LONICERA – honeysuckle

A medium-sized group of evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous shrubs and climbers with woody stems that are grown for their beautiful, often fragrant, flowers. They can be trained, grown in tubs or as hedges.

Suitable site and soil. They do well in any reasonably fertile, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade.

Cultivation and care. Plants might need pruning after flowering to remove unwanted growth; hedges need trimming to remain bushy. Spring is the time to plant out evergreen climbers while deciduous or shrubby plants are best planted out in autumn or winter.

Propagation. Climbers are best layered in spring or autumn; shrubby types are increased from cuttings in summer.

Recommended varieties. The excellent deciduous climber L. periclymenum ‘Belgica’ (or early Dutch) grows up to 5.5m – 18ft and has deep, almost purple-red and yellow flowers produced in early summer. Another good climber is L.japon-ica growing up to 9m – 30ft, an evergreen with ‘furry’ leaves and fragrant pale yellow or white flowers produced from mid summer to autumn; a good variety is L.japonica ‘Aureoreticu-lata’ with yellow-veined leaves. A fine shrubby honeysuckle is L.Jragrantissima growing to about 1.8m – 6ft; it has very sweet-smelling, small creamy-white flowers produced in winter and early spring. L. nitida is good for hedges; L.n. ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ is attractive, with tiny, bright yellow leaves.

Pests and diseases. Prone to aphids and fungal infections.


L. nitida is densely branched and has small round leaves. It makes an attractive hedge up about 1.5m – 5ft. Plant about 30cm – 1 ft apart in moderately good soil and keep well trimmed,

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