Exciting two season choisya for patios and pots

This fragrant British-bred evergreen broadens the range of these neat, easy-to-grow shrubs

Well-behaved, fragrant evergreen flowering shrubs are always in demand – and this latest new choisya variety is no exception.

Since 1986, when the familiar golden-leaved Choisya Sundance (‘Lich’) was introduced, we’ve seen a slow but steady succession of varieties bringing improved foliage and neater growth, as well as more prolific flowering.

In the past I’ve discussed Choisya ‘Apple Blossom on this blog and now we have another – ‘Little Bee’, developed by Alan Postill, plant breeder and propagator at Hillier Nurseries. Alan explained how he developed his earlier introduction, ‘Aztec Gold’ and then ‘Little Bee’.

“Initially, I was looking for a plant that would attract bees, flower twice a year, compliment herbaceous plants, was easy to propagate and would fit on a Danish trolley (the tall carts that deliver plants to garden centres).

“I crossed ‘Aztec Pearl’ (green cut leaf) on to Sundance ('Lich') (golden foliage) and vice versa. The seeds were sown in November 2005. From these 'Aztec Gold' was born.

Refining the selection

Choisya 'Little Bee'“The next phase was to get a dwarf cut leaf plant so I crossed 'Aztec Gold' with C. x dewitteana and vice versa and sowed the seed in March 2012. I was looking for a plant that would suit small gardens and patio pots, with either green or gold leaves. From the resulting seedlings ‘Little Bee’ (green) and ‘Little Honey Bee’ (golden) were chosen.”

‘Little Bee’ flowers in April and May and again in late August and September. The rich dark green foliage is deeply cut, the fragrant flowers are pink in bud and open to white, and compact plants reach about 60cm (2ft) in height and 60cm (2ft) in spread. Choisya ‘Little Honey Bee’ will be available next year.

You can order plants of Choisya ‘Little Bee’ from Thompson & Morgan.
Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author, and do not constitute an official endorsement by the RHS.

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