Lonicera pileata, also known as Privet Honeysuckle, is a native evergreen plant of China. If you want a low growing living fence, then the Lonicera pileata may be the right plant for you. It only attains heights of 2 to 3 feet, with a spread of 8 feet. It is a hardy plant in USDA zones 5 through 9. Late in the spring, small white blooms appear and perfume the air.
Finding the Location
The best time to plant the Lonicera pileata is early in the spring or early fall. You’ll want to find an area that has full sun exposure, but it can also grow in locations with partial shade.
Prepare the Planting Area
Prepare the area by removing all the grass and weeds. They will remove moisture and nutrients that your Lonicera pileata needs to grow. You can pull the weeds, or till them into the soil, where they will decompose. No matter if you are planting one tree or many, the width of the area to clear out is 4 to 5 feet in diameter.
Dig the Holes
Dig holes that are twice the diameter of the Lonicera pileata root ball. The depth of the planting hole should be the same as the length of the root ball. If planting more than one hole, leave 6 to 10 feet between each one.
Dig a hole that is twice the diameter of the Lonicera pileata’s container. Keep the depth the same as the root ball. Before you place the root ball into the hole, scuff the sides and bottom of the planting hole. This loosens the soil and allows the roots to penetrate beyond the walls of the hole easier.
Amend the Soil
Fill the planting hole with water. As you wait for the water drains into the soil naturally, prepare the soil you removed from the hole. Amend the soil with 3 inches of well-rotted compost. Compost adds nutrients to the soil and provides better drainage for the water.
When all the water has drained out of the hole, it is time to plant your Lonicera pileata. Remove the root ball out of the container. It usually just pulls out of the container but if you have trouble getting the plant out, turn the pot upside down and bang the rim on the edge of a table top. Make sure there is someone to catch it so it does not fall down on the ground.
Plant the Lonicera pileata
Place the root ball in the center of the hole. Check the top of the root ball. It should be level with the soil.
Fill in the hole with the amended soil. When the hole is half full of soil, firm the soil down around the root ball with your hands. This removes the air pockets in the soil. Fill the hole the rest of the way. Tamp the soil with your feet or use a shovel.
Caring for the Lonicera pileata
Water the Lonicera pileata as soon as it is planted with a water hose. Turn the water on to a slow flow and allow it to run while you plant the next shrub. During the growing season, provide an inch of water every week to your hedge. Omit watering if your area has had ample rainfall.
Add a 2 to 4 inch layer of organic mulch around the Lonicera pileata. Do not place the mulch up against the base of the plants. This makes them more susceptible to disease, rot and bug problems. Keep the mulch at least two inches away from the base of the plant.
“American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants”; Christopher Brickell; 2004