Honeysuckle

Lonicera, on its common name Honeysuckle, are easy to grow, vigorous, heat-tolerant and nearly indestructible vines, with a fast growing rate that can grow more than 9 m in length. There are many varieties of Honeysuckle and the most common use of this plant is to grow along a trellis, fence, or other framework, but it can also be grown as a groundcover or used for erosion control. It grows quickly on a trellis or fence, to provide a sweetly-fragrant screen for privacy or shade. Many honeysuckles will thrive in containers as well.

Honeysuckle blooms throughout the entire growing season, from late spring to late summer so is certainly a standout performer in your garden the warmer months. The attractive flowers start out white and age to yellow in their second day of life. They are extremely fragrant, plentiful and produce much nectar. The fragrant flowers transform any garden into an overnight success. The flowers are hermaphrodite - has both male and female organs - and are pollinated by Moths. The flashy and fragrant flowers will attract bees, hummingbirds and butterflies all summer long. After flowering, honeysuckle will produce fruits that are blue-black berries of about 0.6 cm in diameter that are relished by many kinds of song birds.

honeysuckle image honeysuckle image

 If you will grow honeysuckle on a trellis or an arbor, put the support in place before planting, to avoid damaging the vine, then plant the honeysuckle 15-30 cm away from the support to allow enough growing room for developing stems. The vines should be tied to their support using strong, stretchy materials that won't cut into growing branches. Honeysuckle may become invasive if it is not pruned back hard in winter to prevent the build-up of woody growth. You should avoid planting it near shrubs or small trees, which it may climb and strangle. When the plant has finished blooming, you can prune it for maintaining it in shape, but only lightly prune plants until they are well established at about 2 years old. When it becomes overgrown, cut it to the ground and it will grow back quickly.

Honeysuckle prefers a place in full sun, but will also tolerate partial sun, and even some light, afternoon shade if you can’t find it a place in full sun in your garden. It grows quite well in full shade also, but it won't flower as much. Once established, it needs only moderate watering, unless the summer is very dry. If you prepare properly the planting area and mulch well before planting, the honeysuckle will develop well with a light annual application of a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season and another one in the middle of the blooming season.

Honeysuckle is evergreen in warm climates and deciduous in cold areas. The foliage can be damaged in severe wind-chill conditions, but being hardy plants to about -20 Celsius degrees (-4 F), they usually recover in the spring, once the warm weather returns. It persists well after the native flora has gone dormant for the winter.

You should plant honeysuckle in early spring, as soon as frost danger has passed. Prepare the planting site as for any perennial then water the plant thoroughly and repeat soakings until the plant start to show signs of new growth. Mulch the plant with heavy cover of leaves, to protect the roots from freezing and to conserve moisture in the hot summer days.

Honeysuckle can be grown from seeds planted as soon as they ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed will require cold stratification for several weeks. When seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter, then plant them out into their permanent place in late spring or early summer, after the last frosts.

Honeysuckle can also be propagate by layering done in autumn. Fill a pot with potting medium, cram a section of young vine into the pot, so that the part of the vine still attached to the mother plant comes in on one side of the pot, and the tip extends out the other side. Water occasionally and in a couple of months the potted section of vine will have roots, then you can cut it from the mother plant.

You can also propagate honeysuckle from cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7-10 cm long, with or without a heel, taken in summer or from cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, 15-20 cm long, with or without a heel, taken in late autumn, in a cold frame. Strip the leaves from the end of the cutting nearest the cut end so you will have one or two leaf nodes bare and one or two sets of leaves left on the vine. For a better result you can dip the plant in rooting hormone and place in damp potting or rooting soil.

 

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