Honeysuckle is a perennial flowering vine or shrub native to many parts of the world. It has a vigorous growth habit and, when allowed to grow freely, some species can take on invasive tendencies. Even with this trait, honeysuckle is popular in landscaping and as an ingredient in various perfumes. Honeysuckle is a tried and true sun-loving garden perennial that even beginner gardeners can grow successfully.
Types of Honeysuckle
Lonicera japonica is probably the type of honeysuckle that comes to mind when people think of the plants. Lonicera japonica has invasive tendencies and is hardy from USDA zones 4 to 10. In colder winters L. japonica is a deciduous vine, while in warmer regions it is an evergreen.
Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) is a North American native vine. Its blooms are more tubular in shape than that of Lonicera japonica. L. sempervirens is hardy from USDA zones 4 through 10A.
Tatarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica L.) is a bush-type honeysuckle reaching up to 10 feet in height. It blooms deep red and sets orange and red berries that will cling to the plants through winter. This plant is hardy from zones 3 through 8. This plant is considered invasive in the United States.
Soil for Honeysuckle Vines
Honeysuckle vines prefer well-drained, organic-matter-rich soils. In cultivation, a slow-release fertilizer geared towards blooming plants will help the vines/bush grow thick and produce many blooms. Fertilizing the plants every three to six weeks during the growing season keeps them healthy and blooming.
How and Why Honeysuckle is Pruned
Removing any dead or broken limbs with clean sharp pruners as soon as they are discovered will prevent further damage or disease to the plants. Healthy limbs taken are often rooted in a glass of water or dampened soil. Rooting hormone increases the likelihood of the cuttings taking off. Regular pruning also keeps the vigorous plants from taking over neighboring plants and structures.
How Honeysuckle is Propagated
Honeysuckle seeds are cold stratified in plastic bags with dampened peat moss for several weeks before planting. A soilless rooting mix, or sterilized compost mixed with sand and vermiculite, is used to sprout the honeysuckle seeds. The seeds are cleaned of their fleshy covering before being planted ¼ inch deep in the planting medium. When the plants have several sets of true leaves they are potted into larger containers or directly into a prepared bed. Cuttings are grown in the same medium only when they are buried at least an inch deep after being dusted with rooting hormone.
Light Requirements of Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle prefers full sun and will bloom its best if planted there. Most species will tolerate partial shade, but may not bloom as heavily as they would with plenty of sun.