The delicious scent of honeysuckle wafting on the air is a sheer pleasure to experience. And honeysuckle flowers bring out the kid in anyone who dares pick one and taste of the sweetness. Besides the folks who love honeysuckle, animals of all types adore this pretty, flowering plant that goes to berries in the fall. If your goal is to attract butterflies, bees, birds, or even deer into your garden, try growing honeysuckle.
Honeysuckle varieties include vining types that will reach up to cover trellises quickly. There are some vining varieties that are glad to stretch out to cover the ground, too. Some honeysuckle varieties can be enjoyed in bush form. There’s a honeysuckle for everyone, and anyone can grow it easily.
Honeysuckle made its way to the U.S. from Europe and Asia. There are some varieties native to the U.S., too. All honeysuckle grows well in sunny, woodland areas.
How to Grow Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle can be planted in early spring. They enjoy sunshine and a good soil mix infused with sand for drainage and compost for food. At the beginning of the growing season, you can feed your honeysuckle a good, balanced fertilizer, but less is more with feeding a honeysuckle. One feeding a year is plenty.
At the time of planting, water your honeysuckle thoroughly. Continue to keep your new plant well watered. Once new growth appears on the plant, back off to a moderate watering schedule unless your summer heat is dry and intense.
There are several ways to acquire new honeysuckle plants. Honeysuckle seeds can be sown direct in spring or fall. Honeysuckle can often be purchased in containers for transplanting into the ground. And honeysuckle is an easy plant to start from cuttings. Take a cutting from a plant with new growth showing. The best time to take a cutting from a honeysuckle with new growth is in early spring.
After you’ve taken a cutting, dip it in rooting hormone and plant it directly into moist potting soil. Or, put the cutting into a jar of water. Keep the water clean by changing it out regularly. Within a couple of weeks you should see the new roots begin to develop. Plant the rooted end into soil. You can start it in a container, or you can plant it directly into your garden once the danger of frost has past.
Bush Versus Vine Honeysuckle
Bush honeysuckle is often non-native, and they easily overtake surrounding vegetation. They should be avoided in some areas. Check your local extension office for information concerning invasive species to avoid. If native bush honeysuckle is available in your area, stick with those varieties. Space your bush honeysuckle plants a couple of feet apart to allow them plenty of elbow room. Bush honeysuckles will grow well in the sun or in the shade.
Vining honeysuckles should be planted a couple of feet apart, too. Leave about a foot of space between your plant and the trellis or other support structure you will use for your honeysuckle. Your honeysuckle vines will be fragile, so try not to move them around much. Make sure they are supported by their intended structure. And vining honeysuckle need lots of sunshine.
Controlling Honeysuckle (invasive and how to control bush and vine)
Some honeysuckle types, both bush and vining, are listed as invasive species in many areas. Avoid planting invasive species. To avoid growing invasive honeysuckle, it’s important to identify the differences between native and non-natives characteristics.
Native honeysuckle is identified by their pink to red flowers. Stems of native honeysuckle species are solid when sliced. Look for native vining and bush varieties as opposed to the non-native types. Non-native honeysuckles, with a few exceptions, bloom with white and yellow blossoms. They’re often multi-trunked, too. Non-native honeysuckle stems are hollow when you slice them.
If you already have a non-native bush honeysuckle, you can control it by pulling any new seedlings as they appear. To inhibit plant spread, cut the flowering tops off of the honeysuckle and place them in plastic bags to dispose of. This will help prevent the plant from going to berry and being spread by birds. To destroy an invasive bush honeysuckle, cut it to the ground. When it grows back, cut it back again. Eventually, it will die.
An herbicide can be applied to a cut stump too. The herbicide will hasten the process, but the chemicals may impact neighboring plants, too.
Japanese vining honeysuckle is the primary invasive vining species. It is best controlled by cutting it down to ground level and burning it or spraying it with an herbicide.
Growing Honeysuckle in a Pot
Honeysuckles don’t grow well indoors, but a container full of honeysuckle outside is a delight. Honeysuckle grown in a container is another good way to control non-native invasive spread. Your honeysuckle in a pot should be grown in much the same way as one in the garden.
Plant your potted honeysuckle in good potting soil. Set your plant where it will receive plenty of sun. Water your honeysuckle well, especially if it doesn’t receive much rain. After your honeysuckle flowers, prune it so that berries won’t develop. And again, toss those spent flowers into plastic when you dispose of them. And enjoy the fragrance and beauty of your honeysuckle!
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