The ultimate guide to the Southern-favorite bloomer.

By Southern Living
July 29, 2020
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During Southern summers, the sweet scent of honeysuckle is everywhere. Their green vines snake up trellises, adorn arbors, and break into bloom when the warm weather arrives, giving off clouds of honeyed fragrance that we always associate with summer in the South. Some varieties are extremely invasive, and others are non-invasive and good choices to plant in the garden. You’ll find honeysuckle in the wild climbing trees and snaking through shrubs, and its fragrance will alert you to its fragrance long before you see it. Read on to learn all about this Southern-favorite planting—then find a place to grow some in your garden.

Why Is Honeysuckle Popular?

Honeysuckle is a favorite plant because it’s heat tolerant and can thrive in the extreme weather of punishing Southern summers. It’s a hardy grower and can grow even in difficult conditions. It’s found in both climbing vine and shrub forms (as well as bush form, which spreads quickly and is sometimes planted as ground cover).

What Does Honeysuckle Look Like?

Honeysuckle vines come in many different varieties. They’re able to climb up surfaces and structures and can also be used as ground cover. Their long, tubular blooms give off a sweet scent and come in shades of yellow, white, orange, and pink. They’re a perfect planting if you’d like to attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies, as the small blooms are filled with nectar and draw garden visitors from near and far. In addition to the blooms, the vines also have dark green leaves. Honeysuckle shrubs can be trained into hedge shapes, and they’re also good container plantings. Pruning helps ensure it re-blooms throughout the season. You can learn how to prune honeysuckle here.

Types of Honeysuckle

As with all the fragrant vines, honeysuckle has many popular varieties. One of the most common is trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), also known as coral honeysuckle, which is a drought-tolerant, non-invasive honeysuckle that produces red and pink blooms and thrives in the South. It’s native to the eastern United States, and ruby-throated hummingbirds love it. Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is an extremely invasive honeysuckle with very fragrant flowers. It’s a strong climber and is often found twining up trees or through shrubs. (The Grumpy Gardener is ambivalent about it.) Common honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum), also known as woodbine, is a vine that blooms profusely with fragrant flowers. It’s native to Europe. Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is an invasive shrub form that has white flowers that appear in the late winter and early spring months.

WATCH: Honeysuckle-Watermelon Cocktails | Photo:

Do you have honeysuckle growing in your yard? What’s your favorite fragrant vine to plant?