Lonicera: Potted Perennial Plant
How to Plant
Planting in the Garden:
- Select a location in rich, moist soil in full sun or partial shade. Lonicera can tolerate urban conditions. Consider that the vines will need something to climb on such as a trellis, arbor, side of a building, or climbing over sprubs.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12 inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
- The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
- Plant on a cloudy day or in late afternoon to reduce transplant shock.
- Dig a hole for each plant, approximately 3-8 feet apart depending on the variety, large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
- Unpot the plant and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root growth.
- Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
- Use the plant tag as a location marker.
- Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their germination.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For perennials, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
- Careful watering is essential in getting perennials off to a good start. Water thoroughly at least once a week to help new roots grow down deeply. Soil should be damp at about 1 inch below the soil surface. You can check this by sticking your finger in the soil. Water early in the morning to give all leaves enough time to dry. One inch of rain or watering per week is recommended for most perennial plants. You can check to see if you need to add water by using a rain gauge.
- Until plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary. Good air movement is also important.
- After new growth appears, a light fertilizer may be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Use low rates of a slow release fertilizer such as Garden-tone, as higher rates may encourage root rots.
- Prune as needed after flowering to keep plants within bounds.
- Lonicera berries in fall are popular with birds.
- Honeysuckle is a great plant to cover a pergola or arbor, and some varieties are deliciously fragrant.
Common Disease Problems
Canker: Sunken areas containing dead tissue on a stem or branch. Can cause foliage on infected branches to turn yellow or brown and wilt. Can girdle and kill limbs or entire plants. Burpee Recommends: Provide plants with proper cultural care to keep them strong and limit disease. Prune out infected branches, limbs, etc when first observed.
Cercospora Leaf Blight: Small flecks which develop a yellowish halo appear on the leaves and turn brown and coalesce. They cause the leaves to wither and die. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants and destroy all plant debris. Rotate crops.
Powdery Mildew: This fungus disease occurs on the top of the leaves in humid weather conditions. The leaves appear to have a whitish or greyish surface and may curl. Burpee Recommends: Avoid powdery mildew by providing good air circulation for the plants by good spacing and keeping weeds under control. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.
Stem Canker: This fungus affects the leaves and stems of honeysuckle. It causes blackish brown spots that may appear grey or white in the center. As the disease progresses the tissue dies and black spores are visible. The disease can enter a plant through a wound. Burpee Recommends: Avoid damaging vines when handling to avoid abrasions. Prune off dead plant parts and destroy to avoid spreading spores.
Yellow Leaves: This is not a disease but is a sign of a nutrient deficiency. It can also be a sign of over watering or not enough sun. Burpee Recommends: Apply an organic fertilizer as needed. Plant in full sun to light shade. Make sure the soil is well drained.
Common Pest and Cultural Problems
Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.
Caterpillars: Caterpillars may chew holes in the leaves. Burpee Recommends: Handpick and remove caterpillars. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.
Japanese Beetles: Burpee Recommends: Hand pick early in the morning into a bucket of soapy water.
Scale: Small bugs look like brown, black, gray to white bumps on the stems of plants. Scale may not have any apparent legs and may not move. Scales have a sucking mouth part. Scale may produce honeydew so leaves and stems may be sticky. Scale can weaken the plant causing it to grow very slowly and may wilt at the middle of the day. Burpee Recommends: Completely spray the stems with Insecticidal soap. For a severe infestation contact your local County Extension Service for recommendation for your area.
Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.
Is Major Wheeler fragrant? No, Major Wheeler is not a fragrant variety. Mint Crisp is fragrant.
Can I grow honeysuckle in a container? We do not recommend these vines for containers, they are too large and vigorous.
Are honeysuckles good pollinator plants? Yes, they attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Are honeysuckles deer resistant? Yes, they do tend to be deer resistant.
How long does it take for honeysuckle to grow? Usually happy plants will grow quickly, from 7-10 feet per year depending on the variety.