Hedge myrtle - the popular boxwood substitute
The hedge myrtle is becoming increasingly popular as a hedge plant. It is also known as honeysuckle. The botanical name is lonicera nitida. The reason for its growing popularity is that it is often used as a boxwood substitute. The honeysuckle, which originates from western China, is evergreen. It is a low-maintenance plant that can be used on its own as a hedge, but can also be used between other shrubs. Lonicera is ideal for compacting a hedge that has become sparse.
Lonicera nitida ideal for a small hedge
For many years boxwood was used as a hedge plant. In recent years, however, the boxwood fungus has become widespread and has destroyed many a boxwood. The box tree borer and other diseases are also causing problems for the once popular hedge plant. As a substitute, especially for small hedges, the hedge myrtle, botanically, Loniocera, has emerged. Both Lonicera nitida May green and Lonicera nitida Elegant can be found in more and more gardens in place of the once popular boxwood. The hedge myrtle May green is particularly popular for a small hedge.
Properties of the Lonicera
The hedge myrtle is a very branched shrub with dense foliage. The individual main branches stand horizontally and are up to 150 centimetres long. This is also the height that most species of hedge myrtle normally reach. The fact that the Lonicera is strongly branched and bears a lot of foliage makes it so popular for use as a hedge plant. Due to the rich branching, the hedge is quickly opaque and the garden is difficult to see from outside. This is usually one of the main reasons for planting a hedge in the first place.
Leaves, flowers and fruits of the hedge myrtle
The leaves of the hedge myrtle look leathery and are monotonous in various forms, depending on the individual cultivar. The leaves are 0.6 to 1.2 centimetres long. The upper side of the leaves is dark green and glossy, the lower side of the individual leaves is lighter, as with the hedge myrtle Elegant. The hedge myrtle May Green, on the other hand, has lighter leaves, in keeping with its name. The flowers are about the same size as the leaves, but they do not stand out in the dense foliage. The flowers are slightly fragrant and white. They can be found on the Lonicera from May to June. The flowers give rise to the fruits, which are about six millimetres in size. They are round and have a purple-purple colouring. But they are hardly visible in the dense foliage and are somewhat inconspicuous. However, birds like to eat these berries.
The right location and soil for honeysuckle
You should plant the honeysuckle in a sunny to semi-shady spot in your garden. The soil should not be too dry. Sandy soils that are well-drained are preferred by the Lonicera. The honeysuckle grows particularly well if the soil is also slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. We supply the individual Lonicera and the Ilex crenata in pots. Therefore, the shrub can be planted all year round. Another point in favour of the hedge myrtles: they are easy to care for and can withstand heavy frost. So you don't have to do anything when the cold temperatures approach. You can - if you wish - cut back the hedge myrtle in early spring or trim your small hedges into shape. The hedge myrtle tolerates even severe pruning well.