, Florida
Venice, Florida
Clarkston, Georgia
Eatonton, Georgia
Covington, Louisiana
Independence, Louisiana
Marrero, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Springfield, Louisiana
Las Vegas, Nevada
Fuquay Varina, North Carolina
Oxford, North Carolina
Statesville, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
Ashland, Oregon
Grants Pass, Oregon
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Alice, Texas
Andrews, Texas
Austin, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Copperas Cove, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Friendswood, Texas
Harker Heights, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Spicewood, Texas
The Colony, Texas

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