The climbing varieties of honeysuckle (lonicera) bear sumptuous, often sweetly scented blooms from early summer to autumn. Some also have attractive evergreen foliage. Growing climbing honeysuckle vines in your garden can add amazing displays of cascading flowers. Bees will LOVE your garden! And so will you 😉
Why Grow Climbing Honeysuckle Vines
Honeysuckles are among the most popular and easy to grow groups of climbing shrubs for the garden. Most are fully hardy.
Their twining habit makes them ideally suited to scramble through other shrubs or trees and, with suitable wire or trellis support, to be grown against a wall or fence.
Some can also be used as ground cover. They range in height from around 6 feet to 15 feet or more.
Most varieties have attractive glossy green deciduous foliage, but some are semi evergreen or evergreen. One popular variety, Lonicera Aureoreticulata, has pretty gold-veined semi evergreen leaves.
Different varieties thrive in different situations, some preferring full sun, but most liking at least some shade. Follow the grower’s instructions for your particular variety.
However, they also like their roots to be in cool, shady soil, so if you’re planting in full sunlight, shade the root area with under-planting or flagstones.
Always plant at least a foot away from any wall to avoid the dry zone.
Honeysuckles like a rich but well drained soil, so dig in plenty of peat or compost and fertilizer when planting. Don’t plant too deeply.
Pruning Honeysuckle Bushes
Climbing honeysuckles don’t normally need pruning except to contain their size. However, cut back any weak shoots to encourage stronger growth.
When it is necessary to prune, it’s best done in the late fall, once the vine goes dormant.
Honeysuckle pests and diseases
Most honeysuckle vine species are disease resistant, but all are vulnerable to aphids. If you catch them early enough, and there’s only a few of them, you might be able to chase them off with a stream of water from the hose.
If your honeysuckle bush is invaded with aphids, you’ll need to use an insecticidal soap.
Honeysuckle vines can also be attacked by caterpillars. Pick them off the vines as son as you see them.
Among the most attractive and popular varieties, most of which are available from nurseries and internet suppliers are:
- Lonicera x Americana – scented 1 ½ – 2 inch yellow/cream flowers maturing white from mid summer to autumn. Height 10-15 feet. Prefers a sheltered position in sun or shade.
- Lonicera brownii Dropmore Scarlet – 1 ½ – 2 inch orange/scarlet flowers with orange throats from mid summer to autumn. Height 10-12 feet. Prefers part shade.
- Lonicera x heckrottii Goldflame – scented 1 ½ – 2 inch pink flowers with orange throats from early to late summer. Height 10-12 feet. Prefers a sheltered position in sun or part shade.
- Lonicera henryi – scented 1 ½ – 2 inch yellow/flowers with a flush of pink in early and mid summer to autumn. Height 10-15 feet. Tolerates sun or shade.
- Lonicera Aureoreticulata – small but fragrant white flowers from mid summer to autumn. Attractive yellow and green veined semi evergreen foliage. Good as ground cover. Height 10-15 feet. Prefers part shade.
- Lonicera periclymenum – the native European and SE Asian honeysuckle or woodbine. The two generally available cultivated varieties are: Lonicera periclymenum Belgica (dense heads of fragrant pink and red flower in mid summer followed by red berries). Height 10 – 12 feet. Tolerates sun or shade. And Lonicera periclymenum Serotina, the late Dutch honeysuckle, (profuse, fragrant purple red and white flowers from mid summer to early autumn, coppery leaves and purple red autumn berries). Height 10 – 12 feet. Prefers part shade.
- Lonicera x tellmaniana – large clusters of copper yellow flowers with a red flush in late spring and early summer. Height 10 – 12 feet. Tolerates sun or shade.
Alternatives to Honeysuckle
Other ornamental flowering climbing plants to consider along with honeysuckle are:
Honeysuckle Vine Pictures
The climbing honeysuckle vine have beautifully ornate flowers in a wide range of colors. From pure white to pink, gold, orange-scarlet, deep red to purple and bi-colored combinations. Many varieties have a wonderful fragrance.
This is the most popular look for the climbing honeysuckle vines: at least this is what I remember from my childhood.
What a beautiful combination of colors! I love the mixture of yellow white and purple-pink in these flowers!
The deeper colors of this one are lovely! I wonder if this picture was taken after a rain, when everything is more vibrant!
How beautiful! I can only imagine the hummingbirds hovering around this brightly color honeysuckle bush!