Plant of the Month – February, 2013
Dramatic plantings at the Dallas Arboretum feature Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’ in serpentine and knot garden designs. Photos courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum.
Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’
AT A GLANCE
Latin name: Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’
Common name: Privet
Type: Evergreen shrub
Flowers: Supposedly none
Mature size: 4-5’ high, 4-6’ wide (in 10 years), but may be pruned to 1’.
Hardiness: Woody perennial
Soil: Not picky
Exposure: Full sun
Water usage: Low
Sources: Local nurseries and mail order
What’s going on? We’re promoting a privet? Have Jenny and Jimmy finally gone completely mad? We wondered the same thing ourselves, but this new ligustrum has grabbed our attention the last several years. Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’ is a “screamy yellow” miniature privet that grows really well here. In full sun this plant almost glows, thus its name ‘Sunshine’. If planted in shade, it is just a boring pale green.
You can prune this evergreen privet to 1 foot tall (the way we prefer it), or leave it unclipped, and it will make a 3- to 5-foot bullet-shaped shrub. This is a very slow-growing variety, so don’t think it will reach max height in a few years; it will take more like 10. Use ‘Sunshine’ where you would plant boxwood, nandina, barberry, or Indian hawthorn. It’s also perfect for solo or mixed containers. If you have ever wanted a yellow barberry that flourishes, this is the plant for you.
Because ligustrum has a reputation for being an invasive, noxious weed, planting has become limited in North Texas. However, breeders tell us that Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’ is sterile, so we have added it to several beds at the Dallas Arboretum to intertwine in serpentine and knot garden designs. We have seen no signs of flowers or fruit (the reason privets spread so quickly), but we are keeping a very close eye out. Find ‘Sunshine’ at your local retail nursery or online.
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About the author: Jenny Wegley is the senior manager of trials and greenhouse at the Dallas Arboretum. Visit http://www.dallasplanttrials.org for more information on the Arboretum’s trials.