Ligustrum lucidum Excelsum Superbum - or Chinese Privet - is an attractive and useful screening tree for small gardens.
Most people know privet as a traditional hedge plant because it is prunes well, but there are varieties that make useful standard trees for small to medium sized gardens. Chinese privet has variegated cream and green leaves and reaches 4-8m in height and spread ultimately. It can be equally effective as single specimen trees or planted together as a 'hedge on legs' which creates a beautiful design along a fence line and is functional in offering screening - it can be pruned like a hedge to keep it to the proportions required.
Ligustrum tolerates most moist to well drained (not waterlogged) soils including chalky, sandy and clay soils, but does best on good loam soils.
Variegated varieties do best in full sun, green leaved Ligustrum japonicum will tolerate some shade. They both have small sprays of white flowers in late summer to autumn if left unpruned.
They tolerate both sheltered and exposed sites but it is 'semi-evergreen' which means in sheltered sites or mild winters leaves stay on the tree but in exposed sites or very cold winters it loses it's leaves until new growth in spring.
When mature it is very attractive stand alone specimen tree.