Top 5 Honeysuckle Shrubs
Lonicera fragrantissima - Winter Honeysuckle – White, very fragrant flowers bloom on bare branches in mid to late winter. The scent is to die for but the shrub, however, is just alright. Sort of a vine, sort of a shrub, the plant develops into a broad irregular tangled mass providing great cover for birds. Foliage is green and turns yellow-brown in fall. Best planted in a spot that is passed-by regularly in winter during bloom, but that can disappear into the background in summer. Prefers sun to part shade. Hardy to USDA zone 4
Lonicera nitida Boxleaf Honeysuckle – Reliable, tidy shrubby evergreen plants grow to between 4-6 feet tall & wide. Flowers are creamy and fragrant but are really secondary to the great ease and usefulness of the plants. All varieties are hardy in Portland & like full sun to part shade. Some of our favorite varieties are:
'Baggeson's Gold' – Chartreuse to gold small leaves and a dense, mounded, almost haystack habit. Prunes very well and can be kept lower with regular pruning. Baggeson’s Gold can burn in blazing afternoon sun, so reflected heat is a no-no. Conversely it will loose its gold color in too much shade. An east-facing side of the house is ideal.
‘Lemon Beauty’ – Leaves are a bit larger than ‘Baggeson’s Gold’ and have clear gold and green variegation that is most pronounced on new growth. Habit is ideal. Well-behaved, sort of button-like without gawky branching.
‘Red Tip’ – A favorite of many staff members, ‘Red Tip’ has as you may have guessed, red tips on the new growth, turning green with age. Leaves are larger than other types and rounder with a more open branching pattern that can be awkward, but can be corrected with pruning or patience.
Lonicera tatarica 'Arnold Red' Tartarian Honeysuckle – Old fashioned favorite with bright pink flowers in May that resemble butterflies. Red fruit comes in August. Tall arching branches reach 10-12’, so allow plenty of space. Best flowering happens in full sun. Hardy to USDA zone 3
Photo credits: Monrovia, Doreen Wynja
Genus: Lonicera – Named for German naturalist Adam Lonitzer (1528-1586)
Common name: Honeysuckle
Origin: Native to the Northern Hemisphere
Characteristics: Around 180 species of deciduous or evergreen shrubs and vines make up the Honeysuckle genus.
Leaves are opposite and are often fused, forming a disc. Flowers are often tubular forming a deep throat, attracting birds and bees, and are often fragrant. Seedy fruit follows flowers.
Culture: Honeysuckles are very adaptable, enjoying many soil types and varying pH with the exception being very wet boggy soil. They thrive in full sun to part shade. Hardiness varies depending on species.
Pruning: Pruning should happen directly after flowering. Vines will need training during their rapid growth phase and (at least) yearly pruning to keep them where you want them. If plants become overgrown and gangly they can be pruned hard to the ground and they will grow back with multiple shoots.
Pests: Aphids and Powdery Mildew seem to be the worst problems in Portland. Several treatments are effective and readily available.