Lonicera Pileata: A Unique and Versatile Shrub
The lonicera pileata is becoming a popular alternative to the more traditional shrub varieties. This specie’s dense growth style makes it a perfect option for those who are seeking a wall-like hedge as well as individuals who like the idea of being able to sculpt their shrubs. The lonicera pileata shrub is versatile, easy to grow, and requires about the same amount of maintenance as other similar shrubs. If you think that this species may be a good addition to your yard then look below for more information about this species and how it can be properly gown and maintained.
About Lonicera Pileata
Lonicera pileata goes by a few different names, but the most common nickname floating around gardening communities is ‘box-leaf honeysuckle.’ As far as looks are concerned, the lonicera pileata looks a lot like most other privacy and “box” shrubs, but this plant is definitely a species of honeysuckle! The box-leaf honeysuckle has a very tight and dense growth habit thanks to the many tiny glossy leaves adorning each long, spindly branch of this shrub. In fact, the bright green leaves are so small that they cluster together to form a solid-looking mass, especially when this shrub is groomed or shaped. Without pruning with hedge clippers you might find this species to have a naturally disheveled appearance.
The branches are uniquely colored—a reddish-purple tint that creates a vein-like thread of color in the hedge after a fresh clipping. The leaves are pointed and oval-shaped with bright green color and stiff, glossy texture. This species grows quickly which some gardeners find to be a bittersweet trait; on one hand, a slip-up with the pruning shears can soon be fixed with new growth, but on the other hand this means more trips out to the garden to trim the hedge. Don’t let this characteristic put you off, though, as the honeysuckle flowers that bloom in the spring will definitely be worthwhile! After the bloom season this species of shrub will produce little purple orbs—berries—that add a wonderful splash of color in the summer.
Climate and Location
Regardless of the type of shrub that you decide to plant in your garden, it is always important to consider whether you live in an appropriate climate for growing your chosen shrub and if you can offer it a suitable location. The lonicera pileata is native to parts of China and therefore is a little more versatile than other shrubs when it comes to climate conditions. This species is most suited to growth in USDA zones five through nine, which covers a large area of the continental United States. If you aren’t sure what USDA zone you live in then simply do an internet search for USDA plant hardiness. All you need is your zip code in order to find out what zone you fall into. You can also use the color-coded map to learn which zone your area is in.
The lonicera pileata would be best suited to a location that has exposure to a decent amount of sunlight. Full sunlight to partial shade would work nicely to ensure that the plant obtains enough sunlight to have a steady growth rate and to produce plenty of leaves and flowers. The ideal location would be one with level ground, as large dips in the ground can allow water to gather around the roots of the shrub. Moist soil is definitely a plus for this shrub, although the soil should not remain wet for long periods of time. It’s also a good idea to consider whether the shrub will be exposed to heavy winds. Bear in mind that while this shrub only grows to be two or three feet tall at maturity, it is very compact which allows little air movement through the branches. Strong winds could not only damage the stems of the plant but could even uproot it!
Tips for Planting
When planting the box-leaf honeysuckle, just make sure that the hole is about twice the size of the root ball. This will ensure that there is plenty of semi-loosened soil for the young shrub’s roots to branch out and settle. Be sure to pack the soil in tightly around the roots to prevent the shrub from falling over. If you have trouble deciding how deep to sink the roots into the ground then you can use the “soil line” on the main stem as a guide. This is a dark mark left on the stem by the soil in which the shrub was previously planted and is a great indicator as to how much of the plant should actually go into the ground. Water the ground very well after planting the shrub and check back every week or so to make sure that the soil has not completely dried out.
This shrub will require pruning in order to maintain a tidy and full appearance; however only basic skills in hedge trimming are needed. A simple box cut will suit this plant nicely, although if you are looking for a shrub in which to practice topiary sculpting then the box-leaf honeysuckle is definitely a great option!