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Growing a Honeysuckle as Tree

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Growing Tree Form Honeysuckle
Several vining plants, such as honeysuckle and wisteria, are often trained to grow more like a small tree. This is a guide about growing honeysuckle as tree.
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December 2, 2016

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In an earlier post, I mentioned that honeysuckle could be grown as a standard. I looked around and found enough pictures to put together a post on the subject.

Several years ago, I bought a hybrid honeysuckle named Gold Flame. It's blooms are large, showy, and have a delicious fragrance. Honeysuckle is very easily rooted. I like to share, so several of my relatives and neighbors now have their own Gold Flame. I can't speak to the bloom schedule of wild honeysuckle or other hybrids. I can say that the Gold Flame will bloom intermittently from late spring to late fall. And if diligently deadheaded, it will be in bloom for most all of this time.

I gave a sister a rooting. It did well til a flood uprooted it and washed it 300 feet away. Found and retrieved a week later, it was planted next to a chain link fence. Now it is huge and intertwined into the fence, safe from most flooding. Pardon my picture taken with an old, cheap camera.

Honeysuckle is quite pliant. Providing one strong, fairly straight cane is to be had, a small established plant could be used for making a standard. All canes except the straightest and strongest one are cut away. It then is stripped of any side branches except the top two or three. This remaining cane is secured with twine, from bottom to top branches, to a rod which has been driven into the ground very closely along side the plant. See inset in last picture.

The plant is allowed to grow, checking occasionally to see if the twine might need loosening. Any buds for side shoots that develop below the saved top branches are rubbed away. Any new growth arising from the ground must be cut away. In three or four years, the rod and twine can be removed from the plant. During this time, the branches are kept to about 18 inches in length. This not only encourages more blooms, it diverts much of the plant's energy to making a strong trunk.

By having access to many small rootings, I prefer to make my standards from them. I select the straightest, healthiest ones and plant them separately. Within two years time, they are tall enough to begin the training process stated above.

If you were to drive by my sister's honeysuckle on a hot summer's afternoon and smell its gorgeous scent and see its showy blooms, you might think,
'I would love to have one, but I have no where to grow it". Chances are you might be wrong.

I do not have a picture of a mature specimen. I found a picture of what appears to be a wild honeysuckle with intertwined trunks growing in the ground and trained as a standard. Be sure to left click on the picture to enlarge it.

http://tinyurl.com/jbffqb6

While looking, I found that Honeysuckles make beautiful bonsai. I'll give you one guess as to what I will be doing with a few of my rooted cuttings. Check this out!

http://tinyurl.com/zzuddhq

Standard honeysuckle can be kept in large containers for many years. Keeping them pruned to five or six feet is ideal. They can be placed on a sunny porch, patio, or balcony where they will be close by for enjoying. And as they are very hardy, there is no need to bring them inside for the winter.

Pictured below is one of my a three year old plants being grown as a standard.

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Comment Was this helpful? 2

April 25, 2017

Earlier, I did an article on training and growing honeysuckle as a standard (or tree form). I thought I had pictures with the post; maybe not. Even if I did, they were not of a more mature specimen in full bloom. That is why I chose to submit this picture.

This 'tree' at 3 feet is still quite young, though. I don't know its ultimate height. Probably at least 6-7 feet. It should be a fabulous display at that height.

As you can see, I have removed the binding holding the trunk to a stake. I may put the binding back, I may not. It depends on how crooked the tree begins to grow. I don't want it to bend over, and I do not want it perfectly straight. I think a slight curvature adds interest and a more natural effect.

It as grown some very long tendrils. Here again, I have options. I can allow it to take on a weeping appearance or not. I probably will cut the tendrils for now to help the trunk grow taller. At 6 feet, I will decide if I want it to weep or not.

As a standard, it is beautiful and takes up little room. To me its most important asset is the fact that it will be in near constant bloom from now til frost.

As you might guess, I have several more in the pipeline, from a few inches up to nearly the pictured plant's size. I think I'm going to make a few friends and relatives very happy.

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