Lonicera × italica 'Sherlite' HARLEQUIN
Common Name: honeysuckle 
Type: Vine
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 10.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Pale rose and yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best flowering is in full sun. Best grown in humusy, organically rich soils with good drainage. Once established, plants are tolerant of heat and humidity as well as some dry soil conditions. This plant may be grown as a vine on a support structure or pruned to form a small spreading shrub or sprawled as a ground cover. Prune as needed immediately after flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lonicera × italica is a large, vigorous twining deciduous vine with broad, elliptic leaves. Very fragrant white flowers, soon turning yellow and suffused with purple, are produced in terminal clusters.

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 of Italy.

HARLEQUIN is noted for its interesting colors: rose and yellow flowers, green leaves with creamy white margins and interesting fall foliage color. As a vine, it will typically grow 10-12’ long. Tubular pale rose and yellow flowers (to 2” long) bloom in clusters, the first bloom appearing in May with sporadic additional bloom continuing throughout summer into fall. Flowers are extremely fragrant. Oval green leaves are variegated with creamy white margins that are often tinged pink. Foliage produces interesting fall color. Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. A harlequin is a comic character in commedia dell’ arte that wore brightly colored clothes. HARLEQUIN was originally introduced to cultivation as a cultivar of L. periclymenum.


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


Excellent vine for trellises, arbors and fences. Bird gardens. Plant it near a deck or patio to enjoy the fragrant flowers. May be trimmed to form a small shrub or sprawled over the ground.