Pruning Honeysuckle - Lonicera.
How to prune climbers and shrub types.
If honeysuckles are pruned wrongly, then it could mean the loss of
flowers for the following - or present - year. Pruning of honeysuckles
is relatively easy, though can be a bit messy if pruning a neglected
climber that has wrapped itself around an old trellis or frame for
the last ten years!
Most will know Lonicera as climbing shrubs - better known as
Honeysuckle. However, there are also a group of Loniceras - or
Honeysuckles that are actually grown as shrubs.
Needless to say, there are different pruning regimes for both
types. If you prune - and it in not always essential - then
ensure that you carry out your pruning at the right time of
When to Prune Honeysuckle - Lonicera.
The main criteria is
that all climbing Lonicera should be pruned back immediately after
flowering each year. The difference in pruning techniques are explained
Pruning Climbing Lonicera - Honeysuckle vines.
Honeysuckle climbers are relatively easy to prune - the most
important factor being correct timing. If you have the space for them to
grow into large climbers, then pruning should only be required by way of
trimming back to fit the space that you have to fill.
If your space is restricted - or you want to keep it under some sort of
orderly control, then most climbing honeysuckle vines can be cut back
quite hard in the late winter or very early spring each year. They will
then flower on the new growths sent up in that season.
These new growths - vines - will often reach 2metres in length, so it
will re-cover a good size trellis during the year.
One or two
varieties of Climbing Lonicera are best cut back right after flowering
in the mid to late summer. These are members of the Lonicera
periclymenum group, and are some of the most popular varieties in the
UK. They include (pictured) Lonicera periclymenum Serotina - the late
Dutch Honeysuckle; Lonicera p. Belgica - the early Dutch Honeysuckle;
Lonicera p. Graham Thomas. These varieties tend to flower on growths -
wood - made the previous year, so should be cut back after
flowering - to size determined by the available space. In any event they
should be cut to just above a strong new growth that will be sprouting
from below the flowered area.
The evergreen Lonicera japonica
types - including Lonicera japonica Halliana - do not actually
require pruning - other than trimming to size. Again this should be done
in early spring. Summer is too late - you will lose the flowers for a
All old climbing honeysuckles can be given a new lease of life, by
cutting back hard in early spring. The size of the main trunk will
determine how hard back they should be cut. If large - more than 3in
(75mm) then best tp cut back the branches at the first fork. The climber
will soon shoot out and you will be blessed with a 'new, fresh-looking
Pruning Shrub or Bush Honeysuckles.
shrub type honeysuckles - Winter flowering Lonicera fragrantissima types
- or summer flowering Lonicera tatarica types, can be pruned back to a
strong new growth, immediately after flowering. So the time will be
dependent upon the flowering period of the shrub. If pruning is to take
place, then the 'after-flowering' advice is important.
If you cut the winter flowering types back in mid summer - or later -
then you are effectively cutting off the flower buds that would normally
have given you such pleasure in mid-winter.
Likewise, if you prune the
mid-summer types too late in the year - or worse - in the spring, then
again you will forfeit the flowers for one year. Both winter and summer
flowering shrub - bush - honeysuckles need time to develop flower buds
on their new growth.
Image shows Lonicera fragrantissima which flowers
mid - late - winter.
Back to A-Z of Pruning Shrubs
By David Hughes -