Honeysuckle vine (Lonicera japonica) is also called Japanese honeysuckle. It is not a native plant to the United States, but a plant that was introduced in the 1800s. This perennial vine thrives in sun or shady conditions and adapts to nearly all soil types. In cold climates like the northern United States, the honeysuckle vine dies back each year to grow again in the spring. In mild climates like in the south, the honeysuckle vine keeps its leaves all year. Honeysuckle vines produce a tiny drop of honey-flavored nectar in its blossoms that children enjoy eating.
The honeysuckle vine is a vigorous woody vine that grows 30 feet or more in length. Leaves grow in pairs opposite each other up and down the stem. The green leaves are 2 to 3 inches long in an oval shape. Flowers are produced all through the growing season and are extremely fragrant. Blooms start white with a purple tint turning yellow as they age. The blossoms of the honeysuckle vine are 1 1/2 inch long tubes formed by five fused petals. Honeysuckle vine fruit are small, blue-black berries that appear in early autumn.
The honeysuckle vine originates from eastern Asia and Japan. This vine grows along edges of woodlands, fields, fencerows and streams. The honeysuckle vine is an escaped ornamental plant and considered a weed in every state except Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.
Honeysuckle vines are used as a quick growing groundcover or as soil erosion control. It is trained to grow up trellises or along fences. It creates a fragrant privacy screen or shade screen that is attractive to hummingbirds and bees. Song birds and white-tailed deer enjoy eating the fruit of the honeysuckle vine. Honeysuckle vines are commonly used as an ornamental plant in Arizona and other parts of the southwestern United States.
Honeysuckle vines are very invasive in areas of full sun to partial shade with moist soil. It disrupts natural plant communities by smothering native plants. It tends to do the most damage in areas where it climbs over other plants. It kills by wrapping the supporting plant so tightly that it prevents water from moving through the victim.
To control the invasiveness of the honeysuckle vine, prune after it flowers. This will prevent the setting of seeds and wild overgrowth. Cut the vine back the ground level if it is overgrown. It will quickly grow back. If it escapes then pull the vine up by hand and dispose of it. This vine is easier to control when grown in arid climates.