Propagate ligustrum-box leaf privet

Propagate ligustrum

How to propagate ligustrum undulatum- Box leaf privet

This article is a guide on how to propagate ligustrum undulatum- box leaf privet. We use cuttings as our preferred method. The success rate is well over 90% and you can expect garden ready plants in approximately 6 months.

Here in Victoria box leaf privet is a popular choice as a medium to large hedge plant. With a little forward planning you can create as many you like.

Selecting cuttings

The cuttings for this article were taken in late autumn. We find most times of year are fine for taking ligustrum cuttings except for the heat of summer. This is because the roots do take a little while to develop and keeping them moist during the summer months can be problematic.

When taking cuttings always select a healthy plant or plants to harvest the cuttings from. A cutting is a clone of the mother plant.

I usually try to find some nice straight long stems that i can harvest. Then it’s just a matter of cutting them to size. Sometimes it can be difficult to find plants with nice long stems as ligustrum is a hedging plant. It doesn’t matter just take what ever is on offer.

Any part of the stem can be used as a cutting provided it’s not to thick. I try to not go any thicker than 4mm (1/5″). About the diameter of a skewer is my limit. Like i said you can use the whole stem all the way to the tip.

Don’t be tempted to make the cuttings too long. We keep our cuttings approximately 7cm (1 1/2″). Once the roots strike the cutting will grow very fast, but whilst there are no roots the cutting is vulnerable. So whilst the cutting may look small in there beginning it will provide you with a viable plant much faster.

Once the stems are cut to size strip the lower 1/2 of the cutting of leaves. This is where the roots will shoot from. Simply just run your fingers the opposite direction to the leaves up the stem, they pop of very easily.

Ligustrum undulatum- box leaf privet stems

Ligustrum undulatum- box leaf privet stems

Ligustrum undulatum- box leaf privet cutting

Ligustrum undulatum- box leaf privet cutting

Establishing roots

Once you’ve taken all your cuttings they need to be put in something to strike roots. We use a mix of perlite and peat moss, both are excellent at retaining moisture. Both are relatively cheap and readily available.

We fill a seedling tray with a mix that’s 90% perlite and 10% peat moss. Then we water this mix lightly just so that it’s firm to the touch.

Simply plug your cuttings into this mix. You can plug them nice and tight, one seedling tray can easily hold 300 cuttings. If some of the cuttings were from the tip or near the tip you might need to use a skewer or toothpick to create a small hole to insert the cutting in, as these cuttings have a softer stem.

Once all the cuttings are in the perlite peat moss mix they need to be thoroughly watered. It will take between 2-3 months for the roots to develop. During this time it is critical that the cuttings are stored in a sheltered area (out of direct sunlight and protected from the wind).

The perlite and peat moss must be kept moist at all times. This is easy to achieve even in the middle of summer as the perlite and peat moss hold water so well. Usually i recommend not overwatering, but ligustrum are very forgiving and so long was they are not sitting in water the risk of rot is minimal.

If you notice that there are leaves falling off don’t be alarmed! Ligustrum undulatum often drop their leaves but quickly produce new ones.


As mentioned it should take about 2-3 months for the cuttings to strike roots. Once the roots start to emerge out of the bottom of the seedling tray it’s time to pot.

We always pot our cuttings once ready into 50mm (2″) tubes, this saves on room. I would recommend you do the same as no doubt you will be using these plants for a hedge so you would have quite a few to pot.  We can fit 42 pots into one seedling tray.

When potting use a good quality potting mix. Fill the pot 1/4 full, then place the cutting into the middle of the tube and backfill.

Once all the plants have been potted water really really well. Ensure water is running freely out the drain holes. We like to use a seaweed solution to water them in, this really kick starts a healthy root system, and the quicker the root system develops the quicker the plants will grow.

Again the plants should be stored in a sheltered area until they have doubled in size. Then they can be moved into the elements to harden off.

Once the roots are filling the pot and the plants are growing well they can be planted into larger pots or into the garden.

Below is a short video showing the above steps. We hope this has been helpful and you feel ready to propagate your own. If you enjoy our content please subscribe and we will keep adding more and more. 🙂 Happy planting!

Ligustrum undulatum- box leaf privet cuttings ready

Ligustrum undulatum- box leaf privet cuttings ready

Potting ligustrum undulatum- box leaf privet cuttings

Potting ligustrum undulatum- box leaf privet cuttings

Ligustrum undulatum-box leaf privet cuttings

Ligustrum undulatum-box leaf privet cuttings


How to propagate ligustrum undulatum- Box leaf privet video

Propagation Kit

We have also put together a resource page that contains links to the products we use or similar. If you want to check that out click the link.

Ligustrum undulatum- Box leaf privet

Ligustrum undulatum- Box leaf privet Care & Information

Box leaf privet is a hardy evergreen shrub. It has small glossy green leaves. In summer it produces small white flowers.

Ligustrum undulatum is a fantastic hedging plant. It makes a great privacy screen and is fast growing. Also a great choice for topiary either in the garden or large containers.

Prefers moist well draining soil in a sunny or partly shaded area. Responds excellent to prunning. The more often its cut the more dense it becomes.

It’s an incredibly hardy shrub and even plants that have had years of neglect can be cut back hard and will re-shoot.

Don’t confuse ligustrum undulatum with other privet species. Box leaf privet is non-invasive.


Botanical name: Ligustrum undulatum

Common name: Box leaf privet

Family: Oleaceae

Native to: Different species of ligustrum are found in every continent except Antartica.

Flowers: summer

Position: Full sun/Part shade

Height: 2m

Width: 1.5m

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the growth rate of Ligustrum undulatum- Box leaf privet?

Box leaf privet is a very fast growing shrub. It will grow continuously apart from during the winter months. When planting I expect a 30cm (12″) plant to reach 1m (3’3″) in 12 months. So it can triple its size in a year.

How tall will box leaf privet grow?

If left un-kept and as a single plant ligustrum undulatum will exceed 3m (10′) tall. However as it’s a hedging plant it’s most often kept at a height of 1.5-2m (5′-7′).

How far apart should i space the plants in my ligustrum undulatum- box leaf privet hedge?

This varies, If your after a hedge thats is about 2m (7′) tall I would plant them 3 plants every metre or 1 plant every foot. If I were creating a hedge with a goal height of 1m (3’3″) I would plant about 5 per metre or 1 every 7-8 inches.


Hi I'm Kev. I'm mainly focused on propagation, running the nursery day to day, water gardening and staying active.

Recent Posts