Lonicera periclymenum
Common Name: honeysuckle
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Native Range: Europe, Northern Africa, Southwest Asia
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to frost
Bloom Description: Crimson purple outside and yellow and white inside
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zone 4 where it is easily grown in humusy, organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best sited in hot summer climates in locations with part afternoon shade. Plants have some drought tolerance once established. Prune as needed immediately after flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lonicera periclymenum, commonly called woodbine or European honeysuckle, is a deciduous shrub with a vine-like growth habit. It typically twines and scrambles to 12’ (infrequently to 20’) tall. It is native to Europe, North Africa and western Asia, but was introduced over time with subsequent naturalization occurring in some scattered areas of North America, primarily in Nova Scotia, Ontario, New England and the Pacific Northwest.

Ovate to obovate leaves (to 2 1/2” long) appear along the stems in pairs (two leaves per node). Leaves are dark green above and blue-green beneath. New leaves emerge lightly pubescent in spring, but mature to smooth and glaucous by summer. Two-lipped flowers (each to 2” long) bloom from summer somewhat sporadically into fall (late June-October) in 3 to 5 whorled terminal spikes. The interior of each flower is creamy white rapidly aging to yellow. The exterior is usually crimson purple, although it infrequently appears yellow, pink, or brown. Flowers are followed by red berries.

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

Specific epithet is a Greek name for honeysuckle.

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 honeysuckle aphids and scale.

Garden Uses

Generally a dense, vigorous, low maintenance, twining shrub for cool summer climates. It is a cottage garden climber that will scramble over fences or grow through small trees. Excellent for screening. Pergolas. Perhaps best sited in areas where twining stems can easily climb around garden structures. Group or mass in informal areas. Also may be grown in foundations and borders.