Garden Plants, How and where to grow them - Shrubs & Hedging

Box Honeysuckle, Lonicera nitida - Shrub

Part of the Honeysuckle family, but nothing at all like the fragrant climbers in the group. Lonicera nitida is a bushy, evergreen hardy shrub and excellent hedging plant.

It is sometimes known as "poor man's box" a reference to the fact that while similar to box, it is not so neat and formal, but also considerably faster growing and therefore much cheaper to buy - and also much quicker to establish as a hedge. The ordinary green variety makes a good dense hedge, closer knit and smaller leaved than privet.

There is a yellow-leaved variety called "Baggesen's Gold" that is slower growing and smaller than the green one. Grow "Baggesen's Gold" in full sun for the best colour, it can be used also as a hedging plant, or as a useful addition to a mixed border if left to grow informally, the yellow leaves adding a welcome bright patch.

  •  Height and spread: 3m x 3m (10ft x 10ft), 1.5m x 1.5m (5ft x 5ft) for Baggesen's Gold
  • Position: full sun or partial shade, Baggesen's Gold develops the best colour in full sun
  • Soil: moist, well-drained, generally unfussy
  • Rate of growth: medium growing
  • Hardiness: fully hardy, not suitable for very exposed positions
  • Uses: Hedging / mixed border / topiary / container topiary
  • Planting distance when used for hedging: 30cm, 12"
  • Clipped height: 1-1.5m, 3-5ft
  • Number of times to clip per season and when: 2 - 3 growing season
  • Pruning: Specimen shrubs need minimal pruning. Will grow again from brown wood, so can be cut back to 15cm, 6" more than final required size in spring (preferably or at any time in growing season)
  • Responds to renovation?: Yes- complete renovation can be achieved by cutting the whole plant to within 15cm, 6" of the ground.

Photo credits: (numbering left to right top to bottom) 1-I Sacek senior - Creative Commons Attribution 1.0 license. universal / 2-Lonicera nitida Public domain / 3-User SB Johnny - Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. / 4-User SB Johnny2 - Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.


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