Sunshine ligustrum (Ligustrum sinese), also known as privets or sunshine privets, is a plant that you can often see in ornamental gardens because its bright yellow foliage can add lots of color and contrast to gardens.
This bushy plant is also very handy in landscaping projects because you can use it to create hedges, topiaries, and shaped bushes, use it as a statement plant, or add it to your garden as a background plant or filler plant.
This evergreen shrub can look beautiful all on its own but many gardeners prefer to pair it with other ornamental plants so the vivid yellow foliage can be accentuated.
In this guide, we are going to take a closer look at some of the best sunshine ligustrum companion plants to include for a striking and beautiful garden.
What to Plant with Sunshine Ligustrum
Before you decide on the right plants to grow alongside this colorful foliage, you should first consider its growing conditions.
Only plants that have a similar growing need will be able to grow in the same garden bed or garden pot as the sunshine ligustrum shrubs. Anything that isn’t suited for this type of environment will quickly fade and die or can result in excessive maintenance.
The privet plant is a deciduous plant that grows well in a variety of soil types but it does need well-drained, nourish-rich soil and it requires regular watering. This bushy plant flourishes in full sun and grows well in partial shade.
Now that we know a little bit more about the growing needs of ligustrum sinense sunshine, it is time to take a look at the best companions to grow alongside it.
The hibiscus (Hibiscus) flowering plant is a good companion to consider if you need a plant that can create a plain and dark background so your sunshine ligustrum plants can stand out even more.
Hibiscus produces dark green foliage that will form a striking contrast with the vivid yellow foliage of the sunshine ligustrum.
When this bushy tree flowers during summer, it will produce lots of large and vivid flowers that can also add a lot of contrast and interest to your garden.
These two plants are also an ideal pairing because the sunshine ligustrum will conceal the bare branches of the hibiscus when it sheds its foliage in fall.
Hibiscus plants can grow well in the same garden bed as your golden foliage plants because it requires 6 – 8 hours of direct sun in order to produce flowers. These plants also thrive in moist well-draining soil and they flourish with regular watering.
The darker bushy plant can reach a maximum height of 4 feet tall which is a little bit taller than the sunshine ligustrum. This is why you will need to grow hibiscus in the back and sunshine ligustrum in the front where it can get a little bit more shade.
Dwarf Banana Plant
The banana plant (Musa), or more specifically, the dwarf banana plant (Musa acuminate ‘Dwarf Cavendish’) is an ideal companion to consider if you want to create a tropical garden.
When you pair these two plants with their light-tinted foliage in the same garden bed or in the same pot, you will get a very interesting look with the banana as a shower and the sunshine ligustrum as a filler plant.
These dwarf plant varieties grow well in the same conditions as sunshine ligustrum because they need lots of sunlight and can survive in dappled shade. They also grow well in moist and well-draining soil and require regular watering or they can wilt.
There are lots of different ways to pair banana plants and sunshine ligustrum in the same garden bed. Ideally, you should establish the taller banana variety in the back or with sunshine ligustrums in the front.
The banana plant can also grow well in a garden pot and you can create a very striking ornamental arrangement by growing your dwarf plant in the center with bright yellow foliage all around it.
Carex grass (Carex morrowii ‘Variegata) is a terrific ornamental grass to include if you want to add lots of texture to your garden. These sedges grow well in containers or in the ground and are perfect for creating barriers in front of, or around your sunshine ligustrum.
Unlike your other ornamental plant, this grassy variety prefers full shade or partial shade but it does grow well in most well-draining soil types and it tolerates heat very well. This ornamental plant prefers a dryer climate and can die if it is established in soggy soil. It will, however, grow well in the moist soil that sunshine ligustrum requires.
Because Carex grass prefers shade, you should establish it underneath your sunshine ligustrum plants. If it is exposed to too much sunlight, the grass blades can become dry and yellow but even in this condition, the grassy variety will add lots of aesthetic charm.
The nandina (Nandina domestica) plant, also referred to as nandina heavenly bamboo or sacred bamboo is another good companion to consider for sunshine ligustrum.
The young leaves of this deciduous shrub are light pink and will look rather striking next to the bright yellow foliage of the sunshine ligustrum shrubs. And when these young leaves turn dark green they will create a lot of contrast behind the lighter shrubs.
When the sacred bamboo produces bright red berries, it will give an even more beautiful appearance because the vivid red berries will complement the yellow foliage very well and can create a very appealing overall look.
Heavenly bamboo will grow well in moist well draining soil and it can be established in full sun or partial shade.
Sacred bamboo can grow rather tall with a maximum height of up to 7 feet tall. Because of its height, it is best to grow these shrubs in the background with your sunshine privet plants as a hedge in the front.
Purple daydream (Loropetalum chinense), also known as the Chinese fringe flower, is an ideal plant to add to your garden bed if you want to create a background or foreground that is in stark contrast with your sunshine ligustrum plants.
This bush is the opposite of sunshine privets because it has very dark purple foliage that almost seems black and it produces tiny red flowers that can add lots of interest to your garden.
The darkness of this bush is exactly what makes it stand out so much when paired next to vivid plants such as ligustrums.
Purple daydreams will grow well in full sun to part shade and they need to be established in rich, well-draining soil. This bush will also require regular watering to flourish.
The Chinese fringe flower has a similar height as your privets. This means you can easily pair them in the same garden bed and do a bit of occasional pruning to keep the hedges structured.
What NOT to Plant with Sunshine Ligustrum
Not all plants will look good if they are planted next to sunshine ligustrums and some species won’t survive in the same moist conditions that this plant with its yellow foliage requires.
Here is a quick look at a couple of plants that you should avoid in the same containers or garden bed as sunshine ligustrum.
Other Yellow Foliage Plants
Other plants that also have yellow leaves might grow pretty well alongside your sunshine ligustrums but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good pairing.
When the foliage in your garden bed looks too similar it will be harder to spot the yellow leaves of sunshine ligustrums and the powerful effect they could offer will be lost.
It is best to avoid adding other yellow-toned foliage varieties like golden euonymus, Florida sunshine, or yellow twig dogwood to the same garden bed, or your efforts to create contrast can be wasted.
Low Water Plants
Sunshine ligustrum needs regular watering to stay in good shape. They can survive a little bit of drought but flourish in soil that is kept moist.
Low-water plants that cannot tolerate too much moisture won’t grow well alongside your sunshine shrubs because their root systems can be affected. It is best to avoid growing too many succulents or other plants that thrive in drought-stricken areas like lavender in this type of ornamental garden.
Sunshine ligustrum is a superb ornamental plant to add to your garden and it is especially good to get the sterile cultivar that never blooms or produces fruit because it is ideal for establishing a garden that is suitable for those with allergies.
This showy plant can be paired with a huge variety of other ornamental plants like heavenly bamboo, dwarfed bananas, hibiscus, and carex grass and these combinations are sure to make your beautiful yellow shrubs stand out even more.
We hope that this companion plants for sunshine ligustrum guide made it easier for you to find suitable companion plants to include in your garden. And if you are also planting other plants or flowers in your garden then you should look at our other guides where we talk more about other plant combinations to create a more eye-catching appearance.