LONICERA: Honeysuckle Vines
Top 5 Honeysuckle Vines
Lonicera x americana
Chosen as “the best of the genus” by the folks at Xera plants, this twining honeysuckle has pink buds opening to large creamy flowers with pink edges and a “sophisticated and powerful” perfume. The flowers alone make this plant garden worthy, but add to that a firm resistance to aphid and mildew problems and you’ve got a home run. Loses its leaves in winter, grows to 12’ in 5 years, likes sun, resists drought but appreciates a few deep drinks in summer. Hardy to USDA zone 6a, -15° to -10° f (Photo credit to Xera Plants)
Goldflame Honeysuckle – Hot pink flower buds open to gold flowers with heavenly scent from May thru frost followed by red fruit that birds love. Purple new leaves turn blue-green in summer and drop in winter. Grows fast to 15’, larger in time. Likes full sun, regular water and a strong structure to grow on. Hardy to USDA zone 4, -30° to -20° f
Evergreen Honeysuckle – Subdued purple-red scented tubular flowers with yellow throats bloom in June & July. Dark green glossy lance-shape foliage looks different than most other climbing Honeysuckles and is evergreen in Portland. Fruit is blue. Better behaved than its cousins, L. henryi can get large in time if left unchecked, but can be kept to 10 feet. Likes sun, part shade. Hardy to USDA zone 5, -20° to -10° f
Japanese Honeysuckle – Heavily scented white or yellow flowers cover plants in June and July and return sporadically through summer. Deciduous foliage varies per variety, being lime green on some and purple-tinged on others. Japanese Honeysuckle grows very rapidly requiring a sturdy support structure and regular training and pruning to be kept in check. Beware! It absolutely can get out of control! Listed at 15’ in some references, we think more like 30’ plus. Likes sun, part shade is OK. Hardy USDA zone 6, -10° to 0° f
Dutch Honeysuckle or Woodbine is a group of scented honeysuckle with particularly reliable and attractive fruiting, good for birds. Plants are unfortunately very inclined to aphid and mildew problems. Invest heavily in Ladybugs. Sun to part shade. Hardy USDA zone 5, -20° to -10°f
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.