Lonicera pileata 'Moss Green'
Common Name: privet honeysuckle
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Yellowish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Drought

Culture

Easily grown in humusy, organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. In hot summer climates, plants typically perform best in part shade to full shade. Plants have drought tolerance in shady areas, but need regular moisture in sunny locations or foliage may burn. Prune as needed immediately after flowering. Although deciduous in the St. Louis area, this shrub will retain some foliage (semi-evergreen to evergreen) in warm winter climates (USDA Zone 8 and above). Easily grown from cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lonicera pileata is a dense, spreading, evergreen to semi-evergreen shrub which is typically grown as a high ground cover rising to 2-3' tall but spreading to 5-8' 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). Ovate, glossy green leaves (to 1 1/4" long). Small fragrant yellowish-white flowers in spring (May). Flowers give way to small translucent purple berries (1/4" wide) which mature in fall. Neither the flowers nor the berries are ornamentally significant.

Genus name honors Adam Lonitzer (1528-1586), German botanist, the author of an herbal (Kreuterbuch) many times reprinted between 1557 and 1783.

Specific epithet from Latin means cap-shaped in reference to the dimple found on each fruit.

'Moss Green' is a more compact cultivar that typically grows to only 1-2' tall with bright green leaves.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew and leaf spots may occur, particularly in hot and humid summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Watch for aphids.

Garden Uses

Best as a shrubby ground cover or underplanting for shady areas. Woodland gardens. Slopes or banks.