Lonicera fragrantissima
Midwest Noxious Weed: Do Not Plant
Common Name: sweet breath of spring 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Native Range: China
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Black Walnut
This plant is listed as a noxious weed in one or more Midwestern states outside Missouri and should not be moved or grown under conditions that would involve danger of dissemination.


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Adapts to wide range of soils, including dry ones, but prefers moist, loamy soils. Prune to shape after flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lonicera fragrantissima, commonly called winter honeysuckle or fragrant honeysuckle, is a somewhat stiff-branched, deciduous shrub with a bushy, spreading habit. Typically grows 6-10' tall and as wide. Extremely fragrant (lemony), short-tubed, creamy white flowers appear in early spring before the leaves emerge. Flowers are followed by small, somewhat inconspicuous, red berries which mature in late spring to early summer. Oval, dark green foliage sometimes has bluish tinge. Flowers are a harbinger of spring. Budded branches may be cut for an early, fragrant, indoor arrangement.

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 very fragrant.


No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spot, blight and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests include aphids, scale, sawfly, whitefly, loopers, plant hoppers, flea beetles and webworm.


Clipped or informal hedge, screen or background plant in a shrub border.