Plant and care for honeysuckle

Plant and care for honeysuckle

Plant honeysuckle correctly

If you pay attention to the following process for planting, the growth will go in the right direction from the start:

  • Soak the still potted young plant in water for at least 10 minutes
  • In the meantime, dig a planting pit in the loosened, weed-free soil
  • Mix the excavated material with ripe compost, horn shavings (€ 6.39 at Amazon *) and a handful of vital lime

also read

  • Planting the honeysuckle: how to do it right!
  • Which location is ideal for the honeysuckle?
  • The honeysuckle - features of this climber

Pot the honeysuckle and place in the soil up to the root neck. If it is a looping honeysuckle plant, tie the lower tendrils to the climbing aid. After the plant has received an ample dose of irrigation water, spread another layer of mulch.

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Care tips

The honeysuckle requires little care. Successful cultivation revolves around these aspects:

  • Water regularly, directly on the root area
  • Fertilize organically every 2 weeks from March to June
  • Cut back after flowering by a maximum of a third
  • Perform main pruning in February / March
  • Thinning out the bush at least once a year

Light winter protection is recommended in the year of planting, in exposed locations and in the tub.

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Which location is suitable?

The diverse family of plants, the honeysuckle, may differ considerably in terms of growth and appearance; With regard to the location, however, there is harmony:

  • Sunny to partially shaded location
  • Shady locations reduce the abundance of flowers and fruit decorations
  • Drought and heat are tolerated

Audience favorites like 'Jelängerjelieber' like to hold their heads in the sun while their feet are shaded. With regard to the choice of location, physical proximity to cherry trees must be avoided. The dreaded cherry fruit fly also attacks the pea-sized berries of a honeysuckle and moves from there to nearby cherry trees to destroy the harvest.

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The correct planting distance

A planting distance for the climbing honeysuckle on a climbing aid is well chosen if it is between 0.5 and 0.8 meters. For an upright honeysuckle in rows plant 3-4 specimens per square meter. If you prefer a small shrub as a ground cover, such as Lonicera nitida, we recommend a planting distance of 45 centimeters.

What soil does the plant need?

The undemanding honeysuckle thrives in any good garden soil that is nutritious, humic, calcareous and fresh and moist. Commercially available compost-based potting soil in the bucket meets the expectations of the ornamental wood, optimized with a little sand for best permeability.

What is the best time to plant?

The best time to plant ornamental trees is autumn. This applies regardless of whether you are planting a climbing or an upright honeysuckle plant. The soil has been warmed up by the summer sun, so that the roots can gain a foothold in good time before winter. Alternatively, put the honeysuckle in the thawed soil in the spring.

When is the flowering time?

The central flowering period begins in May and lasts until July. If you don't want to miss out on a splash of color in the garden in winter, combine it with the winter honeysuckle (Lonicera purpusii), which presents countless cream-white flowers from December to April.

Cut the honeysuckle correctly

With the right pruning, you control growth and prevent the shrub from aging from below. Thanks to the robust and frugal constitution, the date for the cut is not firmly cemented. How to handle it properly:

  • Honeysuckle cut by a third immediately after flowering
  • Alternatively, do the pruning in the fall by up to 50 percent
  • Thoroughly thin out the bush with each cut

In addition, the ornamental wood tolerates the removal or shortening of shoots that grow out of the form.

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Water the honeysuckle

The honeysuckle prefers to stretch its roots in a moist substrate that neither dries out completely nor is constantly soaked. So check the soil with a thumb test and only water if it feels dry in the upper 2-3 centimeters.

Fertilize the honeysuckle properly

A sufficient supply of nutrients is one of the pillars of professional care. If you prefer organic fertilization, work compost and horn shavings into the soil every 2 weeks from March to July (€ 6.39 at Amazon *). On potted plants, fertilize with nettle and comfrey manure or worm tea. Alternatively, you can apply a mineral-organic starter fertilizer in March and a special preparation with an NPK concentration of 5-8-10 at the beginning of flowering.


All honeysuckle family are susceptible to powdery mildew and downy mildew. So avoid sprinkling flowers and leaves for the water supply. If a floury-white coating spreads on the foliage, cut out infected parts of the plant immediately. Mix fresh milk and water in a ratio of 1: 9 and spray the mixture repeatedly on the top and bottom of the leaves.

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So that the dreaded cherry fruit fly does not mess about a lovingly cared for honeysuckle, cherry maggot traps from Neudorff or Compo hang in the bush at the beginning of the flight season in mid-May and repeatedly spray vermouth tea. In addition, underplanting with lilies of the valley keeps the pests away from the ornamental shrubs.


The honeysuckle has sufficient winter hardiness that does not require any special precautions in the bed. In the year of planting, in rough locations and in the tub, we still recommend light winter protection:

  • Pile foliage soil at the root area and cover with needle twigs
  • In the first winter, wrap young shoots with jute or set up reed mats in front of them
  • Place the bucket on wood or styrofoam and wrap it with bubble wrap

In winters with clear frost, the shrub is threatened by drought stress. Therefore, water on frost-free days when the snow cannot be seen.

Propagate honeysuckle

Hobby gardeners want several copies of such an easy-to-care-for plant in their garden. Propagation is so uncomplicated with head cuttings that you can save the money for purchasing a young plant. This is how the procedure works:

  • In early summer, cut off 10-15 cm long shoots just below a leaf knot
  • Defoliate the cuttings except for one pair of leaves and plant two-thirds in poor substrate
  • Put a plastic bag over it, support it with wooden sticks and place it in the partially shaded place
  • Water regularly from below until a fresh shoot appears

Then remove the hood, repot in normal substrate and plant in the bed in autumn. Do not let the soil dry out during cultivation. Your pupil will receive the first dose of liquid fertilizer when the first two leaves have blossomed.

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Honeysuckle in the pot

Since the real honeysuckle in the pot depends on an integrated climbing aid, later repotting turns out to be almost impossible. Therefore, right from the start, choose a bucket with at least 30 liters volume and a bottom opening as a water drain. Fill in a drainage made of potsherds or chippings (€ 12.80 at Amazon *) under the substrate so that waterlogging cannot build up. How to care for the creeper with expertise:

  • Always water the honeysuckle when the substrate has dried
  • From March to June every 2 weeks organically fertilize with compost and horn shavings
  • Alternatively, apply a starter fertilizer in March and a special NPK 5-8-10 fertilizer at the beginning of the flowering period
  • Cover the root area with bark mulch from a small underplanting

To prevent the root ball from freezing through in winter, place the pot on a block of wood before the first frost. Wrap the container with bubble wrap and cover the substrate with leaves, straw, sawdust or coniferous branches.

Is honeysuckle poisonous?

The honeysuckle is classified as poisonous by scientists. Be careful with the red and black berries. Consumption of just 2 fruits can cause fatal symptoms of poisoning for children and adults. Hobby gardeners who are sensitive to saponins and alkaloids carry out planting and maintenance work with gloves as a precaution. Dog and cat should not have the opportunity to snack on the flowers, leaves and especially the berries.

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Honeysuckle does not bloom

If a honeysuckle does not bloom in early summer, the following causes trigger the deficiency:

  • Too late or too radical pruning: it is better to cut regularly and cautiously in February
  • Improper fertilization: choose a fertilizer with an equally high content of phosphorus and nitrogen
  • Unsuitable location: avoid shady locations, as only the leaves and shoots grow here

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Which climbing aids are suitable for a honeysuckle?

The decorative shrub does not have organs of attachment, such as ivy. Instead, the honeysuckle wraps its strong petioles around every support it offers. The following climbing aids are gladly accepted by the creeper:

  • Trellises
  • Fence mesh
  • Rope systems
  • Round arches

If you attach a climbing aid in front of the house wall, a minimum distance of 5-6 centimeters should be maintained.

What to do if the honeysuckle is balding from below?

It is primarily the evergreen species and varieties that develop a tendency to baldness. A deciduous honeysuckle is also not necessarily spared from this damage. If the dilemma is already emerging, cut the shrub back by two-thirds in February or March. From now on, keep the date of the annual pruning after flowering or in early spring and make sure you have a balanced supply of water and nutrients.

The most beautiful varieties

  • Hack's Red: impresses with purple-pink flowers in early summer, lush green foliage and red berries in autumn
  • Goldflame: climbs into the sky as a creeper on trellises, decorated with purple, yellow-white flowers from May
  • Winter honeysuckle: bewitchingly scented winter bloomer with bright red fruits in summer
  • Jelängerjelieber: real honeysuckle as a vigorous creeper up to 400 cm high, creamy white flowers, red fruits
  • Halliana: evergreen honeysuckle, climbing and bright white, later yellow flowers