How to Grow Winter Flowering Honeysuckle

Winter flowering Honeysuckle, Latin name Lonicera fragrantissim, is a semi-evergreen shrub. If you are looking for winter scent, it is hard to beat. Winter Honeysuckle is one of the most highly scented of shrubs. It combines the sweet perfume of honeysuckle with a citrusy scent.

This variety of honeysuckle will grow in full sun or light shade, although it's true to say it probably flowers best in full sun. It is often planted near a door or path, to enjoy the scent, but it is said to flower best when planted against a wall for additional warmth and shelter.   

The images above show a close-up of the flowers in bloom spotted in January and February. The first image shows that the shrub itself doesn't amount too much,  but the scent of the flowers is heavenly. I can honestly say in full bloom, is one of the best.

Winter flowering honeysuckle blooms from mid December and through to March with small creamy white, highly scented flowers. It varies from winter to winter.  I took the image on the far right in mid January 2024 and it is just coming into flower.

L. fragrantissim will grow on any soil type, provided it is reasonably well drained. It is fully hardy growing to around a height of 2m spread 4m.

It is deciduous, and the flowers appear on bare stems, and later the leaves.  It tends to look a bit uninteresting after it has flowered. 

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How to prune Winter flowering Honeysuckle

Lonicera fragrantissim does not require  regular pruning, although its size can be checked by pruning. The best time to prune is after flowering around late March/April and about a third of shoots can be removed, if required.

Winter flowering Honeysuckle forms its flowers on wood grown from spring onwards for the following year, known as flowering on 'old wood'. This means it is very important not to prune it after around the end of April otherwise you risk pruning off next year's winter flowers. It can be vigorous, particularly if the growing conditions are good. This type of winter flowering Honeysuckle, once established, will tolerate a hard prune if needed.

updated 16.01.2024