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Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera)

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Zones 4-9, 14-24, H1, H2

Lonicera nitida

Box Honeysuckle
Evergreen, Shrubs, Decorative fruit or berries, Flowers


Most honeysuckles are valued for their clustered or paired, often fragrant flowers. Blossoms are tubular in form. Some have two flaring, unequal lips; others are trumpets or straight tubes, sometimes flaring at the mouth into five equal lobes. Flowers attract hummingbirds, and the red or purple berries that follow provide food for many other kinds of birds. Blossoms typically deepen in color after opening, so clusters contain both pale and darker blooms.

Lonicera nitida

Evergreen shrub. Native to southwestern China. Grows to 11 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide. Branches are densely clothed in tiny, egg-shaped, shiny dark green leaves that may turn an attractive bronze to plum color in winter. Late-spring or early-summer flowers are straight tubes—fragrant, creamy white, 1/2 in. long. Translucent blue-purple berries. Grows fast and tends toward untidiness but is easily pruned as a specimen plant or hedge. Tolerates salt spray. ‘Baggesen’s Gold’, to 4–6 ft. tall and wide, has foliage that is golden in sun (though very strong sun may burn leaves), chartreuse in shade. ‘Lemon Beauty’, to 4–6 ft. tall and wide, has dark green leaves edged in shades of lemon and chartreuse. ‘Red Tips’, to 4–6 ft. tall and wide, has deep raspberry red new growth that ages to dark green with red-tinted tips and edges. ‘Silver Beauty’, 3–4 ft. tall and wide (possibly up to 6 ft.), has bright silver leaf margins.

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