Honeysuckle Growing Guide
Lonicera species, Lonicera x heckrottii, Lonicera sempervirens, Lonicera periclymenum, and many Lonicera hybrids
Crop Rotation Group
Fertile, well-drained soil enriched with compost.
Full sun to part shade. Cultivated honeysuckles are often grown near structures that provide some shade. When siting a honeysuckle, look for a spot where the mature vine will have its feet in the shade, and head in the sun.
Cold hardiness varies with cultivar, with many hardy to -20°F (-29°C). Some semi-evergreen species grown in warm climates are much less tolerant of cold.
In early spring as new growth emerges, mulch over the root zones of the plant with rich compost or rotted manure.
Single Plants: 5' 10" (1.80m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 5' 10" (1.80m) with 5' 10" (1.80m) row gap (minimum)
Sow and Plant
Set out container-grown plants from mid spring to early summer. Enrich the planting hole with plenty of compost and set the plant at the same depth it grew in its container. Keep moist for the first months after transplanting. By their second season, honeysuckles become quite drought tolerant. The best way to propagate honeysuckle is to root stem cuttings taken in spring or early summer. Most cultivars root readily, and will even root in plain water. Most honeysuckles are grown as single specimens trained up a post or trellis. In containers plant one honeysuckle per 14-inch (35 cm) wide pot. Choose dwarf honeysuckle varieties such as ‘Coral Star’ when growing honeysuckles in containers.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.
There are many garden-worthy honeysuckles that are fragrant and non-invasive. Popular and widely adapted, ‘Gold Flame’ honeysuckle produces fragrant flowers in flushes all summer, as does orange-flowered ‘Mandarin’. Selections of coral honeysuckle (L. sempervirens) lack fragrance but are very vigorous and heavy blooming. Unusual ‘Winter Beauty’ (L. purpusii) produces fragrant flowers on bare stems in late winter when little else is in bloom. Avoid planting Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), which is extremely invasive in a wide range of climates. Bush honeysuckles also are on the no-plant list in many areas because of their tendency to spread into wild areas. Prune honeysuckles to shape the plants and control their size. Early-flowering honeysuckles should be pruned after flowering, and late-flowering types can be pruned in spring. Wait until late winter or early spring if you need to do hard pruning of overgrown plants, as this will reduce flowering.
Clusters of honeysuckle blossoms make interesting additions to flower arrangements. Cutting blossoms may help extend the bloom time of some varieties.
Honeysuckle may have passing problems with powdery mildew, as well as a fungal disease called honeysuckle leaf blight. Blighted leaves suddenly turn brown and wilt following a period of warm, wet weather, and may be replaced by healthy new leaves later in the season. Aphids may require control with insecticidal soap.
Planting and Harvesting Calendar
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Pests which Affect Honeysuckle