Lonicera sempervirens f. sulphurea 'John Clayton'
Common Name: trumpet honeysuckle
Type: Vine
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Pale yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Will grow in some shade, but best flowering is in full sun. Best in humusy, organically rich soils with good drainage. This is a twining vine that needs a support structure upon which to grow unless allowed to sprawl as a ground cover. Prune as needed immediately after flowering. Although deciduous in the St. Louis area, it will retain some foliage (semi-evergreen) in warm winter climates (USDA Zone 8 and above).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lonicera sempervirens, commonly called trumpet honeysuckle, is a vigorous, deciduous, twining vine which typically grows 10-15' (less frequently to 20') and is one of the showiest of the vining honeysuckles. It is primarily native to the southeastern U.S., but has escaped from gardens and naturalized in many other areas of the eastern U.S. including several counties in central and southern Missouri where it typically occurs along roadsides, along stream banks and in thickets (see Steyermark).

Large, non-fragrant, narrow, trumpet-shaped flowers are scarlet to orangish red on the outside and yellowish inside. Flowers appear in late spring at stem ends in whorled clusters. They are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. Inedible red berries form in late summer to early fall and can be ornamentally attractive. The small red berries are attractive to birds. Oval, bluish-green leaves are glaucous beneath. This vine is evergreen in the warm winter climates of the deep South.

Forma sulphurea plants have yellow flowers.

Genus name honors Adam Lonitzer (1528-1586), German botanist, the author of an herbal (Kreuterbuch) many times reprinted between 1557 and 1783.

Specific epithet means evergreen.

‘John Clayton’ is a yellow-flowered variety that was found in 1991 in woodlands on the grounds of a 17th century church in Gloucester, Virginia. It is noted for its compact growth habit, yellow flowers, tendency to rebloom and profuse fall berry production. It typically grows to 6-12’ long. Tubular, pale yellow flowers (to 2” long) in terminal whorls bloom primarily from May to June, with some sporadic additional bloom until fall. Flowers are mildly fragrant. John Clayton (1694-1773) was a colonial botanist and plant collector from Gloucester County, Virginia.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew and leaf spots may occur, particularly in hot and humid summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Watch for aphids.

Garden Uses

Excellent vine for trellises, arbors and fences.