How to grow Lonicera Honeysuckle
How to grow Lonicera common name Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle is a much loved garden plant grown for it's beautiful, sweet scent. It is both a climbing plant and a shrub and comes from a genus of around 120 evergreen and deciduous shrubs and twining climbers. Honeysuckle is easy to grow and for the best results it needs to be carefully planted in the right place after which it needs little attention. Climbers are best grown with the benefit of a really sunny spot, but with their roots in the shade. Shrubby Honeysuckle will grow in sun or partial shade. It is a woodland plant and it's ideal conditions are to have roots and lower plant in shade and top in sun. This is not easy to achieve and I find it grows best if planted not in the hottest part of garden.
Pruning requirements are a little complicated so it is best to keep the label as it varies with the different varieties of Lonicera. Climbing honeysuckle which flower in the summer such as Lonicera japonica do not need to be pruned just cut off weedy growth or cut back of becoming too large. If the Honeysuckle flowers earlier in the year cut back after flowering which will be around mid-late summer. Honeysuckle can be quite rampant and so if any variety is getting just too large and overgrown cut back by about 1/3 after flowering. A good mulch in the spring is ideal. Prune shrubby Lonicera after flowering which again will be mid to late summer.
One of the main reasons for growing Honeysuckle is the scent so it is important to pick a variety with scent as not all varieties are as sweet and powerful. There are varieties which look very attractive, will produce good berries, but are not scented such as Lonicera × brownii 'Dropmore Scarlet'.
The best varieties of Honeysuckle to grow for scent are Lonicera japonica 'Hallina' AGM image left which is a vigorous climber. L. periclymenum 'Graham Thomas' AGM is very sweet as is Lonicera periclymenum 'Heaven Scent' which is as the name suggests, is very scented. All honeysuckles produce lovely berries which are picked off by the birds in the autumn and winter. The scent of a Honeysuckle is strongest at dusk and is attractive to moths. Ideas for plants which are attractive to bees butterflies and birds
Honeysuckle can be prone to aphids and given their attraction to wildlife it is a shame to spray them unless with soap and water to wash off the aphids. If blackspot is a problem you can prune off the worst affected after flowering and healthy growth should come back the following year.