Variegated Chinese Privet Ligustrum lucidum Excelsum superbum
LIGUSTRUM LUCIDUM EXCELSUM SUPERBUM – Variegated Chinese Privet
Variegated Chinese privet is an attractive striking variegated form of the evergreen tree. It is a common site in the South of Europe as a street tree and as such is usually top grafted onto a stem at about 2m (6ft) to make a standard with a bushy top of leaves mottled deep yellow and creamy white.
Where to grow
In this form it is unlikely to get larger than 6m (20ft) tall. It makes an interesting evergreen screening tree. In very cold winters it can lose some of its leaf cover, it will however re-grow in the spring.
Did you know?
Variegation in plants can occur for a number of reasons, but most commonly it is a genetic experiment that occasionally appears in nature. A white variegation is the result of a plant’s inability to produce any pigment in that area. Orange, yellow, and light green leaf colours result from a reduction in the production of the green pigment chlorophyll, unmasking the orange carotenoid and yellow xanthophyll pigments and allowing them to appear. Shades of pink, red, and purple are the result of anthocyanin pigments. If produced in sufficient quantities, they can mask even the green chlorophyll. Interestingly enough, most temperate deciduous trees and shrubs produce these colours by these same mechanisms in the autumn, but variegation only applies to leaves which show these colours throughout their life cycle.
- Mature height
- Small - 5-10 metres
- 5-10 meters
- Round Headed
- Growth rate
- Soil type
- Light sandy
- Sun levels
- Full sun
- Difficulty/hard to grow
- Season of interest
- Green and Yellow (variegated)
- Flower colour
- Flowering month
- Scented Flowers
- Berries/fruit colour
- Needs shelter
- Dislikes cold sites
- Garden Tree
- Small garden Tree
- City/Urban Sites
- Flower Arranging
Pruning Ligustrum Lucidum Excelsum Superbum
Ligustrum Lucidum Excelsum Superbum can be left to as a multi-stemmed shrub or trained with a central leader and clear stem. A multi-stemmed shrub, perhaps forming a hedge, should be pruned annually to encourage bushy growth.
Training as a clear stemmed tree should start with the selection of a leader stem, and then shorten or remove competing leaders. Retain leaves and small shoots whilst the stem is growing as these help strengthen and nourish the plant. Once trained to the height that you want, pinch out the laterals as this will make it bushier. As the head bushes out, the stem can then be cleared of leaves and small shoots.
New shoots can produce plain foliage rather than variegated. It is important to remove these as soon as you spot them; if they are left to grow and then you decide to remove them once established it will dramatically affect the shape.
What time of year should I prune? Prune in spring. Trimming can also be done in summer.
For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.
The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water. It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree. In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.
One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass. When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree. It is vital for 3 years after planting that your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one metre wide completely free of grass. The way to eliminate grass in order of effectiveness is:
- Spray off the grass with a glyphosate based weed killer such as Roundup. Apply each year for the first 3 years. It is best applied when the tree is dormant as it is absorbed through green leaves and kills the plant off at the roots.
- Firmly fit a mulch mat around the base of the tree by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this. This can be done after the initial spraying with glyphosate and should avoid the need for further spraying.
Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem. Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.
If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree. Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm. The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots. Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.
Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.
- 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
- 100/125, 125/150 1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
- 150/175 1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
- 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
- All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.
Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping. These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens. Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.
Protection from Animal Damage
Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees. Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge. Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.