Honeysuckle Vines

Lonicera japonica / periclymenum / x heckrottii / x brownii / x tellmanniana / caprifolium

The Honeysuckles are particularly liked for their blossoms and fragrance, however, they are fussy in terms of position and water provision. Nevertheless, if selected properly, they are invaluable for façade greening. Details about the various species see below.

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Lonicera henryi

Evergreen Honeysuckle

Evergreen, few blossoms

Lonicera japonica

Japanese Honeysuckle

Semi-evergreen, fragrance!

Lonicera brownii "Dropmore Scarlett"

Red Honeysuckle

Semi-evergreen, small

Lonicera heckrottii

Golden Flame Honeysuckle

For medium high trellises, fragrance!

Lonicera periclymenum

Common Honeysuckle

For high trellises, fragrance!

Lonicera tellmanniana

Tellmann's Honeysuckle

For (very) high trellises

Lonicera caprifolium

Early Cream Honeysuckle

Rarity with fragrance

Requirements

Prefers a sunny to semi-shaded position, not full sun exposure. In full shade the plant tends to become leafless and it may also become susceptible to mildew. Fresh to moist, nutrient rich and even heavy, clayey garden soils with some humus. The roots need to be protected from changes in temperatures and from drying out, hence the root area should be shaded, for example with a large rock. Locations with high humidity (eg along coastlines and inland waters), high groundwater level (water meadows; riverine floodplains) and protection from wind promote growth. Lack of water in a hot position leads without fail to heavy louse infestations.

Charateristics and Pruning

Twiner, moderate growth habit, light to medium stem formation. New shoots appear early, foliage from April to October; the "Evergreen or Henrys Honeysuckle is described separately. Some Lonicera species grow like shrubs.

 

Flower and Fruit

Commercially available are usually the species and hybrids with abundant, long-lasting blossoms; the native species being less in demand. Flower clusters depending on species either white, creme, yellow to orange, pink and red. Black, red or orange - mostly slightly poisonous - berries follow later on; bird food in autumn. Some species exude a heavy perfume in the evening and morning.

 

Pruning

Cutting back into the old wood to approx. 0.5 m height, before the young shoots appear, is necessary for at least some selected stems to prevent the plant from becoming bare. A summer cut into green shoots is unproblematic and encourages branching.

Climbing Plant Support System

Rods or wire ropes with horizontal support ropes to prevent collapsing, horizontal rods or similar.. fence mesh, pergolas, arbours etc.. For suitable support systems refer below. Light and Medium Support Systems but better Heavy Duty Support Systems.

Lonicera periclymenum

(European or Common Honeysuckle; Woodbine)

This is the only truly native or wild honeysuckle, which can be found eg in Jutland or in the coastal forests along the Baltic Sea. Commercially available are almost without exception the more abundant, more striking and long flowering cultivars of the indigenous honeysuckle, usually with lush dark green foliage, such as "Serotina", "Belgica" and "Thomas Graham." Flowering time from June to September, after this initial main flowering, plants may flower again in batches.

In comparison with the very similar cultivars of L. x heckrottii, the indigenous L. periclymenum grows more vigorously, is a stronger twiner and can be trained to greater heights. Lovely fragrance!