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Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle

The honeysuckle is an interesting plant to use for hedges because depending on the variety, it blooms beautifully from winter to early summer and then forms attractive berries. These deciduous, winter hardy shrubs are very robust and easy to care for. They are especially suitable for natural gardens and for wild shrub hedges. As a shrub or hedge, they are ecologically valuable as food for bees and the berries are popular with the birds.

The berries of some varieties, such as the red types, are poisonous to humans, but other types have edible berries, especially Lonicera caerulea, also known as the honeyberry. The most common varieties are Lonicera caerulea, Lonicera xylosteum with its shiny red berries, Lonicera tatarica 'Hacks Red' with its red-tinged leaf shoots, and the winter-blooming Lonicera purpusii. This is a magical winter flowering shrub with a sweet scent that often blooms in the middle of winter and provides early bees with food. So, if you are looking for a special, easy to care for and at the same time ecologically valuable hedge, then you will certainly find this with honeysuckle!

   
 
No image available Common Honeysuckle, Fly Honeysuckle

Lonicera xylosteum is a valuable plant, in which red fruits form from the yellow flowers

£14.90 *

Purpus Honeysuckle

Lonicera purpusii, the enchanting winter bloomer with a sweet fragrance

£13.40 *

Tatarian Honeysuckle 'Hacks Red'

Lonicera tatarica 'Hacks Red'

£16.40 *

   
 

Location

HoneysuckleLoniceras are robust and undemanding woody plants for every location. They thrive in normal, water-permeable garden soil. They grow both in partial shade and in the sun, as they thrive naturally in sparse forests as well as in thickets and rocky areas, depending on the species. They can be planted as a solitary shrub as well as a hedge. In the genus of Lonicera there are about 180 species, including deciduous as well as evergreen shrubs and climbing plants. These popular plants are widespread almost everywhere in the Northern hemisphere.

Particularly robust is the common or fly honeysuckle (L. xylosteum). This ecologically valuable plant is absolutely undemanding. It just needs calcareous soil, that's the only requirement. It tolerates heat, drought and even road salt, should it be planted along a road. It is an important source of nectar for bees, butterflies and bumblebees, and the birds like to eat the red berries, which are poisonous to humans. This shrubby type with the poisonous red berries grows about two feet tall and wide; the plants are by nature rather compact in contrast to the climbing honeysuckle. Since they form a dense root system, these plants are also ideal for a slope in the garden.

The winter honeysuckle (L. purpusii) is ideally planted in a location near an entrance to a house or a sitting area so that the intense scent of the shrub can be enjoyed as often as possible in the winter. For mixed tree plantings and near-natural wild bush hedges, the different varieties are particularly well suited. Ideally, several varieties should be combined in order to increase the flowering time. Even as the background of a classic perennial bed, a Lonicera hedge can work well. These plants are ecologically valuable, as the flowers serve bees and bumblebees as a food source and the berries are eaten by the birds. However, the red berries of some honeysuckle plants are poisonous to humans.

On the other hand, the dark blue honeyberries, also known as Firstberries or Mayberries, are suitable for culinary enjoyment. These Lonicera varieties already offer a delicious harvest in May. They can be grown in a shrub border as well as in a vegetable garden together with currants. Even as potted plants, the honeyberries (L. caerulea) are ideal. You simply need to water them regularly. Of course, all honeysuckle plants can be planted at a suitable location alone as a solitary shrub. In particular, the winter scented types (L. purpusii) are worthy as a solitary plant near a sitting area or entrance. And of course, you should not miss out on some honeyberries (L. caerulea) that enable you to nibble sweet berries early in the season.

Planting and Care

With the ordinary honeysuckle (L. xylosteum) one should use one to two plants per metre of soil. The hedgerow plants can also be planted slightly offset so that the hedge becomes denser. The other types of Lonicera should be planted at a distance of one-half to one metre, depending on how close the hedge is to become. Planting is the same as for any other shrub: the planting hole should be twice as large as the root ball; loosen the soil well. Then tear open the root ball of the plant so that it does not tangle, and put the roots nicely spread out into the planting hole. Fill with soil, press down and water. In the beginning, water the plants well in dry weather. Once established, they will look out for themselves and there is little extra care needed. However, it is worth putting a mulch layer of rotted compost under each shrub in the spring. Even mulching with grass clippings is good for the plants. This keeps the moisture in the soil and considerably increases the dryness compatibility. With regard to diseases and pests, there are virtually no problems with the honeysuckle. The plants grow vigorously and can simply be left alone.

Cutting Properly

The shrub varieties are naturally about two feet high, but they can also be kept lower by regular pruning. Ideally, they should be cut back in autumn when the berries have already been eaten by the birds. On some occasions, some older shoots should be completely cut out in order to rejuvenate the plants. But even during the growing season, some older shoots can be cut out at any time.

These plants should not be forced too strictly into a geometric shape. They form the most beautiful hedges if they are allowed to grow naturally and freely. They are particularly beautiful in combination with other flowering shrubs so that a varied and ecologically valuable mixed flower and berry hedge forms. You can also combine them with red currants, dogwood or Weigela as well as any other flowering shrubs that satisfy your heart's content.

For Floristry

The fragrant branches of the winter-blooming honeysuckle (L. purpusii) are particularly attractive when used for flower displays in the home, especially for arrangements in the Japanese Ikebana style. These varieties bloom in February and March. In a mild winter, the cream white flowers sometimes even open in December. Since the shrubs are very tolerant of cutting, one can easily and generously harvest branches for a vase. These honeysuckles smell intense and are a really enchanting winter plant. They are a cross between Lonicera fragrantissima and Lonicera standishii, which originated at the beginning of the 20th century in the Botanical Garden of Darmstadt. Other types can be used for bouquets, both when flowering later in the season or as branches with ripe berries for autumn bouquets. They look very beautiful together with roses, hydrangeas or dahlias.

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