One of my best memories is sitting with your beloved ones under a huge Honeysuckle vine in Pennsylvania. And sucking the nectar out of the ends of the gold and white blossom. Honeysuckles are arching shrubs or twining bines in the family Caprifoliaceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere.
More than 180 species of honeysuckle have been identified so far. Therefore 100 species can be found in China, 20 native species identified in Europe, 20 in India, and 20 in North America.
It wasn’t till long afterward that realized that not all honeysuckles were vines. That just as many of them were shrubs and that among the vining ones. Not all of them grew as lushly as that childhood twinning ones.
They bloom attractively and are quite varied in both their flowers and their berries. Hall’s honeysuckle or “Lonicera” japonica “Halliana” is the one familiar to most people.
It has white flowers that turn to gold in late spring and thereafter, followed by blackberries. The foliage turns a nice bronze color in fall. A Japanese plant is now naturalized in this country and hardy as well. It requires strong support unless grown as a ground cover and can be very rampant if not controlled by pruning.
If you want a more manageable vine, choose Henry honeysuckle “L.Henryi”, which is hardy and has red flowers a bit later than those of Hall’s, or try gold flame honeysuckle “L. x heckrottii”, hardy to and long-blooming red flowers.
Even try to trumpet Honeysuckle because of its restrained growth and late bloom. It helps to keep the hummingbirds around in July and August. Numerous species of honeysuckle have become invasive when introduced outside their native range, particularly in New Zealand and the United States.
Honeysuckle gets its name because edible sweet nectar can be sucked from the flowers. If you want to grow Honeysuckle vines will grow in most soils, and in sun or shade, but they bloom best in full sun and in soil that is fairly moist. Don’t feed the vigorous ones, and restrain them by pruning unless you are using them to control erosion and want rampant growth.
Banish aphids as needed with a soap spray and propagate by seed, softwood cutting, or layering. Moreover, honeysuckles are valued as garden plants, for their ability to cover unsightly walls and outbuildings, their profuse tubular flowers in summer, and the penetrating fragrance of several varieties.