Four Tips for Growing Honeysuckle Vine
Honeysuckle vines make excellent song lyrics plus they make outstanding
The vining variety is only one of approximately 180 species of Lonicera
and who's cousins are well respected garden shrubs.
As a rule of thumb, these vines all grow well in sun to part shade.
You'll get the best results if you can grow their roots in the shade
and the tops in the sun (at the very least, mulch them). They
appreciate decent garden soil with good drainage but will survive in
almost anything except a heavy clay.
Toss a few shovels of compost on them in the spring to keep them happy.
If you overfeed them by using chemical fertilizers, they will grow
great foliage but sparse bloom. The foliage comes at the expense of the
Honeysuckle Image courtesy Stan Shebs
They are prone to mildews so good ventilation will help prevent this.
They also tend to be infested with aphids and while some are worse than
others, the rule of thumb is to keep the garden hose handy when you
plant a honeysuckle vine. You'll need a strong jet of water to knock
the aphids off.
The hardiest vine honeysuckle is Lonicera x brownii
hybrids between L. sempervirens
and L. hirsuta
. It is
an old cross, appearing in gardens somewhere in the 1850's.
It is aphid candy and if you have one of these plants, you have aphids.
You'll see them congregate at the tender growing tips. Spray with a
strong jet of water to knock them off and do it regularly. Beetles and
other predators will eat the aphids when the hit the ground but the
plant is such a favourite food that you'll never be able to grow them
free of this pest. One of the best known varieties is 'Dropmore
Scarlet' bred in Dropmore, Manitoba, Canada.
Lonicera x heckrottii
or Goldflame Honeysuckle is another hybrid
although the parentage of this plant is open to question. Another older
variety, introduced in the 1890's it is an excellent garden vine
surviving into USDA zone 4 (but a warm 4 for best results). The flowers
are reddish and as they open, they expose the gold yellow of the inner
corolla. Excellent colouring. Again, this plant is prone to aphids.
or Japanese Honeysuckle is a vigorous, twining
vine that never met a trellis it didn't like. It can easily reach 30
feet in height in protected areas. It will often die to the ground in
zone 4 and it's evergreen nature only starts to come into play in a
warm 5 or even a zone 6. It is an extremely heavy flowering vine in
early summer and can self-sow with abandon in warmer areas. The variety
'Aureo-reticulata' has yellow netted markings on the leaf and is an
I have this in my own garden and treat it as a semi-ground cover plant
cutting it back heavily every year to contain it to a small area.
'Halliana is another variety that is commonly found in garden centers
and it is favoured because the masses of white flowers are fragrant and
the growth is vigorous. Although it is rated as a zone 4 plant, I have
never been able to get this one through a winter. (I must not be
holding my mouth right when I plant it.)
or Trumpet Honeysuckle is a harder plant
to find in garden centres but in warmer areas it can turn into a very
vigorous plant capable of hitting 20 feet in a single bound. The new
foliage is purplish tinged changing to the handsome summer blue-green.
The flowers are scarlet-red with yellowish throats but they are not
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You'll often see the varieties sold with only these common names:
'Magnifica' has bright red flowers. 'Sulphurea' has yellow flowers
(I've killed this one a few times), while 'Superba' has an orange with
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