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Lonicera Nitida | How to Grow Box Honeysuckle Hedging

Lonicera nitida or box honeysuckle is often a popular choice when it comes to hedging plants. This bold, fast-growing evergreen plant produces luscious foliage and trims incredibly easily – making it an excellent choice for an easy-care hedge. 

Hedging is a great landscaping option for gardeners looking to add some extra flair to their garden or add a border around their yard. The trick is, certain hedging varieties can be tricky to maintain.

Our Lonicera nitida growing will give you everything you need to know to cultivate, care for and grow this gorgeous growing hedge. 


Lonicera Nitida How to Grow Box Honeysuckle Hedging

Lonicera Nitida as a Hedging Plant

Lonicera Nitida as a Hedging Plant

When it comes to choosing a hedging plant, you’ll ideally want an evergreen grower with dense, soft foliage. Although there are plenty of evergreen plants, not all of them will work for hedging. 

Hedging plants need to have dense foliage, which creates the ultimate “thick” hedge appeal. More so, you won’t want a plant that grows thick, strong stems – these will be far harder to maintain.

The Lonicera nitida is a fantastic choice as its dense foliage is relatively easy to trim down and maintain your desired hedge shape. 

Lonicera nitida is part of the Caprifoliaceae family, a species commonly used for hedging. Lonicera nitida is a popular variety native to China that grows glossy, dark green foliage and produces small, scented flowers during the spring with small berries thereafter. 

Prized for its speedy, bushy growth, this evergreen plant generally only grows between 1 to 3 metres tall, which is ideal for a hedge plant. 

Other common names for the Lonicera nitida include:

  • Box Honeysuckle
  • Shrubby Honeysuckle
  • Dwarf Honeysuckle
  • Wilson’s Honeysuckle
Lonicera Nitida Types

Lonicera Nitida Types

If you’re getting ready to choose your hedging, it’s a good idea to consider the different varieties of this cultivar. Our recommendations include: 

  • Lonicera Nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’. A smaller growing cultivar known for its neat growth habit. Ideal for colder winter areas. 
  • Lonicera Nitida ‘Elegant’. Best for bushy growth, with hoards of elliptical leaves. It produces cream-coloured flowers and purple-blue berries. 
  • Lonicera Nitida ‘Maigrun’. This cultivar produces the most fragrant flowers of all species and wonderfully fluffy foliage. 

How to Grow Lonicera Nitida

How to Grow Lonicera Nitida

The box honeysuckle is incredibly easy to establish and will grow in most gardening conditions. A large benefit of this cultivar is that it will grow happily in both full-sun or shaded spots. 

Of course, in sunnier conditions, it will be more likely to flower. In shaded spots, less so. Lonicera nitida will grow in most kinds of normal soil, provided the soil is enriched with organic matter, and the soil is well-draining.

If growing in a pot, which is possible, be sure to choose a larger pot with sufficient drainage holes to ensure that the soil does not become waterlogged. 

How to Propagate Lonicera Nitida

Lonicera nitida Propagation can be done from both seed or cutting.

Growing Wilson's Honeysuckle from Seed

Seeds should be sown in autumn and kept in a warm, protected area while establishing before being re-planted. Seeds can be taken directly from the berries. Here is what you will need to do:

  • Remove the berries from a healthy plant and peel away the skin and flesh of the berry. 
  • Clean the seed and place it in a glass of water overnight. 
  • Fill a small pot or seedling tray with a rich, seeding mix. Alternatively, if planting into the ground, enrich the soil with organic matter before sowing seeds.
  • Moisten the soil and sow seeds. If planting into the ground, ensure seeds are sufficiently apart from each other. 
  • Cover with soil and water. 
  • Keep seedlings in a semi-shaded spot.
  • Seeds will germinate throughout the spring. 

Growing Box Honeysuckle from a Cutting

If cuttings are taken during autumn or winter, be sure to keep your cuttings indoors or in a greenhouse to protect them from the cold. Here is what you will need to do: 

  • Remove a semi-hardwood cutting around 2-3 inches in length. Ideally, you’ll want to take more than one cutting to ensure success. 
  • Strip the foliage at the bottom of the cutting. Only keep a few leaves at the top of the cutting and remove the rest. 
  • Fill a small pot with 90% perlite and 10% peat moss. 
  • Simply stick the cutting into the soil, deep enough that the cutting can stand its own. 
  • Keep your cutting in a warm, sunny spot and water well.

How to Plant Lonicera Nitida

How to Plant Lonicera Nitida

Before planting, ensure the soil or pot is enriched with plenty of organic material or compost. This will help to spur lots of bushy growth.

After planting, it’s best to keep your young plants away from any harsh conditions. As such, it’s best to plant in early spring when evening temperatures remain about 59°F or higher. 

To plant, you will need to: 

  • Dig a larger hole and loosen the soil using a spade.
  • If planting as part of a hedge, prepare a trench in which you can equally space out your plants. Consider using a string and running it along the trench to ensure you are planting your sapling in a direct line. 
  • Place your saplings into the hole or trench, and backfill with soil. 
  • Gently pat down the soil to remove any air pockets. 
  • Mulch around the base of the plant as this will deter weeds and protect the roots until they’ve established themselves. 

Lonicera Nitida Care Guide

Lonicera Nitida Care Guide

The care for your box honeysuckle won’t require much more than moderate watering and semi-regular pruning. For this cultivar, excessive watering is not necessary. 

Semi-frequent soaking is ideal, allowing the soil to drain properly in between. If the soil remains too moist, root rot is likely to occur.

Pruning Lonicera nitida will help you to encourage bushy growth and maintain your desired shape. Luckily, the stems are very easy to clip and could even be done with general kitchen scissors.

Still, it is advised to use a sterilized pair of garden shears or a hedge trimmer to ensure a clean cut. To get you ready for this task, check out our review on the best garden shears available online. 

Pruning Lonicera nitida should be done in late winter. Take care to remove any damaged, diseased, dying, weak or broken branches. Cutting back any leggy sparse growth will help to maintain a compact shape.  

Although this species is frost hardy, in regions that experience extreme cold, it may be necessary to overwinter your box honeysuckle.

Consider covering your plant with a bag over the coldest parts of the winter. Any frost damaged shoots should be removed. Lonicera nitida is not known to be susceptible to common pests or diseases.

The only occurrence which is sometimes reported is a fungal infection, often due to overwatering. 

Start Growing Gorgeous Lonicera nitida Today!

Make sure you keep checking your soil moisture and regularly prune to keep that bushy growth in check. Looking for some other hedge plants to add to your garden? Take a look at our beech hedging guide or our fastest growing hedges guide.

If you decide to grow Lonicera nitida, you’ll be guaranteed to have eye-catching hedges that are absolutely easy to maintain. 

About the Author Mabel Vasquez

Mabel has enjoyed a long career as a horticulturist, working in nurseries and greenhouses for many years. Although she loves all plants, Mabel has developed a particular passion over the years for herb gardens and indoor plants. Mabel has since retired from her horticulture career and loves sharing her many years of experience with our audience here at Sumo Gardener.

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