Lonicera: The Fragrant Honeysuckle

Honeysuckles is a favorite climbers and shrub that produces fragrant blooms. Find facts and information on different types of honeysuckle. You will find that honeysuckle is divided into two definite types: One, the honeysuckle vine, with climbing branches and dense clusters of flowers, the other of bushy habit with the flowers appearing in pairs from the leaf axils. Find out how to get your climbing vines off to a good start. There are, however, some modifications of these general characteristics, particularly in the climbing varieties. The flowers are often fragrant and are succeeded in some kinds with an attractive fruit.

Facts on Honeysuckle and how to grow Lonicera

Lonicera belongs to the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliacear, and is named after Adam Lonicer, a German naturalist of the sixteenth century. Honeysuckles thrive in well-drained, loamy soil. Propagation may be by seeds or cuttings. Seeds are sown in March in a greenhouse in a mixture of two parts sandy loam and one part leaf mold. The young plants should be placed singly in small pots as soon as they are large enough to handle, and should eventually be planted out in a nursery bed. Honeysuckle are excellent plants for climbing up your favorite pergola or canopy gazebo.

Cuttings of young shoots about 4 in. Long (short side shoots are better than long, sappy growths) should be taken in August or September and dibbled in a bed of sand in a propagating case in a greenhouse or cold frame kept close. Roots form in the course of a few weeks. The young plants should be kept in a cold frame for the winter and planted in a nursery bed in spring.


Lonicera sempervirens

Pruning Honeysuckle

The ends of the shoots of young plants may be cut off to ensure that a good foundation of branches is laid. Regular pruning of old plants is unnecessary, but, when the climbing Honeysuckles have to be kept within certain bounds any pruning required should be carried out as soon as the flowers are over. Some of the old wood is cut out and vigorous young shoots are retained. Bush Honeysuckles may be thinned occasionally if they are becoming too dense; this should be done as soon as the flowers fade, or in winter. When plants are outgrowing their places, they may be cut back after flowering.

A few kinds of tender Honeysuckles that require growing in a cool greenhouse in the North, but are excellent for outdoor planting in the South.

Hardy Climbing Honeysuckles

Of the hardy climbing kinds, here are some of the more attractive ones. L. Sempervirens has fine coral-colored or red flowers. This native American is well worth planting, and its variety magnifica is especially good. L. Brownii, which is a hybrid of L. Sempervirens, is hardier than the latter and bears rich red and orange flowers freely in summer. L. Caprifolium is a vigorous European kind that is from 15-20 ft. High, with clusters of fragrant, yellowish, pink-tinged flowers in summer; L. Giraldii, a chinese plant, has very slender branchlets, densely hairy leaves, and yellowish flowers.

L. Flava, which occurs as a native from North Carolina to Oklahoma, is one of the finest of American Honeysuckles; its flowers are orange-yellow and very fragrant.

L. Henryi, an evergreen climber with very slender branches, bears reddish-purple flowers in June. L. Italica, a hybrid between L. Caprifolium and L. Etrusca, has flowers which are 2 in. Long, yellow suffused with red, and borne freely in summer. L. Heckrottii, a hybrid with yellow and wine-red blooms, flowers continuously throughout the summer and fall: variety Goldflame is an even better kind of similar habit, withe creamy-yellow and flame-pink flowers.

The Woodbine. L. Periclymenum, the Woodbine or Honeysuckle of English hedgerows, is a valued plant by reason of its attractive fragrant flowers and scarlet fruits. Selected varieties, of which belgica, the early Dutch Honeysuckle, and serotina, the late Dutch Honeysuckle, are two of the best, are worth planting in gardesn. L. Tragophylla from China has attractive flowers, 2 ½ to 3 ½ in long. L. Tellmanniana, a hybrid of recent introduction, has exceptionally large yellow flowers tipped with red.

Hardy Bush Honeysuckles

Of the bush Honeysuckles, one of the best is L. Fragrantissima, a Chinese shrub 6-8 ft. High, bearing fragrant creamy-colored flowers on leafless branches during late winter or earliest spring. L. Standishii, another Chinese shrub, bears sweet-smelling creamy white flowers at the same season. L. Tataroca is a vigorous shrub, 8-10 ft. High, found wild in Russia to Turkestan: its flowers are usually pink and are produced freely in May-June. Some varieties have white flowers and others red, and may also have red fruit. They are a graceful shrub of a bluish-green foliage and grow 8-10 ft. tall.

There varieties such as L. Maackii, and L. Syringantha are natives of China. L.alpigena, the cherry Woodbine, is a native of Europe and L. Ledebouri is a Californian shrub 6-9 ft. High. It is very distinct by reason of the two large reddish bracts that surround each pair of orange, red-tinged flowers. After the flowers fall the bracts remain and their color becomes intensified, until the black fruits are thoroughly ripe.

Evergreen Shrubs

L. Nitida is a charming small-leaved evergreen bush from China. It makes a compact plant, 4-5 ft. High, and is a good hedge plant as far north as Philadelphia, especially for small gardens. It is easily increased by cuttings. L. Pileata is another evergreen shrub of about equal hardiness. It grows about a foot tall and has horizontal branches. L. Pileata is adaptable as a ground cover and is useful in rock gardens. Cutting provide an easy means of increase.

"Honeysuckle Vine"

Lonicera Japonica Halliana

The Japanese Honeysuckle has established itself and become a difficult to eradicate weed in the eastern United States, yet under some conditions it is an excellent plant to use as a ground cover on banks and in other difficult places. Neither it nor its varieties should ever be planted where they cannot be kept under control. These varieties are L. Japonica(Japanese Honeysuckle) can grow sometimes 20 ft. High and forms a dense tangle of slender stems, aureo-reticulata and the variety, Flexuosa and Halliana.

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