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Honeysuckle Coral Vine Lonicera sempervirens Introduction

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Honeysuckle Coral Vine

Lonicera sempervirens

Although a vigorous twining vine, the native Trumpet Honeysuckle does not spread out of control quite as easily as Japanese Honeysuckle (Fig. 1). The delicate but striking, twoinch- long, tapered trumpet-shaped crimson blooms appear from April through summer and are set against a background of dark green, smooth leaves. The flowers are particularly attractive to hummingbirds but are not fragrant. Evergreen in the lower South, Trumpet Honeysuckle may die back during a hard freeze. Quickly covering fences, lampposts, or mailboxes, Trumpet Honeysuckle is an excellent vine to use for naturalizing. Train it onto an arbor or trellis in the full sun for good, thick coverage.

General Information

Scientific name: Lonicera sempervirens

Pronunciation: lah-NISS-ser-ruh sem-per-VYE-renz

Common name(s): Coral Honeysuckle, Trumpet Honeysuckle

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Plant type: vine

USDA hardiness zones: 4 through 10A

Planting month for zone 9: year round

Origin: native to Florida

Uses: hanging basket; attracts hummingbirds

Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Height: depends upon supporting structure

Spread: depends upon supporting structure

Plant habit: spreading

Plant density: moderate

Growth rate: fast

Texture: medium

Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite

Leaf type: simple Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping

Leaf margin: entire

Leaf shape: ovate

Leaf venation: pinnate

Leaf type and persistence: semi-evergreen

Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: no fall color change

Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower color: red

Flower characteristic: spring flowering; summer flowering

Fruit shape: round

Fruit length: less than .5 inch

Fruit cover: unknown

Fruit color: unknown

Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Current year stem/twig color: reddish

Current year stem/twig thickness: thin

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun

Soil tolerances: slightly alkaline; clay; sand; acidic; loam

Drought tolerance: moderate

Soil salt tolerances: unknown

Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: not applicable

Winter interest: no special winter interest

Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more

Invasive potential: aggressive, spreading plant

Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

Trumpet Honeysuckle tolerates most soils except dry sands. As with many vines, some training may be needed to direct growth. Vines will accumulate foliage on top of a fence or other structure but yearly heading back can encourage growth close to the ground. It is best suited for sunny locations and flowers poorly in the shade. Propagation is by softwood cuttings which root easily or layering stem sections where they touch the ground. Several cultivars are available: ‘Sulphurea’ has bright yellow flowers; ‘Superba’ has bright scarlet flowers and broadly oval leaves; and ‘Magnifica’ has large, bright red blooms and is late-flowering. No pests are of major concern. Aphids suck plant juices and coat the leaves with sticky honeydew. The insects can be dislodged with high pressure water sprays from the garden hose. Leaf rollers roll leaves together, then web them in place. Hand pick infested leaves. Four-lined plant bug causes sunken, round, brown spots on the leaves. The injury is sometimes mistaken for a disease. Adult insects are yellowish green with black stripes. Scale insects infest the stems and branches. Close inspection may reveal these insects crusted on the bark. Spray with horticultural oil in the spring.

Pests and Diseases

No diseases are of major concern. Many fungi cause leaf spots, but chemical control is rarely warranted. Various genera of powdery mildews form white powder on the leaves. Bacterial crown gall causes round, warty-looking growths on the stems near the soil line. Dig out and destroy infected plants.

by Edward F. Gilman

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