The evergreen honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida) develops into a richly branched bush that is almost overloaded with small leaves. Where this plant thrives, lush greenery is guaranteed from January to December. It leads a hedge existence, conquers embankments across the board, frames colorful flowers or can be shaped into an eye-catcher with scissors. The hedge myrtle is also easy to care for, there is little left to do.


  • Botanical name is Lonicera nitida
  • belongs to the honeysuckle family
  • grows upright, compact and bushy, mostly under 1 m
  • forms numerous small leaves, is evergreen
  • white flowers in May and June
  • the berries are slightly poisonous
  • prefers sunny to semi-shady places
  • thrives on moderately moist soil
  • pH value may be slightly acidic to slightly alkaline

Popular Varieties

The most popular variety is certainly ‘Maigrün’. It grows compact and densely branched, the leaves are shiny green. Their maximum height is 1 m. Other well-known varieties are:

  • Baggesen’s Gold
  • Elegant‘
  • Hohenheim foundling
  • Lemon Queen
  • Lemon Beauty
  • Red Tip


Lonicera nitida produces numerous small flowers every year:

  • flowers mainly in May
  • Blossoms can also be admired in June
  • they are about 0.6 to 1.2 cm in size
  • cup-shaped and slightly fragrant

However, the eye must be directed to the flowers, because they are not very noticeable in the midst of the green leaves. After the flowering period, fruiting begins, which ends in August with small berries.


Dense growth, evergreen foliage and good pruning tolerance are three excellent characteristics that make the evergreen honeysuckle a versatile tree. Here are five typical ways it can be cultivated as:

  • low, dense hedge
  • beautifully shaped solitaire
  • Pot plant for the terrace
  • Greening of embankments
  • Color contrast between flowering plants



Mild and sheltered locations ensure healthy and lush growth. The evergreen honeysuckle prefers sunny and partially shaded locations. She develops this desire for warmth and light both planted in the garden soil and in a container.

This plant would not wither in a shady location, but it may wilt due to a lack of light.

soil claims

The honeysuckle, as the evergreen honeysuckle is also called, has no excessive demands on the garden soil. She takes almost everything that is offered to her. The soil may be slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. It is only important that it is moderately moist and that the water cannot accumulate. Very heavy soils should therefore be enriched with sand before planting so that they become more permeable. Mixing it with gravel also allows the water to drain off better.

substrate in the bucket

All plants are locked in with their roots in the tub, so the substrate must offer everything the plant needs for growth in a small space. The suitable substrate for the Lonicera nitida is:

  • loose and permeable
  • ideally with a drainage layer of clay or gravel
  • moderately moist
  • slightly acidic to slightly alkaline
  • nutritious


The ideal time for planting an evergreen honeysuckle is in spring and autumn. If you want to plant several honeysuckles close together, you should use the following guidelines:

  • Hedge: approx. 4 to 5 plants per meter.
  • Area greening: approx. 5 to 7 plants per square meter
  1. Place the pot in a bucket of water until the root ball is soaked.
  2. Dig a planting hole twice as deep and wide as the young plant’s root ball.
  3. First add a layer of coarse gravel so that the water can seep away better later.
  4. Place the myrtle upright in the planting hole and also fill in the gaps with humus-rich soil.
  5. Water the plant well.
  6. In the beginning, regularly remove weeds from around them so that they do not hinder their growth.
Tip: The first frost is a challenge for the young plant, so you should cover your root area with brushwood in late autumn.

Repot evergreen honeysuckle

The evergreen honeysuckle does not have to and should not be repotted so often because it does not like it. At the beginning of its life you can adjust the pot size more often, later it can stay in the same pot for years.

  • repot in spring
  • Use pot with drainage holes
  • create a drainage layer
  • choose a loose, permeable substrate
  • water well

Since this plant does not have a high nutrient requirement, a one-year fertilization break should be observed after repotting.

watering and fertilizing

Hedge myrtles require regular watering, especially during the main growing season. However, the top layer of soil should be dry before watering again. This plant does not like waterlogging either. If the watering is occasionally forgotten, that’s not a big deal. During long periods of drought, however, it must be supplied with a good supply of water in order not to be weakened.

Do not forget to water the plant modestly even on frost-free days in winter.

The evergreen honeysuckle finds everything it needs in humus-rich soil and does not need to be fertilized. If you want to add nutrients to the plant from time to time, you should proceed modestly.

  • do not fertilize at all in the first year
  • then only supply with compost in the spring
  • Container plants get liquid fertilizer in summer
  • every 4 to 8 weeks

To cut

Lonicera nitida tolerates pruning very well. Its compact growth even allows it to be shaped like a boxwood with scissors. In early summer, shortly after flowering, it usually gets its first cut. But if you want to do something good for the birds, you can do without it and let the fragrant flowers grow into small, purple berries.

The prime time for topiary is the end of winter. Since the plant grows quickly, it can be pruned generously. At least the deadwood should be removed.

  • tolerates radical cuts
  • bold pruning promotes branching
  • cut into the desired shape
  • unusual creations are also allowed
  • work with sharp and clean scissors
Tip: If you want to change the shape of a honeysuckle, you don’t necessarily have to wait until after the end of winter. Artistic topiary cuts are possible all year round.


One plant in the garden is enough to propagate more specimens from it free of charge. Cuttings are cut off from the numerous shoots for propagation. You can also wait for the summer pruning, then there will be plenty of propagation material. Summer is the ideal time to start anyway.

  • use woody shoots
  • Divide into pieces approx. 20 cm long
  • alternatively, cut off approx. 10 cm long head cuttings
  • leave only 3 pairs of leaves per cutting
  • Cut the lower ends at an angle
  • Put the cuttings in the ground with sufficient spacing
  • water regularly
  • replant in the spring if necessary

Alternatively, you can first put the cuttings in small pots with potting soil, which you set up in a conservatory, greenhouse or in a sheltered place outdoors. The young plants should spend the first winter in a roost and be planted out the following year.

diseases and pests

So far, the hedge myrtle has not caused any diseases or pests. This is a good argument for planting them, because a healthy plant saves the gardener a lot of work and money for control measures.

If you decide to propagate the evergreen honeysuckle from cuttings, you may have to defend it from spider mites. In greenhouses and indoors, these pests are often at work and infection cannot be completely avoided. However, they are easy to combat with preparations based on neem oil or with helping predatory mites.


The Lonicera nitida has good winter hardiness, so that it does not mind frosts down to -20°C. He needs neither a winter quarters nor protective measures. Only bucket specimens should be given a protective place on a house wall. Important:

  • water even in winter
  • on frost-free days
Tip: If part of the shoots freezes off, you should simply cut them off in spring. The plant soon sprouts and closes the gap.


Hedge myrtle produces compounds like saponins and alkaloids that are toxic to humans and pets. Nevertheless, the danger is limited:

  • the ingredients are slightly toxic
  • the fruits are tempting
  • they are reminiscent of currants
  • these do not mature after summer pruning
  • otherwise they taste very bitter

In the case of weak poisons, the dose taken is decisive. Since the berries taste so bitter, there is little danger that small children will accidentally eat large quantities. Symptoms of poisoning such as vomiting and fever were only observed after eating at least 5 fruits. From 30 berries, the symptoms increase.

  • nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • sweats, fever
  • Stomach irritation and seizures
Note: Sensitive people also react to contact with skin irritation, so you should wear gloves when cutting.

Lonicera nitida in Bonsai

The good pruning tolerance makes the hedge myrtle a sought-after bonsai tree. This miniature version makes a good houseplant. It can be bought as a bonsai or, with the right knowledge, you can grow it yourself.

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