Grow North America’s Native Honeysuckle for Non-Invasive, Long-Lasting Color

| 2/21/2019 9:44:00 AM


Nowadays when someone mentions honeysuckle, they’re usually complaining about that sweetly fragrant, infuriatingly invasive thug from Asia, Lonicera japonica, aka ‘Japanese Honeysuckle’, that’s taking over their woodlands. I am delighted to discuss here a little-known native Coral Honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens, that you may make a nice home for in your own garden.

Growing Coral Honeysuckle

I’ve been growing and propagating this very manageable vine for decades and it’s still on my favorites list. I have it planted every 24 inches along a 7 ½-foot high deer fence, and the deer have not found it to their liking, never even nibbling on it.

As an experiment, I tried growing it without support and found that the vine makes an interesting groundcover as it sprawls over the earth.

Although a woodland plant, I’ve concluded that the flowering is much more profuse when given some sun. On the pure species, the trumpet-shaped clusters of long-lasting flowers are a coral color and appear from May through June.

Their beauty forgives their lack of fragrance, at least to us homo sapiens that is. I’ve observed the flowers visited by a vast array of pollinators, including hummingbirds, butterflies and various species of bees. There are several named selections, Nativars, that range from bright red to bright yellow.

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