Box Leaf Honeysuckle: A High Ground Cover Rising To About 2 Feet

Box Leaf Honeysuckle: A High Ground Cover Rising To About 2 Feet

Box Leaf Honeysuckle

Photo Compliments of Paul

Lonicera pileata or more commonly called box leaf honeysuckle with its evergreen boxwood like foliage and low spreading habit has small, fragrant, funnel shaped creamy white flowers in May, and pretty, violet-blue translucent berries in winter. Neither the flowers nor the berries are ornamentally significant. Box leaf honeysuckle is a dense, spreading, evergreen to semi-evergreen shrub which is typically grown as a high ground cover rising to 2-3 feet tall and spreading to 5-8 feet wide or more on horizontal branches which root at the nodes where they touch the ground. It is native to slopes and open forests in central to southeastern China. Common names include privet honeysuckle (foliage resembles privet) or box leaf honeysuckle (foliage resembles boxwood). Leaves are ovate and glossy (2 to 4 inches long). This box leaf honeysuckle is salt tolerant and does well in seashore plantings. Box leaf honeysuckle also works well as a companion plant for deciduous trees like the native maple, or Acer circinatum.

How To Make Box Leaf Honeysuckle Thrive

Box leaf honeysuckle is a tough evergreen shrub that thrives in humusy, organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils. It will also perform well in sand, or clay with adequate drainage. It can be planted in full sun to dappled shade though box leaf honeysuckle typically performs best in part shade to full shade. You must provide occasional watering during dry weather, although in shade it is drought tolerant. If kept too dry in sun the foliage can burn. It responds well to pruning and can easily be shaped and sheared. Although deciduous where winters can be harsher, this shrub will retain some foliage (semi-evergreen to evergreen) in warm winter climates (USDA Zone 8 and above).

General Box Leaf Honeysuckle Information

Pests and Diseases

There are no serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew and leaf spots may occur, particularly in hot and humid summer climates. Be vigilant for aphids.


Box leaf honeysuckle can easily be grown from cuttings.

Garden Uses

Box leaf honeysuckle is at its best as a shrubby ground cover, or under planting for shady areas, in woodland gardens, on slopes, or banks.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Caprifoliaceae
  • Plant Type: Spreading shrub
  • Foliage Type: Deciduous or broad leaf evergreen depending on climate severity
  • Plant Height: 2 feet
  • Plant Width or Spread: 8 feet
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 5 to 9
  • Flower Color: Cream to white (flowers are not significant)
  • Bloom Time: May to June
  • Light Exposure: Full sun to light, open, or dappled shade
  • Water Requirements: Occasional watering during dry weather
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Tolerates: Deer, drought

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