Privet shrubs are a favorite for hedge plantings and are almost exclusively used to form hedges. Privet hedges tolerate heavy pruning and perform well in urban settings where there is pollution. Privet is a tough plant and will tolerate windy and exposed sites. Privet is suitable for shaded areas but will not do well in heavy, wet soils. There are several species of privet. Some species such as the Amur privet shrubs do well in northern climates (Zones 4-7) and are deciduous but they do hold their leaves into early winter. Chinese privet shrubs do very well in southern climatic zones and they keep their leaves all year around. (Zones 6-9) Privet shrubs bear white flowers in late spring to early summer. Privets will produce berries after they have flowered. The berries are coveted by wildlife.
Pruning a privet hedge is easy. Privet may be pruned at just about any time of the year between late spring and mid-autumn and it can be pruned or sheared 2 or 3 times a year with no harm to the plant. Privet can also be cut back severely and recover quickly. Privet is ideal for topiary. Use an electric shears to create informal or other shapes. Pruning makes privet vigorous and the regrowth is denser after each trimming. Privet will create new growth in former leafless areas when the sun hits it.