Tips & Tricks

Hedgehog myrtle "May green" - plant, care & multiply

The hedge myrtle is an optimal alternative for the boxwood. It is undemanding, can be easily shaped and impresses with a changeable beauty.

The hedge myrtle (Lonicera nitida) “May green” presents itself to its viewer in an extremely varied manner. Transformed into various sculptures and figures, the plant is an eye-catcher in every garden. The hedge myrtle presents its fresh, may green leaf color all year round. With its white flowers, the hedge myrtle “May green” knows how to set additional accents. If you are looking for an easy-care and uncomplicated hedge plant that you can give your very own appearance through a regular topiary, you will find everything you need to know about the plant, which is also popular as a table decoration for weddings and other festivities.

Plant Description

The Heckemyrte is a representative of the quite extensive family of the Caprifoliaceae. About 180 different species belong to this plant family. Their main distribution area is in the northern hemisphere. As a small shrub, the hedge myrtle is only about one meter high. At particularly favorable locations, heights of up to 1.5 meters were also observed. The hedge myrtle is characterized by its egg-shaped glossy and juicy green leaves. As a hedge plant, the hedge myrtle "May green" scores points due to its robustness, tolerance to cuts and winter hardiness. The plants thrive in practically every location and are hardly affected by diseases.

Hedgehog myrtle "May green" - the flexible garden plant

If you buy a “May green” hedge myrtle, you will acquire a small shrub. As a rule, this already shows numerous fresh shoots and thus indicates its willingness to grow. The small shrubs are preferably planted as hedges. The hedge myrtles are also not unattractive as flowering plants. In the single position, the ground cover can develop particularly well. Once the plant has reached a certain size, you can transform the hedge myrtle into attractive shapes, sculptures or animals. The plant is in no way inferior to the boxwood and is often used as an alternative.

Hedgerow myrtles offer a whole range of different options:

  • ground cover
  • under planting
  • Greening of areas
  • small hedges
  • Topiary cut for a unique position

When does the hedge myrtle “May green” bloom?

As the name suggests, the hedge myrtle blooms in May. If the location is ideal, the flowering period can last until the month of June. The small white flowers are particularly popular for table decorations for weddings or other festive occasions. The plant develops round red berries in late summer. These are not edible, but give the plant additional appeal.

Popular species of hedge myrtle

❍ Evergreen honeysuckle

Hedgehog myrtle 'May green' (Lonicera nitida 'May green')
Growth rate:15 - 25 cm a year
Height:80-100 cm
Spread:80-100 cm
Plant spacing:6 - 9 plants per m² / 3 - 5 plants per meter
Location:Sun to shade
Particularities:very fast growing, attractive evergreen boxwood substitute
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The hedge myrtle belongs to the honeysuckle family and occurs in more than 180 species worldwide. The plants originally come from Asia. The evergreen hedge cherries also include the hedge myrtle “May green” described here.

❍ Tatar honeysuckle

Tatar honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)
Growth rate:30 - 40 cm a year
Height:300 - 400 cm
Spread:300 - 400 cm
> Plant spacing:6 - 3 plants per meter
Location:Sun to partial shade
Particularities:very robust, hardy, insect friendly
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The Tatarian honeysuckle proves to be particularly robust and adaptable. This honeysuckle species can grow to heights of up to four meters. A sunny as well as a shady location is welcome. The pink flowers of the plant are particularly attractive. The deep red berries develop in midsummer. Adult plants also tolerate harsh climates and are well adapted to the urban climate.

Heck Red honeysuckle

Red honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum)
Growth rate:25 - 35 cm a year
Height:200-300 cm
Spread:200-300 cm
> Plant spacing:3 - 4 plants per meter
Location:Sun to shade
Particularities:tolerates heat and drought, hardy
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The red honeysuckle is also an evergreen honeysuckle. The plants tolerate extreme heat and tolerate long periods of drought. In summer, the red honeysuckle is visited by numerous butterflies. The plants grow about three meters high and love calcareous soils.

❍ Alpine honeysuckle

Alpine honeysuckle (Lonicera alpigena)
Growth rate:10 - 15 cm a year
Height:100-200 cm
Spread:60 - 100 cm
Location:Sun to partial shade
Particularities:very rare, hardy
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The Alpine honeysuckle is also known as the red double berry. The shrub is summer green and can grow up to three meters high. The plant is found in the Alps at altitudes of more than 2,000 meters. In Germany there is a natural occurrence of the Alpine honeysuckle along the course of the Danube.

Planting myrtle “May green” - important tips and hints

The variety presented here is probably the most popular hedge myrtle and is therefore preferably planted. This is not only because of the appearance, but also because of the simplicity and the joy of growth of the plant itself.

" Tip: The hedge myrtle is also planted in the bucket, but hardly grows more than half a meter.

Due to its dense growth, the plant can be used very well for the design of a hedge. In order to gain a dense hedge, no less than four plants should be planted per meter.


The location can be chosen practically freely. The hedge myrtle also grows where many plants surrender. If the plants are in the shade, they will grow just as quickly as when choosing a sunny or partially shaded location. It is therefore no problem to plant larger hedges with the plants and to meet different lighting conditions.

" Tip: If a hedge is to be planted, the rather wide growth of the plants must be taken into account when choosing the location.

If you want to green larger areas and see corresponding success quickly, it makes sense to use up to seven plants per square meter. The hedge myrtle is not only attractive as a hedge plant. The plant can also be used as a background plant in the perennial border, in combination with phlox, delphinium or asters.

In short:

  • sunny to partially shaded
  • as a hedge
  • in isolation
  • in the perennial border
  • Avoid waterlogging


Heckenmyrte has no special requirements for the substrate -

To water:

If the hedge myrtle is planted outdoors, it can do without water for a long time. Regular watering is recommended during the growing season. Until the next watering, wait until the upper layer of soil has dried slightly. If occasional dehydration is tolerated, it should not become permanent. This weakens the plants too much.


Young plants that have been purchased do not need to be fertilized in the first year after planting. They were provided with sufficient nutrients. On the other hand, if you have grown your own plants, you can add compost to the soil and thus provide long-term fertilizer. If the plant is in a bucket, a commercially available liquid fertilizer should be used every two months in the summer months.

Rear section:

The hedge myrtle is extremely tolerant of cutting. Due to the enormous joy in growing, cutting measures can be started at an early stage. The ideal time for a pruning is late winter. You do not have to be cautious, a strong pruning promotes growth and the plant sprouts all the more.

" Tip: Young plants in particular are very well tolerated by pruning. If the plant grows older, radical pruning should no longer be carried out.


The hedge myrtle often serves as a replacement for the boxwood. Many hobby gardeners practice shaping and transform the robust small shrub into pyramids, balls, spirals or animals. Templates for the corresponding figures are commercially available. But you can also get creative yourself and, for example, create a ball or pyramid with the help of self-made templates.

" Tip: The topiary works particularly well with the help of special bonsai hedge trimmers, e.g. These ones.

Diseases and pests:

The hedge myrtle is particularly valued for its robustness. The occurrence of diseases can be virtually excluded. Pests are also largely restrained.

Only young and home-grown plants can be affected by spider mites every now and then. Spider mites can be recognized by the spots they leave on the leaves and, in the advanced stage, also by the webs.

What should I do?
In the case of an infestation, treat the undersides of the leaves especially. These are to be showered vigorously. Preparations based on Niemsamen or Niemöl have also proven their worth.

" Tip: Check the plants regularly. In this way, an infestation can be recognized promptly.


Win cuttings for propagation - © Simone / stock.adobe.com The propagation is done by cuttings. The best time to get cuttings is early summer. Wooded shoots from existing plants are suitable as cuttings. These are cut to a length of 15 to 20 centimeters.

" Tip: Sections resulting from topiary cutting can be used as cuttings.

What is needed for propagation through cuttings?

  • clean garden tools
  • potting soil
  • planters
  • Plastic film or plastic hoods

Before the cuttings are placed in the soil, the lower leaves must be removed. The remaining foliage should not come into contact with the substrate so that the leaves do not start to rot. The cuttings are placed in the ground and lightly watered. As an alternative to special growing soil, potting soil mixed with sand can also be used.

How are the cuttings treated?
The plant pots are placed in a protected place. The plants should not be exposed to the blazing sun. Temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees are ideal. Always keep the soil moist, but never too wet. To accelerate rooting, the planters are covered with plastic wrap or a plastic cover. If new shoots appear, the reproduction has been successful and the plastic hood can be removed.

If the plants have developed sufficiently, they are transplanted into normal potting soil and cultivated further in a protected location. After a frost-free wintering, the young plants can be planted out at the desired location next spring.

" Tip: If you plan to plant a hedge, the work will be easier if the cuttings are brought forward in a flower box. This means that a straight row can be created from several plants, because up to five cuttings can fit in a planter.


The robust plant does not need any special protection in winter. The plants also tolerate severe frosts. So that the plants do not dry out, they should be watered again well before winter. Container plants should be kept in a protected location and watered every now and then, even in winter.

The hedge myrtle "May green" as bonsai

The cut tolerance and the rather small leaves make the hedge myrtle an ideal bonsai plant. The bonsai should be bright and as sunny as possible. The plants can spend the summer outdoors. Uniform irrigation is advisable, short dry periods are tolerated. Most common design forms can be realized with the hedgerow myrtle. Even strong cutting measures are well tolerated. Wiring can be supportive from June. Care must be taken to ensure that the wire does not cut into the bark.