Our plant of the week – winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is a winter flowering variety of honeysuckle that is hardy in almost all zones of the US.
Many gardeners resign themselves to winter months without color of variety in their landscapes. That doesn’t have to be the case. Winter Honeysuckle will remain actively growing during all, but the harshest of winter weather and in the early spring will erupt with fragrant white blossoms. In many of the more moderate zones, winter honeysuckle will bloom during the winter months as well.
Winter honeysuckle is a bush variety and can grow to 9 feet tall if not kept pruned and trimmed. Its spreading characteristics make it useful as a hedge. After blooming, the plant produces red berries that attract birds and other animals.
The flowers attract pollinators during the winter months when pollen sources become scarce and can provide a needed support system during the sparse winter months. Establishing winter flowering plants and shrubs around your garden will encourage pollinators to your garden early, insuring more pollinators during the growing season in the spring and summer
Winter honeysuckle will grow well in full sun to part shade. It prefers well-drained soil and will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. Once winter honeysuckle is established (1 to 3 years) it becomes fairly drought tolerant.
Surprisingly, the plant is deer resistant and is generally plant and disease-free. It remains fairly low maintenance unless a more sculptured look for hedges or borders is desired.
Propagation is easy from methods used for semi-hardwood or hardwood methods.
Hardiness – Zones 4 – 8
Heat Zones – 3 – 8
Plant Type – Shrub
Exposure – Full sun to part shade
Season of interest – Winter to Early Spring
Height – 6 to 10 feet
Spread – 6 to 10 foot
Space – 120” apart
Water needs – Average (drought tolerant after established)
Soil Types – All
Soil pH – All
Soil Drainage – Moist well-drained
Characteristics – fragrant white flowers with red berries
Links and Resources
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