Honeysuckle, or Lonicera, is a sweet-smelling flower that attracts hummingbirds. Honeysuckle is very low-maintenance as long as it is planted in a sunny location with moist, loamy soil. There are more than 180 different varieties of honeysuckle, and each type varies slightly in appearance and size. All honeysuckle produces sweet nectar, which is edible. Some plants also produce berries, which are usually not edible. Honeysuckle can grow as a vine or a bush, but vine varieties should be planted with a nearby fence or trellis so they can climb.
Choose a location with full sun and light, moist soil. Honeysuckle will tolerate partial shade, but is more likely to develop an aphid problem in shady locations. Vines will also produce more flowers in full sun. The soil should be loamy and damp with good soil drainage.
Dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the vine’s root ball, and two or three times as wide. Dig your hole near a tall fence or trellis so the vine can climb; honeysuckle vines grow to be 10 to 20 feet tall. Dig your hole using a spade or hand shovel, and reserve the extra dirt.
Plant your honeysuckle in the spring or fall, spacing plants 5 to 15 feet apart. Set the root ball in your prepared hole, and fill the hole halfway with the reserved soil. Water the dirt to remove any air pockets, and fill the hole the rest of the way. Lightly press the dirt around the honeysuckle and water the plant thoroughly.
Train your vine to the trellis or fence, if needed. Honeysuckle vines naturally climb nearby structures, but they may need help initially finding the trellis. Direct the vines to the fence and secure them to its face using soft string or pantyhose. Honeysuckle is delicate, especially when the vines are young, so use a soft material and tie the vine to the trellis with loose loops. Add additional loops anytime the vines grow away from the trellis.
Add a layer of organic material to the dirt around your honeysuckle every spring. Two inches of compost or manure will help enrich the soil and act as mulch to keep the soil moist.
Prune your honeysuckle after it flowers in the spring if flowers appear on growth from the previous summer. Some varieties of honeysuckle bloom on previous growth, and these vines will benefit from pruning. Remove the top third of the vine with sharp garden shears. If your honeysuckle blooms on growth from the current summer, it does not need pruning. Leave these vines to grow naturally, pruning only when they become overgrown. Remove sick or damaged stems as they appear for all types of honeysuckle.
Things You Will Need
- Honeysuckle vine
- Tall fence or trellis
- Spade or hand shovel
- Soft string or pantyhose
- Compost or manure
- Garden shears
- Avoid planting Japanese honeysuckle (L. japonica) or tartarian honeysuckle (L. tatarica) in your garden. These species are aggressive and invasive, and should not be intentionally cultivated in North America.
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