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Honeysuckle Plants

Blooming honeysuckle

How to Winterize Honeysuckle

Sweet-smelling honeysuckle is easy to grow and care for, and it is almost indestructible. If taken care of, honeysuckle provides a wonderful vine with flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Winterizing honeysuckle is quite simple.

Determine which type of honeysuckle you have. For spring bloomers, do not prune the honeysuckle in the fall, as this will promote new growth. The new growth will not be able to withstand cold winter conditions and will damage the honeysuckle vine. Prune fall bloomers in January or February.

Spread a thick layer of mulch around the base of the honeysuckle vine to protect it from winter conditions.

Prune honeysuckle plants that bloom in the spring right after blooming. Cut the dead vines back until you see green limbs at a 45-degree angle.

Move container plants to a southern location near the home’s foundation or into a garage or cellar that is unheated. If moved indoors, water the honeysuckle every ten days.

Do not fertilize honeysuckle from September until new growth is detected in the spring.

Is Honeysuckle a Perennial?

Honeysuckle (genus Lonicera) is a hardy perennial with varieties that grow either as vines or bushes. All varieties possess fragrant flowers that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds year after year.

How to Plant Honeysuckle Seeds

Clean the honeysuckle seeds thoroughly if necessary by removing any berry skin; then let them dry completely on a paper towel.

Put the seeds on a damp paper towel after they are dry, then slide the towel into a plastic baggie and seal it shut. Put it in the refrigerator for at least two months, but no longer than three months, making sure the paper towel stays continuously damp. This simulates the winter months that flower seeds go through.

Prepare the soil for the seed tray once the refrigerator time is up. Equally mix compost and sand, then moisten with water. Fill the seed tray with this mixture.

Add one honeysuckle seed to each seed tray compartment, then lightly sprinkle the soil mix on top.

Put the seed tray on a sunny window sill for about a month, or until the seeds begin to germinate. The try should get about six to eight hours of sun per day.

Make sure to keep the seed tray moist with water, but do not soak it. When the sprouts are about 3 inches tall, transplant them to individual pots filled with the same soil mixture, and place them outdoors in the desired area.

Information on the Coral Honeysuckle Plant

Description

Lonicera sempervirens is a woody vine with smooth leaves and reddish tube like flowers. They can also be orange with yellow. Leaves are 1 to 3 inches long and flowers are 2 inches long.

Growth

The trumpet honeysuckle needs to be in full sun or partial sun. Pruning in winter will give more flowers on the plant. It is drought tolerant. Use only as much fertilizer as the bag suggests (this will vary with brand) on this honeysuckle.

Hardiness

The coral honeysuckle is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4 (example: Minnesota and Montana) to 10 (example: Florida and California).

Benefits

Unlike its white honeysuckle counterpart, Lonicera japonica, this will not spread out of control and will instead be a shrub-like, contained plant.

Fun Facts

This is a great plant to use to entice songbirds and butterflies to the garden. It is also a favorite of hummingbirds. Plant the honeysuckle as a focal piece if you want to draw these creatures to the garden.

How to Extract Essential Oils from Honeysuckle Flowers

Fill the stockpot with a gallon of distilled water.

Add three cups of honeysuckle petals and stamens to the pot of water.

Place the bowl in the center of the pot of water. Make sure the water doesn't overflow into the bowl. Remove a little water from the pan, if necessary.

Place the lid of the stock pot, upside down, onto the pot. The knob-handle of the pot's lid should hang inside of the pot once it is covered.

Allow the pot to simmer on the stove for approximately 50 minutes.

Fill the upside-down pot lid with ice. The ice causes the inside of the lid to condensate with honeysuckle essential oils which will drip from the knob of the pot lid into the glass bowl.

How to Harvest Honeysuckle

Use the pruning shears to harvest honeysuckle buds. The buds are the blossoms that are still immature and not quite ready to open.

Clip the honeysuckle flowers early in the morning during the peak of the growing season. Remove only mature flowers; however, you must remove the flowers before they open for the day. Clip the flowers just under the blooms where they attach to the stems. Use the flowers to create hot teas or infusions to treat illness.

Harvest the honeysuckle stems during the autumn and winter months. By the time you are ready to harvest the stems, the flowers and buds of the honeysuckle will be gone for the season. Remove the stems by trimming them off just above the soil level. Remove any leaves that are present and discard them. Dry the stems and then use them in infusions to treat illness.

How to Get Starts from Honeysuckle Plants

It's easy to start new honeysuckle vines from stem cuttings.

Take several 6-inch cuttings from the honeysuckle vine with a sharp knife. Make the first cut slightly above a set of leaves, with the second cut below the set of leaves, slightly above the next set. Make both cuts at a 45-degree angle, not straight across, to leave the widest area for absorbing water and root hormone.

Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. of rooting hormone powder onto a piece of paper. Roll the bottom ends of the honeysuckle cuttings in the hormone until they are covered.

Fill small flower pots with moist potting soil. Plunge the hormone-covered ends about 2 inches down into the soil, pressing the soil down with your fingers to ensure firm contact.

Place the potted honeysuckle cuttings in a warm, sunny room and keep them moist until roots develop, which should be in three to six weeks. Speed the rooting process by bagging the cuttings in transparent plastic bags. Open the bag to ventilate and mist the cuttings daily, then reseal them.

Is Honeysuckle Poisonous to People?

Toxic Honeysuckles

Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 8, is considered toxic if large quantities of the berries are eaten. Other poisonous honeysuckles include:

Some honeysuckles may be less dangerous than others, but to be safe, avoid eating any honeysuckle berries.

Poisoning Symptoms

If a person eats too many honeysuckle berries it typically results in upset stomach. Vomiting and diarrhea are other symptoms. Pupil dilation, cold sweat and rapid heartbeat can also occur if the person who eats honeysuckle berries is allergic or consumes large quantities.

Responding To Poisoning

If someone eats honeysuckle berries, remove any plant parts from the mouth and contact your local poison control center as soon as possible.

The national toll-free number is: 1-800-222-1222. Tell the poison control center that you're concerned about honeysuckle poisoning, then follow their instructions.

Before calling poison control or while you're on the phone, you can rinse the person's mouth out and give them a few sips of water. If the person who ate the berries is having trouble breathing or has collapsed, call 911 immediately.

Japanese Honeysuckle Life Cycle

Pollination

Japanese honeysuckle is pollinated by hummingbirds and insects. In its native habitat it is pollinated by nocturnal hawkmoths, which are attracted by its sweet nectar.

Flowers and Seeds

The tube-shaped flowers, which bloom from spring through summer, are prolific and when pollinated produce shiny black berries. The seeds are spread by birds eating the berries.

Seedlings

Seedlings take three to five years to mature into a flowering plant. They are slow growers at first and do not tolerate overshading or any type of drought conditions.

Mature Plants

Mature plants can become up to 30-foot-long vines that climb trees and other structures for support. The leaves are evergreen in warmer climates but become deciduous or semi-evergreen in northern cooler climates.

Vegetative Reproduction

Japanese honeysuckle can also reproduce by layering, which is when a node on a vine touches the ground and takes root, creating a new plant.

How to Cut Back Honeysuckle

Cut back the top of the plant with pruning shears until about 2 feet of growth remains at the base. Use a ladder if necessary to reach taller parts of the plant.

Spread 2 or 3 inches of mulch around the base of the plant to prevent weed growth and to conserve water. The plant will need extra hydration after being cut back.

Collect all of the pruned sections and discard them. They aren't suitable for compost piles.

Honeysuckle Pest Problems

Honeysuckle's fragrance attracts butterflies into the garden.

Types

Greedy scale, potato aphid and caterpillars are the most common pests found on honeysuckle plants. While greedy scale won't harm the honeysuckle, it is unattractive. Aphids suck the juices out of the leaves and leave behind a sticky residue that will host various types of fungus. Caterpillars have voracious appetites and can defoliate your honeysuckle.

Identification

Aphids are tiny green, brown, red, black or white insects, generally found in clusters on the honeysuckle's foliage. Greedy scale, an armored scale, doesn't really look like a bug, but will appear as a white, brown or red bump on the foliage. Caterpillars, worm-like insects, readily feed on honeysuckle foliage, leaving holes and even skeletonizing the leaves.

Prevention/Solution

Proper watering and fertilization goes a long way toward discouraging insect infestations. Aphids can generally be washed off the honeysuckle with a strong blast from a hose. Insecticidal soap or horticultural oils will also control them and the greedy scale as well. Caterpillar control consists of cutting away the infested leaves and removing the eggs from the branches.

How to Prune Bush Honeysuckle

Examine the honeysuckle bush growth. If it is growing against a wall or a fence, cut away any growth that has climbed up around windowsills, into cracks, or is intruding in other gardening space. Use a ladder if necessary.

Use the pruning shears to get rid of any broken bush branches, any dead wood and foliage; also use the shears if the bush is growing outward from the shape you want to maintain, or if it's becoming tangled in any other vegetation.

Prune back the entire top half of the honeysuckle. Use the pruning shears, since this will take some time cutting back larger branches. Leave about 1 to 2 feet of the plant up from the base. When pruning, cut back to the first lateral bud within 1 or 2 feet from the ground.

Provide water to the honeysuckle bush right after pruning. Cutting back the shrub will dehydrate it and stress it out, so it's important to give it a good water supply at this time. Next, layer 1 inch of mulch around the base to deter weeds and retain water.

How to Prune Overgrown Honeysuckle

Prune an overgrown honeysuckle in late winter or early spring, while it’s still dormant. Untie any supporting strings from the honeysuckle, and loosen it from the fence or trellis.

Use your fingers to untangle the honeysuckle as much as possible. If you can, lay the vine down on the ground.

Use pruning shears to cut away 1/3 to 1/2 of the oldest growth. Trim the vines clear to the ground, or to the point where they're green and flexible. Leave enough healthy vine to bloom during the coming season.

Keep the vine damp for the first season, because it will need extra energy to rejuvenate itself. A thick layer of organic mulch such as bark chips or peat moss will keep moisture in, nourish the soil and help to keep weeds under control. Re-tie the remaining vines to their support.

What is the Most Fragrant Honeysuckle?

Winter honeysuckle is also known as fragrant honeysuckle or January jasmine.

Plant Description

The winter honeysuckle is a woody shrub that grows 6 to 8 feet tall. It contains white and pink blooms that exude a strong, lemony aroma during the months of January and February. When most flowers are dormant, the winter honeysuckle produces round, yellowish-green to dark green leaves that last until late autumn.

Cultivation

Winter honeysuckles thrive in loamy, well-drained soil and prefer full sun to partial shade during the day.

Pruning

Pruning is done annually after flowering to shape and prevent overgrowth. Healthy blooms and budded branches may be cut and used as floral arrangements.

Fun Facts

The shrub's genus name, Lonicera fragrantissima, is derived from Adam Lonitzer, who was a naturalist and author. The honor of being named after the fragrant plant was bestowed to Lonitzer by famous botanist Carl Linnaeus.

How to Care for a Honeysuckle Plant

Water a new honeysuckle vine deeply and keep the soil moist until the honeysuckle vine shows signs of growth. After that time, an inch of water per week is adequate.

Feed the honeysuckle vine an all-purpose granular fertilizer every spring. Apply the granular fertilizer according to the directions on the package.

Spread 1 to 2 inches of organic mulch such as shredded bark or pine needles around the base of the honeysuckle vine; replenish the mulch as it decomposes, or if it blows away. Mulch will keep weeds under control and will retain moisture in the soil.

Prune the honeysuckle vine every year in late winter or early spring to keep it under control. Remove any dead and dying growth and tangled vines, and prune the vine to the desired shape. Pinch the ends of the vines occasionally throughout the year to encourage bushy growth.

How to Kill a Honeysuckle Without Killing Azaleas

Cut off the honeysuckle vines that are overhanging or near the azalea bush with gardening shears. Be mindful not accidentally to cut any azalea limbs.

Put a pair of gardening gloves on to protect your hands. Start with a section of honeysuckle entangled in the azalea. Slowly unwrap the vine, extracting it from the azalea branches. Use gardening shears to cut the vine loose at the end, closest to the honeysuckle root system, without cutting the azalea.

Cut all the honeysuckle vines close to the ground at the base of the azalea. Use a garden cultivator to dig out the root system of the honeysuckle vines. Remove each vine that is at the base of the azalea with the cultivator.

Fill in the remaining holes with organic potting soil and tap down lightly.

Cut a sheet of plastic ground cloth. Place the ground cloth at the base of the azalea. Cover the ground cloth with a 2-inch layer of pine needles to create a mulch barrier.

Repeat the whole process with each of the azaleas overtaken by honeysuckle.

How to Eradicate Honeysuckle Vines

Pull the vine away from anything that it has affixed itself to and use clippers to cut it back to the ground as much as possible. You can also use a weed whacker. For low-growing vines, mowing it is often effective.

Spray any remaining vegetation with an undiluted herbicide concentrate such as Roundup that contains between 41 to 53.8 percent of the chemical glyphosate.

Treat new sprouts when they appear with a herbicide labeled as a 5 percent solution of glyphosate. Mix in a surfactant so the herbicide adheres better to the sprouts. Usually, a teaspoon or less is added; however, always follow manufacturer dosing and application instructions.

Reapply whenever you see new sprouts. Eventually the honeysuckle vine will starve and die.

How to Prune Japanese Honeysuckle

Remove the top third of the honeysuckle plant in late winter. You may need to untwine lower branches that are twisted around the newer ones at the top.

Prune any nonproductive wood. Dead, diseased and damaged stems should be cut off at the ground, or at their points of origin.

Cut off any stems growing away from the support structure. These can be cut back so that they are aligned with the shape of the plant.

Water the Japanese honeysuckle vine as soon as you see new growth in the spring. The vine will be working hard to replace what was pruned away and extra irrigation will help it avoid stress.

Magnifica Honeysuckle Plant

Features

Magnifica Honeysuckle is evergreen, although the plant may drop leaves in cooler areas. The stems are purple to red and turn brown with age. The flowers are long, tubular and trumpet-like and are long-lasting. They are usually bright red and orange in color, though they have no sent to humans.

Growth Habits

Unlike other honeysuckle varieties that can be rangy and difficult to control, the Magnifica Honeysuckle is more well-behaved. This variety of honeysuckle can be raised from hardiness zones 6 through 9. It is tolerant of heat, drought, wind and excessive moisture. The plant can easily grow to 20 feet in length. The plant blooms from mid-summer to mid-fall.

Form

While the Magnifica Honeysuckle is easier to control, the form of the plant is still rather irregular. It is a twining vine and does best when trained to climb up a trellis or fence. If the plant gets too large, it can be easily cut back to manage the plant.

Culture

The plant is tolerant of partial shade to full sun. Magnifica Honeysuckle does well in a variety of soils including rich, sandy, and clay soils. It can also handle a range of water conditions, from dry to moist. This variety is also low maintenance.

Wildlife

The Magnifica Honeysuckle is very attractive to wildlife, such as butterflies and hummingbirds that uses nectar within the flower for food. Bees will occasionally visit the flowers as well, although the depth of the trumpet is usually too deep for them to reach the nectar.

Honeysuckle Facts

Geography

The Amur and Morrow honeysuckles originally come from parts of Asia while Tatarian honeysuckle came over from Russia and Turkey in the middle of the 18th century. Honeysuckle now grows throughout most of the eastern and middle parts of the nation as well as southern regions of Canada.

Size

The typical honeysuckle bush has many older branches from which the younger branches grow. Amur honeysuckle can get to be 30 feet tall while the most other types are smaller, such as Morrow honeysuckle, which grows to 7 feet.

Flowers

Honeysuckles have tubular flowers that are normally pink or whitish before becoming yellow that grows in twos at the end of a stalk. These eventually turn into red berries.

Vines

The native honeysuckles of North America such as the trumpet and wild honeysuckle resemble the invasive honeysuckles in many facets except they grow as a vine and not as a bush.

Prevention/Solution

The bush honeysuckles will displace many native species as they overtake an area, with cutting the plant close to the ground and spraying it with a herbicide the best way to eradicate it.

Honeysuckle Plant Information

Description

Honeysuckle is a vine with elliptical leaves, white tubular flowers that fade to yellow and bluish-black berries. It flowers throughout the growing season, with cool weather deciduous leaves or evergreen leaves in warmer climates.

Growth

The vine grows best in full sun or partial shade, however, it can be in full shade and just not flower as much as its full-sun counterpart. It does fine in drought or moisture-rich environments.

Hardiness

Honeysuckle is hardy throughout Zones 4 to 10.

Pruning

The honeysuckle vine needs pruning after flowering so it stays contained. If it has become overgrown, cut the vine back sharply and it will come back fast.

Propagation

The vine can be propagated by seed or through layering. Old seeds need to be cold stratified before they are viable; planting as soon as seeds are ripe will ensure best growth.

Warning

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council has listed Japanese honeysuckle as invasive and a "severe threat" by the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council.