A home-and-garden store in my area was selling several plants at a steep discount. Although many of them were familiar to me, there were several others i had never seen before. One plant, labeled as “curly-leaf ligustrum” looked particularly appealing. I decided to grab five of these pretty evergreen shrubs for my own lawn.
As it turns out, I was more familiar with curly leaf ligustrum than I had thought– it is actually a vareity of the plant more commonly known as Japanese privet. Curly leaf ligustrum is a dwarf variety of the plant, which grows as a shrub or small tree in warm, temperate climates throughtout the world. Here is some basic curly leaf ligustrum information.
Curly-leaf ligustrum is smaller than standard varieties of Japanese privet, reaching a total adult height of about 6 feet. It is an evergreen tree with opposite leaves that curl inward. The tree itself can vary tremendousl yin shape depending on how it is pruned or trained. When left alone, it may form a pear-like shape.
Flowers and Fruit
Curly leaf ligustrum produces small white flowers that appear in clusters or panicles about 5 inches long. The flowers have a strong odor that some people find unpleasant, and they put out a fairly large quantitiy of pollen. After the blossoms die, they are replaced with green berries that turn black as the weather cools down. These berries are not edible to humans.
As a variety of Japanese privet, the curly-leaf ligustrum shrub is ultimately native to Japan and other regions of eastern Asia. It is grown ornamentally in regions througout the world, and it has become naturalized in areas with mild winters. In the Southeast, curly-leaf ligustrum can become naturalized to wild forests.
Curly-leaf ligustrum is strong and hardy. It can grow in full sun or in aprtial shade and can tolerate a wide variety of soil conditions, including loamy, clay or sandy soil. Curly-leaf ligustrum plants should be spaced at least five feet apart. Note that curly-leaf ligustrum can not tolerate long or cold winters; plant it only if you live in a warm area. Keep curly-leaf ligustrum in well-drained soil. It needs little added water after it is established.
Curly leaf ligustrum is not generally an invasive species, but shy away from its close relatives, such as glossy ligustrum. These can spread beyond the area in which they are planted, displacing native species and causing ecological imbalance. Consult your local forestry service for information about how to prevent invasive species from taking root in your area.
Floridata offers complete information about Japanese privet.