Many of these plants are Asian privet (Ligustrum species). They are invasive exotic plants that have escaped from gardens and now compete with native plant species. Ligustrums are overused in gardens and commercial landscapes and the flower pollen can aggravate seasonal allergies. Trimmed as hedges, they want to grow bigger, so often have unattractive bare stems at the base. Can you tell, I don’t like this plant? Many of these plants are Asian privet (Ligustrum species). They are invasive exotic plants that have escaped from gardens and now compete with native plant species. Ligustrums are overused in gardens and commercial landscapes and the flower pollen can aggravate seasonal allergies. Trimmed as hedges, they want to grow bigger, so often have unattractive bare stems at the base. Can you tell, I don’t like this plant? Let’s look at some alternative shrubs that stay 4- to 6-feet-tall and can be hedged for your garden. Whorled Class (Viburnum obovatum) is a dense evergreen shrub that also has white blooms and is native to the southeastern U.S. Purple Diamond or other dwarf Loropetalum have burgundy leaves and pink fringy flowers. Barbados cherry (Malpighia glabra) is a south Texas native with pink flowers scented like baby powder, followed by red fruit loved by mockingbirds. Dwarf wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) has lovely bayberry-scented leaves and berries and is also a Texas native. Azaleas (Rhododendron species) come in all shapes and sizes, prefer shady spots, and were fabulous this spring even though many sat underwater following Hurricane Harvey! Boxwood (Buxus species) is another easy evergreen for sunny spots that can be trimmed for a formal look as well as dwarf native yaupon (Ilex vomitoria), which is another great evergreen that supports local wildlife. Nurseries have wonderful varieties, so try something new!

Suzzanne Chapman
Author: Suzzanne ChapmanEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Suzzanne Chapman is the botanical collections curator at Mercer Botanic Gardens and promotes organic gardening, growing native plants, and protecting the environment. Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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