Honeysuckle vines (Lonicera) provide nearly evergreen beauty to fences and arbors. This flowering plant resembles a shrub when grown on supports, but it is actually a type of vine. Honeysuckle may become overgrown and invasive if left to its own devices. Understanding the growth habits of honeysuckle allows you to train it properly so it doesn't become invasive in your garden.
Honeysuckle maintains leaves throughout most of the year. During mild winters, the old leaves may remain on the plant until the new leaves begin budding, giving the vine an evergreen appearance. While the old leaves may remain green throughout the winter, the honeysuckle is dormant during the colder months and does not put forth new growth. Prune during this dormant period to both maintain the shape and spread of the vines.
Vines twine around upright supports, eventually covering the support fully. On fences this full, twining growth habit causes the honeysuckle to resemble more of a shrub than a vine. The vines may reach heights of 20 feet or more if they are not pruned. Honeysuckle also grows as a ground cover, but is more likely to become invasive when allowed to sprawl. Instead of twining, ground-growing honeysuckle produces new roots at every leaf joint.
Long, narrow trumpet-shaped flowers grow along the vines. While the flowering period depends on the type of honeysuckle, most varieties bloom for several months during the summer. Flowers range in color from white and pale yellow to crimson. The blooms produce a sweet aroma that attracts hummingbirds, bees and other insects to the garden.
After flowering honeysuckle produces berries. These berries generally are small with no ornamental value. Birds consume the berries and the seeds within. When eaten by birds, the seeds can travel many miles. While not a concern with commonly available landscape honeysuckles such as Scarlett Trumpet honeysuckle, this seed spread can lead to invasiveness issues with Laponica japonica and other invasive honeysuckle varieties.