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Caring for a Honeysuckle

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I just bought a honeysuckle tree. As a child I can remember the wonderful sweet smell of it. Mine does not seem to smell like anything. It's a really tall bush (tree?). I bought it already attached to a trellis. What is wrong with my tree? Also, how do you take care of them? Thank you so much.


Hardiness Zone: 7a

Dana from Newkensington, PA


This is an interesting question-one that I have often pondered myself. Why is it that the flowers of our youth seemed to be laden with a sweeter fragrance than those we sniff today?

Scientific studies indicate that children have a better sense of smell than their parents or grandparents, so initially, I simply chalked it up to a gap in my olfactory memory. I guessed that my nose had simply become dulled and desensitized by age.

I've since come to realize that there may be a better explanation. Fragrance, you see, is all in the genes. When you think about it, the flowers of our youth were more fragrant, but they also tended to be blander in color. They most certainly lacked the hybridization (and the resulting vibrant and sometimes downright zany color patterns) that we see in flowers today. This is especially true of roses, which have been endlessly tinkered with over time in order to develop stronger colors, straighter stems and bigger blooms-mostly at the expense of their fragrance.

This could be what you're seeing with your honeysuckle tree. Extensive hybridization. Either that, or you may have inadvertently purchased one of several varieties that happen to produce less fragrant blooms.

Keep your fingers crossed that as time marches on and your tree continues to mature, you'll see an increase in fragrant flowers. In the meantime, we can all sleep peacefully knowing that plant breeders around the world are collectively devising ways to bring back the "fragrant genes" so often missing in today's flowers.

Tips for Care:

In general, very little care is required to successfully grow honeysuckle.

  • Your climber will grow best in full sun is very tolerant of most soil types.

  • Give it a sturdy support and keep growth in check with occasional pruning.

Also, keep in mind that many honeysuckle species are considered invasive in certain parts of the country.


About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services.

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August 20, 20060 found this helpful


There are several varieties of Honeysuckle. Some grow tall, some climb, some have colorful blooms and yet others have a scent. Sadly it looks as though yours has no scent. As it was attached to a trellis it is probably a climber, needs little attention except to train it in the direction you want it to grow. You should also cut out dead or damaged growth and thin it out every so often.

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September 8, 20060 found this helpful

I wouldn't give up my Honey suckle for nothing in the world. I have taught my grand kids that you can eat the tip of the flower & it does taste like honey. They are always asking me if they can go over & eat it. I always let them but then i tell them we do have too save some flowers , so it will go to seed so we can have more flower next year.

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July 30, 20090 found this helpful

Hi, I'm glad that you all enjoy your honeysuckle but I just wanted to let you know to be careful with it because it is a horribly invasive species. Not all of the varieties of honeysuckle are invasive, but amur honeysuckle or bush honeysuckle is a major problem in the Eastern United States. The plant spreads prolifically into productive timber forests and chokes out many native plant species. The death of these plants then alters insect populations, which in tern alter bird populations, and lead to a forest that is unsutable for native wildlife and timber harvest.


If you want honeysuckle please plant a native variety. One of my favorites if a red/orange trumpet honeysuckle. It's a beautiful vine that blooms for several weeks in the spring and summer.

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March 16, 20150 found this helpful

Hello Dan!

There are more than 180 members of the Honeysuckle family. Some are native to the forest of the North resisting minus 68 ° in Russia some grow in the warmth of California, some are deciduous, some are evergreen some are vines others are bushy shrubs others are rampant. So you have to know what kind of Honeysuckle you have as they do not all like the same conditions. Think also that they need pruning and that the time and the way of pruning are not the same for all honeysuckles.


The most fragrant Honeysuckle is Lonicera fragrantissima (this you can guess from its name) it is a winter honeysuckle, deciduous, it is a bush and it grows in half shade.

Lonicera caprifolium also known as Italian honeysuckle is very fragrant too, it is deciduous and prefers half shade or at least to have its foot in full shade

Lonicera tragophylla, deciduous and very fragrant with beautiful yellow flowers can resist minus 68°

Also very fragrant is Lonicera x periclymenum either the Serotina type with white, red and creamy flowers or the Graham Thomas type with yellow and white flowers. They are climbers and deciduous.

Another reason to grow them in half shade rather than in full sun or at least with the foot in full shade is that Honeysuckle likes moist soil and remember Honeysucle diffuses the best of its fragrance at night time never in the heat of the day just like roses if you want to get the best of the perfume of roses you have to get up early.

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