Lonicera nitida 'Twiggy'

Common Name: honeysuckle 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought


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. Plants have some drought tolerance once established. Prune as needed immediately after flowering. Evergreen foliage becomes semi-evergreen to deciduous near the northern edge of its growing range (USDA Zone 7). Easily grown from cuttings. If grown in USDA Zone 6 (St. Louis), it must be sited in a protected location with a good winter mulch.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lonicera nitida, commonly called box honeysuckle or boxleaf honeysuckle, is a dense, spreading, evergreen to semi-evergreen shrub which typically grows to 5-8' tall and to 4-7' wide. It is native to China. Tiny, glossy, ovate dark green leaves (to 1/2" long) are reminiscent of the leaves of some boxwoods. Foliage may take on purple tinting in winter. Fragrant, creamy white flowers (1/4" long) bloom in late spring. Purple black berries (1/4" across) mature in fall. Best asset is attractive dense foliage.

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 shining.

'Baggesen's Gold' is a yellow-leaved cultivar that typically grows to 5' tall and as wide.

'Twiggy' is a compact yellow-leaved sport of 'Baggesen's Gold'. It typically matures over time to only 2-3' tall. This shrub features drooping, twiggy branches clad with tiny, golden yellow, evergreen leaves. White flowers in spring. Purple black berries in fall. Yellow leaves take on bronze tones in winter in areas where plants are evergreen (USDA Zones 8 and 9), but will drop to the ground where deciduous (Zones 6 and 7).


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.


Borders. Hedge. Woodland gardens. Slopes or banks.

Excellent small garden shrub.