The Q&A Archives: Propagating Privet

Question: I need to know how to root a clipping from a privet bush. I'd like to start some now so I can plant them outdoors in the spring.

Answer: There are several ways to propagate Ligustrum (privet). In the fall months you can take hardwood cuttings and root them outdoors, in the open ground. If you have a cold frame or greenhouse, so much the better. But, don't turn your home into a nursery; the plants won't like the change from outdoor conditions to artificial heat and light indoors. To take cuttings, choose a stem that grew last spring and has turned from supple green to mature brown. Each cutting should be 8-10 inches long. Make a straight cut below a bud or leaf joint at the base, and a sloping cut just above a bud at the top. Dip the base of each cutting into rooting hormone and tap off the excess. Then insert each cutting into a prepared bed in a sheltered area of the garden. (Add some sharp sand to the soil to help with drainage and keep the cuttings protected from strong winds and heavy rainfall or ice and snow.) The cuttings shouldn't need any care through the winter and will begin to sprout new leaves in the spring. Wait until early summer to carefully dig and transplant your new privet plants to their permanent locations in the garden.

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