How to Care for Honeysuckle

Overview

Honeysuckle is a perennial flowering plant that is prized for its scented flowers and ornamental berries and foliage. Honeysuckles are typically thought of as vines and climbers, although some species are more shrub-like. The plants are often invasive if not pruned back, but they can be controlled with vigilance. Honeysuckle plants can grow from 1 to 6 feet in height, depending on the species, and produce fragrant flowers in colors of white, yellow, pink, orange or red. The plants are easy to care for once established, and grow quickly with proper care.

Step 1

Plant honeysuckle in spring as soon as the soil is workable and all threat of frost is over. Choose an open planting location that receives full sun and has average soil. Amend the soil with organic compost by tilling it in to a depth of 6 inches with a garden tiller. Space honeysuckle plants at least 24 inches apart, as they will grow in very fast.

Step 2

Water honeysuckle plants just after planting to compact the soil, and continue to provide water once every 7 to 10 days during spring and summer for the first year of growth. Reduce watering to once every two weeks during the fall and winter of the plant's first year. Water only when two weeks have passed without rainfall after the first year.

Step 3

Feed honeysuckle plants once per year in spring, just before new growth begins. Use an all-purpose granular fertilizer according to the manufacturer's instructions for proper dosage. Do not fertilize more than once per year, as this could cause more foliage growth than flowers, and also makes the plants more prone to aphid infestation.

Step 4

Spread a 1-inch layer of mulch around the base of honeysuckle plants twice per year in spring and fall. The mulch will gently fertilize the soil, prevent weed growth and help conserve moisture. Use bark mulch, shredded leaves or organic compost to mulch honeysuckle for the best results.

Step 5

Cut honeysuckle plants to the ground using pruning shears one month or less after flowering during their second year of growth. Prune after blooming for the remainder of the plant's life, but only as necessary to shape and keep within bounds. Cut honeysuckle plants to the ground only once when the plants are two years old.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not wait longer than one month after flowering to prune honeysuckles or you may be cutting off the stalks that form the next season's flowers.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic compost
  • Garden tiller
  • Granular fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Honeysuckle, Lonicera
  • Shrubby Honeysuckles
  • Indiana Gardener's Guide; Joellen Sharp, Tom Tyler; 2004
Keywords: honeysuckle, honeysuckles, honeysuckle plants

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.