This unusual, autumn flowering shrub used to be known as Eupatorium ligustrinum and for once I am happy to see a plant renamed. Eupatorium are known to be a faintly thuggish lot and the idea of one with privet type leaves was not appealing. However Ageratina ligustrina is neither thuggish, nor does it bear anything but a passing resemblance to a privet.
Above shiny, neat, slightly pointy leaves, the flat heads of tiny, white flowers cover this dainty evergreen shrub from September through October and on sunny days butterflies and bees will descend en masse to enjoy one of their last late season feasts.
A ligustrina originates in Mexico and parts of Central America, and will need a sheltered position to give of its best; south or west facing, and preferably against a wall. However, in a really severe winter it could succumb, especially if the soil is anything less than well drained; but cuttings really are easy so this is always a good insurance. A hard prune in the spring, as for a buddleja, is almost all it will ask of you.
NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 inc P & P and is for sale in our online shop here.
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