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Honeysuckles thrive in full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. The honeysuckle produces trumpet-shaped, strongly fragrant flowers in spring to mid-summer. Shrub types grow 6 to 15 feet tall, whereas vine types grow 10 to 25 feet tall. Plant honeysuckle in spring or fall in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4a to 9b. The honeysuckle is vulnerable to leaf roller, aphids, scale insects, powdery mildew, blights and leaf spot.Most of us think of honeysuckles as twining climbers with pretty, scented tubular flowers, perfect for covering walls, fences and pergolas. But there are also evergreen, shrubby types that make excellent hedging or topiary. Both belong to the genus Lonicera and there are many different cultivars, hailing from Europe, Asia, the Mediterranean and North America. Lonicera periclymenum (wild honeysuckle, common honeysuckle or woodbine) is native to the UK.
Shrubby honeysuckles can be deciduous or evergreen. Evergreen types such as Lonicera nitida (now renamed as Lonicera ligustrina var. yunnanensis) have small leaves that are similar to those of box, and are often used to create hedges or even topiary. If you have had problems with box blight or box tree caterpillar on your box plants, Lonicera nitida makes a sensible alternative. Lonicera fragrantissima and Lonicera x purpusii are deciduous and bear deliciously scented flowers in winter.Grow climbing honeysuckles in moist but well-drained soil in partial shade, ideally with the roots in shade but the stems in sun, such as at the base of a west-facing wall or fence. Give them a sturdy frame to climb up, such as a trellis or wire frame. Water plants in dry spells and feed with a general purpose fertiliser in spring. Grow shrubby honeysuckles in moist but well drained soil in sun or partial shade.
The scent of climbing honeysuckle is stronger when plants are grown in a warm spot. A new variety, ‘Strawberries and Cream’, is low growing and more suitable for pots.Deciduous shrubby honeysuckles can be pruned after flowering in late spring or summer. If your plant is very overgrown, you can cut it back hard in late winter or early spring. In this clip from Gardeners’ World, Monty Don prunes a winter-flowering honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima, showing where and how much to cut in order to generate new shoots that will carry fragrant blooms next winter and early spring.Climbing honeysuckles can be propagated from their berries. Extract the seeds from the berries and sow them straight away in pots of garden soil. Leave the seeds to germinate in a cold frame or put the seeds in the refrigerator over winter, then bring them back out in spring – a temperature of 15°C is required before the seeds will germinate. (Source: www.gardenersworld.com)