Fragrant honeysuckle is often grown as a vine, and can also be grown into a bush form. As a shrub, some honeysuckles can grow to 6 to 15 feet high and wide. Your honeysuckle bush will require little care, except for occasional pruning. When a trim does become necessary, there are two approaches: renewal pruning or rejuvenation pruning.
When to Prune
Honeysuckle bushes are best pruned in the late winter or early spring. This allows shaping of the plant or total rejuvenation before the flowering season. When electing to perform the more severe rejuvenation pruning, it is especially important to complete the process early in the season.
Honeysuckle bushes are multi-stemmed plants, and over time can become a tangled mess. At this point, rejuvenation is probably your best option for regaining a neat, fresh-looking plant. To fully rejuvenate your honeysuckle bush, use pruning shears or loppers to cut all stems down to 4- to 6-inch stubs.
Your honeysuckle bush may also be maintained through regular renewal pruning. To prune in this way, wait until buds are just beginning to appear in the spring, and cut selected old stems down to the ground. It may be helpful to tie a string or ribbon to the stems you plan to remove before cutting to get a better idea of what the pruned shrub will look like.
Some varieties of honeysuckle are so fast-growing and hardy that they border on invasive. For these types of the plant, rejuvenation (cutting back to the ground) may be necessary to control spread.
Use the Proper Equipment
Never prune your honeysuckle bush with hedge shears. Each cut of the hedge shears creates many new growth points, resulting in a top-heavy plant. Opt instead for clean pruning shears or loppers and make your cuts at a 45-degree angle.