The ligustrum family of plants, sometimes referred to as the privet, is a rapid growing evergreen shrub. Several varieties exist within the ligustrum family. The sizes of the shrubs vary depending on the species, although all grow quickly. Gardeners use the ligustrum shrubs as hedges or as ornamental plantings.
The growth rates vary depending on the species within the ligustrum family. However, the common privet (Ligustrum vulgare) grows about 18 inches per year and is representative of the ligustrum family. That growth rate occurs under ideal growing conditions.
The common privet matures to about 15 feet over the course of about 10 years. The glossy privet can grow as tall as 40 feet. The glossy privet is more commonly grown as an ornamental tree, while the common privet is often used as a hedge or border planting. Maximum mature size is reached only under ideal conditions.
The ligustrum family of trees and shrubs thrives in full sun although it will tolerate some shade. The plant requires adequate water and is not considered drought tolerant in most conditions. The tree does well under hot conditions and is hardy to about zero degrees Fahrenheit on the other end of the temperature spectrum.
The ligustrum plant can be pruned to a shrub or hedge shape or, by clipping low branches, shaped to a tree form. The plant has an attractive grey trunk with green leaves. The plants produce small white flowers in clusters that develop into small fruits that are dark blue to black and poisonous.