Lonicera ligustrina var. yunnanensis
Common Name: honeysuckle 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Native Range: China
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 5.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: 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 quality winter mulch.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lonicera ligustrina, 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, hence the common name. 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 may be its attractive dense foliage.

Subsp. yunnanensis means of Yunnan, China in reference to its native habitat. It reportedly grows more upright with increased vigor in comparison to the straight species.

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

Specific epithet means privet-like (Ligustrum).


No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew and leaf spot 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.