You will generally smell a Honeysuckle shrub before you see it, at least during the spring and summer when the flowers are in bloom. The sweet floral scent will waft through a yard or outdoor space and welcome the warm weather. Honeysuckle is a deciduous perennial that can be a shrub or a vine. Some cultivars are native to some regions of the U.S., while others are considered exotic. The flowers can be yellow, pink, red, purple, or a striking white, and the foliage may turn a bronzy hue in the fall, depending on the type.
Overall, this long-time gardener favorite is easy to maintain and adds a burst of color to an outdoor space. The lovely scented flowers attract hummingbirds and bees, and by fall, when the flowers transition into plump berries, birds and small animals will seek out the shrub.
Honeysuckle tends to thrive in partial light, although it can live in full sun to part shade. For best results, select a spot where the roots are in the shade, but the upper branches can reach towards the light. Scorching and sunny conditions can be overwhelming, so plant in a shady area if grown in a very hot climate. Rich soil with a high organic content and excellent drainage will support healthy growth. Drainage is crucial because Honeysuckle roots do not like to be soggy.
New plants need routine watering, and the soil should be consistently damp. Damp conditions enable the plant to establish a strong root system that will support the shrub going forward. Established plants are drought tolerant, which means they can handle dry conditions, but they will benefit from water during an extended dry spell. Give the plant an inch or two of water during a drought to support continued growth and ensure the plant thrives.
Fertile soil with high organic content is enough to keep Honeysuckle growing. Generally, this plant does well without much fuss, and fertilizing is unnecessary. However, if the soil quality is poor, or if you notice the plant is not blooming or growing as aggressively as it has in the past, then a dose of fertilizer can turn things around. Honeysuckle prefers a low-nitrogen fertilizer, so select a product with a 2-10-10 or 0-10-10 ratio. Too much nitrogen will support abundant foliage growth and sap energy from flower production.
Damaged or dead growth can be removed from a Honeysuckle shrub at any time of the growing season. This plant is a fast grower, so routine trimming can keep it looking sharp and well-maintained. Shape the plant after the flowers fall away. Unkept or overgrown plants can take a hard pruning, and up to one-third of the growth can be trimmed. Fall or winter, when the plant is dormant, is usually the best time for a rejuvenating cut.
Caring For Honeysuckle in Pots
As a deciduous perennial, Honeysuckle is more commonly grown in the ground, but this stunner also makes a wonderful container plant. One shrub needs a large container that measures 14- to 16-inches wide. Place in a sunny spot, but make sure the plant receives some relief from the heat if grown in a hot region. Water potted Honeysuckle when the top several inches of soil are dry. Container-grown plants need water more often, so select a pot that has drainage, preventing the roots from sitting in standing water.
Winter Care for Honeysuckle
Most varieties of Honeysuckle are winter hardy in USDA zones 4 through 10. Winter care is pretty minimal in most cases. Remove damaged growth as needed, and let the plant go dormant. Honeysuckle plants do not generally require any cover or protection from winter weather.
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