Fragrant bush with white four petal flowers

Asked June 22, 2020, 12:13 PM EDT

Can someone tell me what this bush is? We live in Brighton, MI and I see (and smell) this in several places along my walks in the city. It is usually in the form of a hedge. I have seen it about 4 feet tall and there is one property that has these bushes and they are probably double that height. They smell SO good. I am interested in planting this as a hedge at our home in the Traverse City area in place of cedar bushes that have been destroyed by deer over the last two winters. Once I figure out what it is, I want to make sure that this isn't something that the deer love to eat. Thanks for your help!

Livingston County Michigan

3 Responses

That is species of privet (Ligustrum sp.) Some species can be quite invasive, but there has been a bit of breeding work done to introduce less-invasive cultivars (sometimes difficult to confirm). One of these is the 'Golden Ticket' cultivar, which is seldom bothered by deer.

There are many non-invasive alternatives to privet as well that deer do not regularly feed on. One of my favorites is summersweet (Clethera alnifolia), which also has a great fragrance, as well as bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera).

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Thank you so much for the information. You have been so helpful. If I may ask one more question, we are going to replace cedar bushes when we plant the privet. We are in growing zone 6a. Is there a particular time of you that would be better than another to remove the cedar bushes and plant the privet?

You are welcome! In general, waiting until fall to plant will be ideal. Again, since privet can be invasive I would be mindful about selecting a cultivar that has been bred to be less-invasive/sterile or consider some less invasive alternatives.

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