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Waxleaf Privet Bonsai Care Guide

November 23, 2017

Waxleaf Privet - Ligustrum Japonicum



Style the tree in early Spring, before it starts growing. Normal maintenance pruning can be done anywhere in the growth season. ​Trim to shape through the growing season; remove overlarge leaves and shoots with overlong inter-nodes. Heavy pruning should be done during the late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Pruning will heal faster if done in the Spring or Summer. 


Waxleaf privets can withstand full sun to partial shade. 


Waxleaf privets are hardy down to 20° F and can easily be protected in our High Desert nights. 



When new growth appears in the Spring it’s time to start feeding your bonsai. Use an organic liquid fertilizer or a chemical fertilizer diluted to one half strength. Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season and once a month in the winter.


 Wiring can be carried out anytime, though Spring - Summer is best.


Give it enough water to keep it from drying out and remaining dry. A Ligustrum will tolerate over watering well and will wilt if it gets too dry for too long.


You should repot your Ligustrum annually in the spring (as new buds extend) using a basic soil mix. After repotting, water thoroughly and place Ligustrum in a shady location for several weeks so new roots can grow.


The usual minor stuff can bother a Ligustrum, like Aphids, leaf spot, scale insects, spider mites, whiteflies and root rot. These can be attacked with the use of insecticides and fungicides in the form of sprays, soapy rinses, or systemic poisons. Use standard insecticides at half the dilution rate.

Spraying your Bonsai once every month or two with a non-toxic insect spray is recommended. Soaps should be rinsed of the next day. DO NOT SPRAY WHEN SOIL IS DRY.


Aphids are soft-bodied insects with pear shaped bodies. They cluster on buds, leaves and tips of shoots. Aphids feed on plant juices causing poor plant growth and distorted leaves. Most products used for aphid control work as contact insecticides. The aphids must be hit directly with spray droplets so they can be absorbed into the insect's body. Insecticidal soaps work well against aphids.

Mites also like to infest the Ligustrum. Identified by small moving pinpoints of red or brown on branch tips, severe infestations leave “spider webs” on branch tips and yellow leaves all over the tree. 

Whiteflies resemble bits of ash and suck juices from leaves. Infested leaves turn yellow, die or drop off and are covered with a sticky substance.


Use cuttings during the summer or plant seeds.

Additional Comments:

Really adaptable to varied conditions. Great for beginners.


To learn about specific species and their care head to my Bonsai Information page




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