Honeysuckle – Plant of the Week (28th June)

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Honeysuckle is a plant that I grow for its scent rather than it’s looks. However, as a climber it is useful to cover a fence or wall with pretty flowers, and foliage that lasts throughout the seasons. Traditionally used in cottage gardens, they evoke a romantic feel in a garden. If you’re considering a honeysuckle, consider where to place it so you can enjoy its heady scent as much as possible. Consider placing it by a seating area or a door so you get a waft as you walk by.

Pink honeysuckle against a black background.
Image by Beverly Buckley from Pixabay

There are many types of honeysuckle. They come in colours such as whites, yellows, oranges, pinks and reds; and some can change colour throughout the season. If you want a fantastic display, deciduous honeysuckles will provide that over evergreen/semi-evergreen varieties. It’s a good idea to provide a trellis or wires for it to scramble over if you want your plant to climb well. If you live in an area where there are hummingbirds, I’ve been told that they are particularly keen on the nectar. Unfortunately for me, there are no hummingbirds in the UK!

Other Names for Honeysuckle

The latin “Lonicera” is used for all types of honeysuckle. Adam Lonicer was a Renaissance botanist.

Honeysuckle Likes

Due to the nature of climbing plants climbing a wall or fence, they can become dry due to being in a rain shadow. Even if it’s rained, it’s a good idea to keep watering your honeysuckle once a week to keep it hydrated.

Honeysuckle Dislikes

Honeysuckles tend to do better if they are not in full sun. They can be susceptible to powdery mildew. Therefore, to try to prevent this, mulch the plant in late spring to help retain moisture in the soil.

Close up of a yellow honeysuckle in the rain.
Image by Brian Clark from Pixabay

Special Care

Do not deadhead the plants so that the berries can form later in the season and provide interest in the garden for a longer time period. Rejuvenation pruning can be done on bare, overgrown specimens. This entails stems being cut down to about 60cm. This could inhibit flower production for a short while, but in the long term will result in a more productive plant.

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