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How can I save my browning potted privet?

Sara_SSara_S Posts: 2
edited 13 January in Problem solving
In the past couple of months a potted privet has partly turned yellow, dropped a lot of leaves and more recently some leaves have turned brown.
Having done some online research (I’m afraid I’m not much of a gardener but hoping to improve) I think perhaps it’s a drainage issue, especially with all the wet weather we’ve had recently. I have now raised the pot higher on some bigger feet since it had only about 1cm clearance previously and some compost had washed down.
Does anyone have any advice about what I should do next? Will the brown/bare parts ever leaf again? Should I prune it?
The pot is in a bright spot in front of a crumbling garden wall that needs to be fixed in coming years which will require uprooting any bedded shrubs. This is a temporary cover-up, hence the pot. 
Any advice greatly appreciated! 


  • B3B3 Posts: 19,966
    Privet will often shed leaves in the winter. I would  prune it down to the third layer of bricks so that it will bush up. Check whether it's ok to do it in the winter. I'm not sure.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,057
    Privet does shed leaves in winter but why not plant it in the soil?  Privet gets big and has extensive roots and will be constrained in that pot; also it will need lots of water in the summer.
    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • Sara_SSara_S Posts: 2
    Thanks Redwing. I am concerned it might be difficult to dig it up again when we need to fix the wall. I don't have any experience of doing this and am concerned the plant may be damaged in the effort so I thought the pot a reasonable short term solution. I do take your point though. 
    I'll try pruning it back as B3 suggests. I've had a look around and advice differs but some say that hard pruning can be done at the end of winter so I'll wait a few more weeks. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 42,380
    It definitely could do with a bigger pot if you're keeping it potted for some reason. Privet can become a tree of large proportions if allowed to grow, so it'll be a bit cramped  in there.
    Terracotta is also porous, so it'll suck up a lot of the available moisture, so a glazed pot or similar would be better, as they need a lot of water,
    I'd also cut it right back to help it a bit, but privet isn't evergreen anyway, which is why so many hedges look like that at this time of year. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 4,941
    I agree, put it in a bigger pot if you're keeping it potted for more than another couple of months. It should green up and start growing around then (depending on your local climate) and it'll appreciate the extra root space.
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