The genus Ligustrum is represented by deciduous, evergreen and semi-evergreen shrubs as well as small trees and is directly related to the olive family. Such a genus unites more than 50 species of different plants. Under natural conditions they can be found in Asia, North Africa, Europe as well as in Australia. A great number of different species of turquoise can be found in nature in Japan, Taiwan, China and the Himalayas. The name turquoise comes from the Latin word "ligare", which translates as "to bind".
The reason is that its bark has astringent properties. The turquoise shrub is very similar to the lilac, as it is its close relative. The leaves and bark of these two plants are very similar, but the lilac is somewhat larger than the turquoise and its flowering is more lush and spectacular. If this shrub is not taken care of, it will take on an extremely unattractive and untidy appearance. However, if pruned, it will instantly transform and can be given various attractive shapes.
The shrub reaches up to 200 centimeters tall and about 100 centimeters wide. Turpentine is also found as small trees, which have a spreading crown and are about 6 meters tall. The leathery, full-edged leaves have an elongate ovate shape and are arranged in a suprotective manner. They are dark green on the front side and pale green on the back. The white, fragrant little flowers are almost sessile.
They are gathered in apical loose inflorescences that have a panicle shape. They vary in length from 6 to 18 centimeters. Flowering lasts for 3 months and begins in June or July. The fruits are berry-like, small roundish bones colored black or navy blue. Each fruit contains 1 to 4 seeds.
Privet is a fast growing plant. In the middle belt most often cultivate privet, because this species is the most winter-hardy. Below will be described how to plant, care for and propagate this type of privet. Most often such a shrub is used to form a hedge, but it also grows as a single plant and in small groups. Increasingly popular are turquoise bonsai.
What time to plant
Since this shrub prefers to grow in undergrowth in natural conditions, it can be shaded in the garden. It is also drought- and gas-tolerant and does not need any special soil. However, it is not recommended to grow turmeric on dry, acidic sandy soils. But if you want your shrub to be as ornamental as possible, it will need to provide the most favorable conditions. So, it is recommended to plant it in a well-lit place, with no less than 0.
7-1 meter from buildings or trees. The soil must be well drained, moderately moist, rich in nutrients. It should also be slightly alkaline or neutral. The soil should consist of humus, turf and sand (2:3:1). Transplanting of such a plant can be performed during the entire growing season.
However, the best way this procedure it endures in the spring time, and it is necessary to have time before the buds open. But some gardeners prefer to have this procedure done in September or October.
How to plant privet
Before planting privet, you should dig out the ground. Then a planting hole should be made with a width of 65 centimeters. The depth of such a hole should be 30 centimeters greater than the size of the bush root system.
Then it is necessary to pour water into the hole and wait until it is completely absorbed into the soil. On the bottom of the hole should be poured crushed stone, with the thickness of the layer should be equal to 10-20 centimeters. In a not very large amount of earth mixture (the composition described above) you need to pour 130 grams of nitroammofoska. Then, it is poured into the planting hole by a mound, on which the seedling is placed. His roots are straightened, and the hole is filled with earth mixture (without fertilizer).
For 4 weeks you should make sure that the planting circle does not dry out. Then its surface will need to be covered with a layer of mulch (peat), the thickness of which should be 5-8 cm.
If this shrub is planted to create a hedge, a trench should be made for this purpose with a depth of 60 centimeters and a width of 50 centimeters. When planting between plants, it is necessary to maintain a distance of 30-40 centimeters. Planting should be the same as for single planting.
The trench should be filled with soil mixture, which should be compacted. Then water the plants well under their roots.
Taking care of privet
Taking care of privet is very simple. It should be watered in time, trimmed, topsoil loosened and weeds removed. In order to reduce the number of watering and weeding, you can cover the root zone with a layer of mulch.
However, you should only mulch the soil after it has warmed up sufficiently. Watering should only be done during a long dry period. If the summer period is moderate, the plants will have enough precipitation in the form of rain. Keep in mind that watering should be infrequent, but quite abundant, because the soil needs to soak to a depth of about half a meter. So, for one bush, 3-4 buckets of water should go.
During the vegetation period it will be necessary to water on average 3 or 4 times.
In spring time it is recommended to feed the plants with organic fertilizers, for this purpose 1 bucket of compost or humus should be put under each bush. If it is a hedge, the organic fertilizer is distributed along the bushes, then on top of it scatter granulated superphosphate (per 1 m 2 10 grams of substance). After that, the fertilizer should be put into the soil to a shallow depth and then watered.
Turquoise is a plant that needs regular formative pruning.
Since such a shrub is fast-growing, it will quickly cover up any mistakes that have been made in pruning. Start pruning almost as soon as the plant is planted in the ground. When the acclimatized seedling begins to grow, it will be necessary to slightly shorten the tops of the shoots. This will make it more bushy. Once the stems have grown 10-15 centimetres, they will need to be shortened again.
This procedure should be performed regularly during the first two years of life of turquoise, as a result, the bush will become dense and lush. After the specimen grows green mass, it will be possible to make a formative pruning. Currently, an increasing number of gardeners prefer to cut this shrub in the form of dense pillows (karikomi). This type of pruning is native to Japan.
In European countries where the climate is mild enough, turquoise in a hedge can reach a height of 200 centimeters.
However, in middle latitudes such tall bushes may be damaged by frosts. Therefore in such areas the optimal height of privet is about half a meter. To avoid frost damage during the winter, bushes are covered with a layer of snow. The hedge is cut in May and then in August. Sanitary pruning should be carried out early in the spring, with the removal of injured, frosted, dried out and diseased branches.
And those branches that remain should be shortened by 1/3 (if necessary).
Birchberry care. Pruning and shaping turquoise.
Care in autumn
Middle latitudes grow common turquoise most often, as this species is frost resistant. The plant can withstand frost of up to minus 30 degrees, but only if it is short-lived.
In the event that the shrub is covered with a layer of snow, it will be able to withstand a drop in temperature to minus 40 degrees. The tips of the stems injured in the winter cold are quickly enough restored in the spring time. This type of turquoise should not be covered for the winter. Other species need to cover their root zone with a layer of mulch and bend the bush to the ground and fix it in this position for the winter. The plant should be covered with lapnuts.
Diseases and pests
Birchberry is highly resistant to various types of diseases. However, if it will grow in a soil with high acidity, it may develop powdery mildew or spotting. In this regard, it is necessary to monitor the acidity of the soil. It is very important to add a deoxidizer (dolomite flour, crushed lime or lime flakes) in a timely manner.
Spider mites, thrips, worms, aphids and scales may settle on this shrub.
They can be eliminated with Aktellik or Fitoverm, and 1 to 4 treatments may be required half a month apart. But if you give the plant proper care and optimum growing conditions, the pests are unlikely to settle on the shrub.
Birchberry can be reproduced by seeds, clippings, cuttings, shoots or root clippings.
Birchberry growing from seed
Birchberry growing from seed is a very long and laborious process. The more so because the germination of seeds is not high (about 65 percent).
Birchberry begins to give fruits only after it will be 6 years old. Thus, this plant is grown only in industrial conditions, in connection with this in the autumn time it is better not to collect seeds, because there are ways that allow reproducing turquoise much easier and faster.
If you still decided to grow this bush from seeds, they should be selected from mature fruits, and the largest should be left. Then they are placed in a container full of water. After some time, some of the seeds will remain on the surface of the liquid, they can be collected and thrown away.
Another part of the seeds will drown, it is they need to undergo further stratification. To do this, they are sown in October in the open soil, in the winter they will undergo natural stratification. The first seedlings can be seen after 1 year. However, if you decided to sow in spring time, the seeds should be poured into a box filled with sand and peat and kept in a place where the temperature is almost 0 degrees until spring.
Raising turmeric with cuttings
Cuttings are best chosen from summer, as their rooting percentage is 90-100%.
Cuttings should be made when flowering is almost over, and the most mature and developed shoots should be selected. Cuttings should reach 10-12 centimeters in length. Cuttings are planted in turf soil, the surface of which should be covered with a layer of washed coarse sand. Plant them at an angle of 45 degrees, while deepening in the substrate by 5 centimeters. The fastest cuttings rooted at a temperature of 20 to 25 degrees, and the humidity needs to be constant.
To ensure optimal conditions for the cuttings, each of them should be put on a half-liter plastic bottle, in which you need to cut the neck and make a few holes in the bottom. The first roots will grow in half a month, and after 3 months the plants will already have a well-developed root system. After full rooting, the cuttings will need to grow for about a year, and if necessary, they are transplanted to larger containers. Planting in open soil can be done only after the height of cuttings will be 50-60 centimeters.
Birchbark multiplication by grafts
In the spring time, you will need to choose a strong branch growing close to the ground.
It should be bent to the surface of the ground and fixed in that position by first making a not very large shallow incision on the lower surface of the part of the branch that will be submerged in the soil. Then part of the branch, bent to the ground, should be filled with soil, on top of which is placed sphagnum. It is important to make sure that the moss is moist all the time. Remember that the top of the branch does not need to be buried. If the offshoot is successfully rooted, it will start to grow.
You will not remove the branch and plant it again until the following spring.
You can also remove the branch without burying it. To do this, take a sewing needle and use it to make a few scratches on the surface of the twig. Then in a bag of polyethylene you need to pour moistened soil. After that, it should be fixed on the branch so that part of the branch with scratches is in the soil.
Then hermetically seal the bag, using scotch tape for this purpose. This method allows you to get several offshoots from one bush at once. Once the bag is filled with roots, the shoots should be carefully sawed off. Then carefully remove the bag and plant the brood in open soil.
Main species and varieties with photos and names
The following are the species and varieties that are most popular with gardeners.
Birchberry (Ligustrum vulgare)
In natural conditions this species can be found in the southwestern and southern regions of Ukraine, the Caucasus, northern Moldova and Africa, in Middle and Southern Europe and in Asia Minor. At the same time, these shrubs prefer to grow in oak undergrowth. This deciduous branched shrub grows well in the shade, and it can reach a height of about 5 meters. The skin plates are oblong-ovate or lanceolate with a light green underside and a dark green underside. White, fragrant little flowers are part of the standing panicles, which can be up to 6 centimeters long.
Flowering can begin from June to mid-July and lasts 20 days. The black fruits do not fall off until January. This species is the most winter-hardy, so it is widely cultivated in the middle belt. In addition to the original species, ten more of its ornamental forms are cultivated: pyramidal, weeping, evergreen, bluish, bluish-white-caymose, golden, yellowish, golden-fingered, silver-fingered, barren and yellow-flowered.
The most popular varieties are:
This semi-evergreen plant reaches about 100 centimeters in height. This slow-growing, non-flowering plant has golden leaves. If the winter is not frosty, some of the leaves remain on the bush until spring.
- Vicarius. This semi-evergreen plant can reach 100 centimeters in height.
It has a dense crown consisting of broad-oval leaflets of yellow-golden color, and in autumn they turn a bronze-purple hue. Their length does not exceed 6 centimeters. Flowering is observed in the middle of the summer period. The florets are small white fragrant flowers. For wintering, the shrub should be covered.
- Aureo variegatum. This non-flowering plant is about 1 meter tall. It has mottled plates of golden coloration. The crown is about 1.2 meters in diameter.
Birchberry (Ligustrum lucidum)
In natural conditions, it occurs in China, Japan and Korea. It is a large evergreen shrub or compact tree. Its dark green leaves have an oblong, ovate shape with a glossy underside and are up to 15 centimeters long. The fragrant paniculate inflorescences are about 18 centimeters long and consist of small white florets. Flowering lasts for 3 months.
This species withstands temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees Celsius, which means it needs to be covered to survive the winter. Ornamental forms: golden-bordered, golden-colored, tricolor.
Japanese privet (Ligustrum japonicum)
In natural conditions can be found in Japan and South Korea. It bears many resemblances to Ligustrum japonicum, which is why they are often confused. This evergreen plant does not exceed 400cm in height and has a compact crown and small leathery dark green leaves.
The inflorescences are shorter compared to Lamia majorana and the flowering period is shorter and it doesn't grow as fast. However, this species is more resistant to frost and shade-loving. There are 2 ornamental species: mottled and round-leaved.
The plant does not exceed 100 centimeters in height because it always freezes in winter when growing in the middle belt. In the spring time, the shrub recovers.
Flowering is irregular. The fragrance of the narrow florets is not very pleasant.
- Variegatum (mottled). This evergreen shrub can reach several meters in height in areas with mild winters. The green leaf plates have a white-cream border.
- Argentum (Silver). Medium-sized bushes have leaves with a creamy border.
- Aureum (Golden). Leaf plates have a yellow-golden border. Cultivated without shelter in southern areas, often used as a container crop.
Ligustrum ibota (Ligustrum ibota)
In natural conditions, it occurs in Korea, China and Japan. This deciduous shrub can reach 200 centimeters in height. The crown is spreading. The glossy leaf plates are elongated ovoid in shape and are dark green on the front side and grayish on the back. Flowering is irregular and occurs in summertime.
The fragrant white inflorescences are about 7 centimeters long. This species likes warmth and reacts negatively to sudden changes in temperature. It needs to be covered for wintering.
Ligustrum yezoense (Ligustrum yezoense)
It is a winter-hardy species like the common birchberry. Its homeland is Sakhalin.
This shade-loving shrub reaches a height of 150 centimeters. It has small, broad leaf plates.
Birchberry (Ligustrum acutissumumum)
Native of the mountain slopes of southern China. The bush is about 300 centimeters tall. Blooms are abundant, lasting half a month, and begin in the first days of July.
Fruits are fully ripe in October. It is not winter-hardy.
Ligustrum compactum (Ligustrum compactum)
This semi-evergreen shrub does not flower. It reaches 400 centimeters in height in natural conditions and 200 centimeters in culture. The crown has a diameter of about 1.
8 meters. Large leaf plates remain on the branches until the next growing season. The winter hardiness is low.
Ligustrum quihoui (Ligustrum quihoui)
In nature, it occurs in the provinces of China: Sichuan, Shanxi, Yunnan. This semi-evergreen shrub is about 200 centimeters tall.
The leaf blades are small and stiff. The flower panicles are about 20 centimeters long and consist of small flowers. Flowering begins at the end of summer. The species is characterized by pubescence on the underside surface of leaf plates and young shoots. Сорта:
Leaflets have a white border.
- Vicarius. The light yellow leafplates turn bronze after frost.