Pruning Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle bush is a perennial that can create a lovely border or privacy screen or quickly become a focal point during the summer when the sweetly scented flowers bloom. This plant is easy to maintain, and the shrub varieties have an excellent natural shape. Pruning Honeysuckle may be necessary to keep the plant looking lush and healthy, rejuvenate growth, or prevent it from overtaking a landscape. 

Deadheading or removing spent flowers is not necessary. Removing the flowers will not encourage more growth, and the blooms turn into berries that provide additional seasonal interest, so most gardeners choose to let the flowers naturally fall away. Honeysuckle maintenance is easy, and learning how and when to cut the plant back will help the plant thrive.


When to Prune Honeysuckle

Damaged or dead branches can be removed from a Honeysuckle shrub at any time. Spring is the best time of the year to prune Honeysuckle. If your plant has some wayward branches or is lopsided and just needs to be cleaned up and shaped, then prune the Honeysuckle shrub after the flowers fade in late spring. It is best to shape the plant after the flowers fade so you can still enjoy the striking blooms. 

Overgrown plants can be cut back in late winter or early spring before new growth appears. Cutting the plant back will help it come back more full and lush. Trimming overgrown Honeysuckle during the early spring allows plenty of time for the plant to regroup and push out growth in time for the spring bloom.


Why Prune Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle is usually pruned for aesthetic reasons. This perennial shrub naturally maintains a good form, but giving it a trim can help it look its best. Long, unwieldy branches can make the plant look shabby and messy. Random branches extending beyond the plant’s main structure are more likely to be damaged in high winds or a storm, so keeping the branches close to the same size minimizes the risk of damage. Giving a straggly plant a hard cut before new growth emerges will allow the plant to send out new shoots and develop healthier branching, resulting in a dense and full shrub.


How to Prune Honeysuckle

Step 1 - Inspect the plant for damage

Broken or dead branches can be removed to keep the plant healthy. Cut back before the damage or until all of the dead growth is removed.

Step 2 - Maintain the shape of the plant

Trim back branches that grow beyond the general form or give the shrub an unbalanced, lopsided look.

Step 3 - Give the plant a hard prune

Overgrown plants can be cut back in late winter or early spring. Trim crossed branches or straggly growth to maintain the general shape of the plant. Branches should be trimmed just after a growth point.

Honeysuckle Pruning Tips

  • Remove dead or broken branches as needed.
  • Trim branches that extend beyond the general form of the plant and look distracting after the flowers fade.
  • Cut back overgrown Honeysuckle plants in the early spring.
  • Cut branches right after a node to encourage more branching.

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 Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 07-21-2022