Simply The Best Natives-Coral Honeysuckle

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 I sat me down to watch upon a bank
With ivy canopied and interwove
With flaunting honeysuckle.
         John Milton

 

 

Winter gives way to spring so much later here than in most places in the northeast.  We live near a lake that is cold and frozen after this very cold winter.  We have had lots of snow and a very sloooow melt of the 4-5 ft of snow left to us in February.  And I am longing for my native plants to wake, but it will be a while yet (2 more weeks at least) for many including this month’s native plant I am profiling in my Simply The Best series. 

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As I profile this wonderful native plant, I am linking in with Gail@Clay and Limestone for her Wildflower Wednesday meme.  And I am joining forces once again this year with a local native plant nursery, Amanda’s Garden, to purchase native plants for my garden.  The owner, Ellen Folts, specializes in woodland, prairie and wetland native perennials.  Check out her wonderful 2015 Spring Catalog to see which natives Ellen is selling this year.

 

As I anxiously await spring blooms, I am dreaming of my coral honeysuckle IMG_2117that is a favorite of the hummingbirds who will be here in about 6 weeks.  Lonicera sempervirens, also known as Trumpet honeysuckle and Woodbine, is part of the Honeysuckle Family (Caprifoliaceae).

Coral honeysuckle is a native vine growing from Maine, Connecticut and New York to Florida, and west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma.  

This vine can grow up to 20 feet high with glossy, green leaves and unscented red tubular flowers turning to red berries later.  You can find these vines growing at the sunny edges of woodlands in well-drained soil.  This plant loves the clay corner of my garden just under a maple and ash tree.

Lonicera is said to be named for Adam Lonitzer, a 16th C German herbalist and “sempervirens” means evergreen. 

 

 

 

Growing Conditions

Coral honeysuckle will grow from zones 4 through 10A.  This plant will tolerate a variety of conditions including moist sun, dry semi-shade and almost any soil type.  The most important thing for this plant is IMG_1677to give it a large area with strong support, like a trellis, to grow.  

And if not given good air circulation it may be susceptible to powdery mildew.  I have mine in an open area in the back of the garden where the wind howls so it seems pretty happy.

The easiest way to propagate this vine is through softwood cuttings from summer to fall.  Seeds can be collected in early fall and store sealed in a refrigerator for 3 months before planting out.

This honeysuckle requires little care except it will need to be pruned to keep it from running wild, and getting too out of shape where it may not flower as profusely.  I prune mine a bit each year after it blooms, and if it is overgrown, I hard prune it as it recovers easily.  You may also find aphids on it in spring, but they can be hosed off if the ladybugs don’t get them. 

 

 

 

Benefits to Wildlife 

Coral honeysuckle is a favorite native plant for me because it attracts native bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  The red fruits attract berry-eating birds, and I have witnessed robins feeding these berries to fledglings.

This honeysuckle is also a larval host to Spring Azure butterflies and Snowberry clearwing moths. 

 

 

 

Uses

If you are looking for a great vine that needs little care, you can’t beat coral honeysuckle.  Any plant IMG_1678that tolerates clay and black walnut trees, and is not a favorite of deer or rabbits, is a winner in my book. 

This wonderful plant was named the wild flower of the year in 2014.

Coral honeysuckle is said to prevent soil erosion if you choose to let it sprawl.

Be forewarned that this honeysuckle’s flowers and others parts are not edible. 

 

 

 

Folklore and Tales 

Native Americans used the coral honeysuckle leaves to treat asthma, sore throats, and coughs. They IMG_2116would also chew leaves and apply them to bee stings to ease swelling. Berries were used to induce vomiting.

American settlers are said to have smoked the leaves to relieve asthma.

The Oneida Nation (a Native American tribe nearby) has a myth that says a maiden, who saved her people, was turned into the honeysuckle by the Great Spirit to honor her.

In the Language of Flowers, the clinging nature of honeysuckle represents being “united in love” and devotion.  It is also said to represent love, fidelity,  and affection.

 

 

 

honeysuckle collage 

Do you grow a native honeysuckle or any native plants?  What is your favorite native plant that is adored by pollinators?

 

 

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In A Vase On Monday 

 

 

DSCN0533I do hope you can stand one more Hippeastrum ‘Red Lion’ vase.  With the slow spring and lingering cold and snow, we don’t have any blooms that can be picked for a vase.  To this vase, I also added dried boxwood greenery and the Peace lily or Spathiphyllum leaves that are beginning to brown on the tips.

 

 rainbow vase collageI used a pot, I acquired somewhere, that has an iridescent quality, and when the light hits it gives us a rainbow effect.  The flowers and green leaves are in a small jar that I placed in the pot.  I then placed the arrangement on the antique Singer sewing machine that was my grandmother’s.  And I put one of my favorite garden statues with it.

I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare this vase:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.

 

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Next up on the blog:  

Next Monday, I will have my March garden review as we are about to enter April and the garden starts to kick into gear here (I hope).

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday. 

 

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I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2015.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

104 comments

  1. Hannah says:

    I have a similar native honeysuckle in my garden, I’ve been seeing the vines when I’m weeding. Yours are such a vibrant color, the hummingbirds must love them. The garden statue is so cute, I love iridescent glazes. The red flowers are lovely.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks so much Hannah…it seems the honeysuckle will be greening up soon as spring has arrived here….still about half our snow left but it is leaving more and more every day!

  2. Karin/Southern Meadows says:

    I love this vine! It really is a trooper and the hummingbirds are at it all the time. Mine is just now blooming, right in time for the hummers to arrive. Last fall I found several saddleback caterpillars hanging out in the vines.

    • Donna says:

      That is fantastic Karin both for the hummers and caterpillars. I hope ours starts to leaf out in a few weeks, followed by blooms in May perhaps….just in time for our hummers. 🙂

  3. Eileen says:

    The coral honeysuckle is so pretty, I am sure the scent is wonderful too. I would love this vine, we have the white honeysuckle that is probably invasive.. Pretty flowers and vase. Have a happy day and week ahead!

    • Donna says:

      Actually this native honeysuckle is not scented like the Japanese honeysuckle that is white and yes invasive Eileen. Have a Happy Easter.

  4. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    What a wonderful plant Donna! I do grow this vine and it has bloomed for me into December! Mine was stricken with aphids one Spring but a little pruning and a good hose and a feeding of compost – it bounced right back! I should collect some seeds and start another out back somewhere as I do love this vine. I can’t wait for the hummingbirds! I can’t wait for this *&!# snow to melt!

    • Donna says:

      They are wonderful and can take a lickin’ as you have seen Kathy…blooming into December is just amazing. I should propagate some more and spread the love….Hope your snow is melting quickly. The last 2 warm days really got it going and ours is probably 2/3rds gone. I expect by the end of the coming week, it will all be gone. The north facing areas take the longest to melt unless it is really warm.

  5. JoAnn Bayne says:

    I wish this grew in Washington state – although the wild honeysuckle we have here (called Twin Berry) is good at attracting birds too. We also panted a cultivated honeysuckle and the scent is lovely. Love your photos.

  6. Susie says:

    I once saw Coral honeysuckle paired with Lady Banksia rose atop a fence and thought it look fabulous. You’ve managed another beautiful vase this week Donna. The Singer reminds me of my own grandmother.

    • Donna says:

      Oh I bet that rose and honeysuckle we amazing growing together Susie…and thanks for the nice words about my vase. The Singer was my Italian grandmother’s, and I love that we have it in our home.

  7. Aaron Dalton says:

    You picked one of my favorites, Donna.

    I have two cultivars of Lonicera sempervirens growing on the railings of my front porch steps – Blanche Sandman and Alabama Crimson. Can never remember which is which!

    Both seem to thrive here, heave leafed out already and look just about ready to start blooming – perhaps as soon as this week!

    Hope to post of the blooms soon that perhaps can sustain you until yours begin their yearly show 🙂

  8. Alison says:

    What a beauty that honeysuckle is. I love the color. I’ve tried to grow our PNW native honeysuckle Lonicera ciliosa, but it’s very finicky, every single one has died on me. I have a pretty named variety instead, which is wonderfully vigorous and has pretty flowers, but they’re not that beautiful coral red.

    • Donna says:

      Oh that is too bad about your native honeysuckle Alison…but I am glad you were able to find a honeysuckle that isn’t so finicky. I can’t wait to see the honeysuckle blooms this year.

    • Donna says:

      I made sure to get a good picture of the Singer as the last time I used it and just showed the top, I think you mentioned you wished you had seen the whole sewing machine.

      Well spring has sprung even though we are still a bit chillier than normal. But 75% of the snow is gone and I suspect 100% will be gone by next weekend. Lots of bulbs were growing quite a bit under the snow and I already have a few crocus blooming, and buds on daffs and iris reticulata.

      Happy Easter Cathy!

  9. Judith@Lavender Cottage says:

    I think there is a native honeysuckle growing along a fence line at our arboretum so I’ll pay closer attention this year and check it out.
    I like the garden statue you put beside your vase this week.
    Thank you for linking to Mosaic Monday Donna.

    • Donna says:

      She is a special statue that actually does not see the garden. Well spring is here Judith, crocus are beginning to bloom and 75% of the snow is gone. I even have buds on some early daffs and iris reticulata. Now to wade through the puddles. We are expecting almost daily rain here but I hope not downpours so the garden can dry out.

      Happy Easter!

  10. Kris P says:

    The Hippeastrum bulbs have done you good service this winter! Your arrangement with the little statue is very attractive. I hope you’re warming up and that you see some green in your garden soon if it hasn’t shown itself already.

    • Donna says:

      They have been amazing bulbs this past winter Kris. And with spring finally here and bulbs beginning to bloom, I can’t wait. We are warming, but need to dry out as we finish thawing the snow. Lots of water everywhere so I can’t get out in the back garden at all.

      Happy Easter!

    • Donna says:

      Well we do have quite cold and snowy winters so I bet it could survive there…spring is finally here Sara so it is an exciting time as the garden is just waking up.

      Happy Easter!

    • Donna says:

      It is amazing what a few warm days can do to turn the tide as spring is here…glad you enjoyed my honeysuckle!

      Happy Spring and Happy Easter!

  11. Cathy says:

    Your honeysuckle is beautiful Donna. Is it a fragrant sort? I love the smell of the honeysuckle that used to grow in our neighbour’s garden when I was little. Thank goodness you planted enough Hippeastrums to keep you going through the winter. You have created some lovely compositions with them!

    • Donna says:

      No our native honeysuckle is not fragrant which is too bad…but the flowers do make up for it.

      Spring has finally come Cathy so I think I will have a vase next week from the garden, and even a modified one tomorrow!

      Happy Easter!

  12. Jason says:

    I do grow Coral Honeysuckle, though I have always called it Trumpet Honeysuckle. An established one seems to have died on me, but fortunately I have a newer one growing against the back porch. Great plant, only wish it were fragrant.

    • Donna says:

      I love that name to for this plant, Trumpet Honeysuckle. Perfect really. Spring has arrived in my garden and the birds are singing a riotous chorus Jason!

      Happy Spring and Happy Easter!

  13. Julie says:

    Poor you still waiting for the snow to melt! You have done so well to keep making vases every week when you cannot venture out into your garden – it is all going to seem so easy in a few weeks time! I loved reading about the honeysuckle and could never be bored by a hippeastrum!

    • Donna says:

      I think it may be harder once the choices become numerous Julie…but spring is here after a few very warm days in the 60s. The garden is just waking up and sending out crocus flowers and buds. It can’t wait either.

      Happy Easter!

  14. Donna says:

    It grows wild in eastern PA, a plant I grew up seeing along trails. One nice thing, it is never aggressive like its cousin, Lonicera japonica which also covers the trails.

    • Donna says:

      I agree Donna. We have its cousin invading our wild area and my garden. I am forever pulling it out. I think we counted 75 seedlings we pulled last year thanks to the birds who eat the berries.

      Well with the 60 degree temps we had late last week for a few days, 75% of the snow melted into puddles, and the puddles seem to be disappearing some already. Now we have rain forecast for most of this week so the back garden will wait until it dries out. Fortunately I have loads of bulbs that are budding fast in the sunny south facing front garden.

      Spring is here!

  15. Elizabeth says:

    Ah, we have many varieties of honeysuckle but, sadly, no hummingbirds to look forward to! Your Hippeastrums are stunning – who could tire of their beauty – and they look delightful in the lovely vase – the iridescence is clear in the photos. It’s been icy cold here today, and is forecast to be equally bad tomorrow, but unlike you we do not live near a frozen lake, just the sea which rarely freezes over.

  16. Beth says:

    I have one of these fabulous honeysuckles, Donna, and have had for a long time. You are right about the birds loving it. Due to our stream and pond placement, we had to move it last fall. I wondered if it would survive, and am grateful to see some leaves coming on. 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Oh they are tough so I bet it will be growing like crazy in no time Beth….spring has sprung finally so can’t wait to see the garden blooming.

      Happy Easter!

  17. Andrea says:

    Oh so that is how the honeysuckle looks like. I wonder why 3 of my blogger friends said that my unknown wildflower photo from Sydney is a honeysuckle, it looks so different in morphology!

    • Donna says:

      Actually the flowers on many different types of honeysuckle differ. This one is native to my area of the US. If you have Japanese or another kind, the flowers may be smaller and white/pale yellow with a sweet fragrance.

  18. Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti says:

    Coral honeysuckle sounds like a winning plant to me, too, Donna! I will have to see if I can find it in a nursery here and plant it in my backyard retaining wall. I’d love to have a fast growing vine there that also has color, plus attracts hummingbirds. Our soil is clay and we have so many rabbits and deer so hardly anything grows.

    We have had a warm week but next week might bring snow as a storm is brewing in the Pacific. Springs certainly has its ups and downs here!

    • Donna says:

      Pat, definitely look for a honeysuckle that grows in your area. A perfect plant for a wall, fence or trellis. Our cold is back for today and the early part of this week, but we had a warm spell that melted a lot of snow and the flowers are beginning to grow and bloom. Spring has arrived.

  19. Linda aka Crafty Gardener says:

    The coral honeysuckle is a gorgeous colour. We have a yellow one and I was just out checking it yesterday, but no buds yet. It’s still a bit early but I just can’t wait for gardening season. I did find some daffodils and tulips poking through the ground just a tiny, tiny bit 🙂

    • Donna says:

      When the snow was melting this past Th and Friday Linda, the bulbs were growing quite a bit under it…and now I have buds on some. A few crocus bloomed, and a large portion of the garden is in puddles as most of the snow melted. Spring has definitely come.

      Happy Easter!

  20. Lea says:

    Lovely, lovely Coral Honeysuckle! I can hardly wait until mine blooms. Pretty ‘Red Lion’ too.
    We are expecting Hummingbirds here in north Mississippi soon. We know they will come when the Red Buckeye blooms, and it is full of buds now. I’ve already put up my Hummingbird feeders.
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea

    • Donna says:

      Oh how exciting that the hummers are due soon. As spring just arrived, they will not be expected anytime soon here…and I can wait as the spring blooms are just beginning.

      Happy Spring Lea!

  21. Tina says:

    Absolutely one of my favorite plants and they are in full, glorious bloom right now! Thank you for promoting this wonderful native, wildlife-friendly vine.

    • Donna says:

      Exactly Beth…happy to say we had a few warm days and the snow has melted fast…lots of puddles but oh the bulbs are growing fast and many have buds…the birds are everywhere singing up a storm even though it was in the 20s last night. In no time I will be out and plunging my hands into the warm soil…

      Happy Spring and Happy Easter!

  22. ann says:

    Thanks for stoppy by the Garden Spot. We are kindred spirits: gardeners and educators. I am surprised (well, not really for it makes total sense) that so many of my fellow gardening bloggers are teachers, most especially retired educators. After reading your post on honeysuckle, I am reminded that I want to add at least one here. Happy Easter.

    • Donna says:

      Oh Ann that is exciting as honeysuckle is such a wonderful plant….and I think as educators we find such peace, solace and creativity in our gardens…a needed respite and a perfect spot to retire to.

      Happy Easter!

    • Donna says:

      Sadly no fragrance for our native honeysuckle but a glorious sight for the eyes…hope you get to see your daughter’s honeysuckle in bloom Sallie!

  23. Alexa T says:

    Never knew that coral honeysuckle (caprifoi or Lonicera caprifolium) is so so pretty… Lots of creativity and beauty in your post! Spring in the next short period of time, no doubt, it will actually come! All the best for this Spring, full of joy and good cheer for you!
    Warm greetings

    • Donna says:

      This is actually Lonicera sempervirens also known as Coral Honeysuckle Alexa. A bright coral color compared to Lonicera caprifolium which I also have. Spring did finally arrive late this last week…thank you for your very positive words of encouragement about spring…they did the trick!

      Happy Spring!

  24. Nadezda says:

    You wrote about honeysuckle very well, Donna. I love it too and have Lonicera caprifolium that has very nice fragrance. This one Lonicera sempervirens I’d love to grow in my garden because of its trumpets.

    • Donna says:

      A perfect complement to your other honeysuckle Nadezda. No fragrance though…spring finally arrived late this past week and it is a welcome relief.

      Happy Spring and Happy Easter!

  25. Casa Mariposa says:

    I have ‘Major Wheeeler’ honeysuckle and I’m training it to grow through my trumpet creeper so I’ll have a mix of small and large trumpets for the hummers. The trumpet creeper has a very limited bloom so I’m hoping this extends the interest.

  26. Corner Garden Sue says:

    I enjoyed reading about the honeysuckle. I didn’t know there were native ones. I tried looking to see if they are native to SE Nebraska, but we are in a coffee shop, and my searches got a spinning circle, so I’ll have to wait until later.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. We had some rain the last couple of days, and things are really growing! Yes, I love this time of year!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Sue….unfortunately this honeysuckle is not native to Nebraska, but a similar honeysuckle native to your area is Lonicera dioica or
      Limber honeysuckle.

      We are finally getting some real melt and rain so we are into mud season. I am hoping for a complete melt by the end of next week. Here’s to garden season finally starting.

  27. Grace Peterson says:

    I’m leaning more towards natives too. Mostly I just love seeing happy honeybees, hummers and the occasional butterfly. (That one painted lady keeps visiting which makes me so happy!) This honeysuckle is beautiful. That color is amazing. The nursery you linked looks interesting. Hurry up spring!

    • Donna says:

      Spring is here finally Grace…you have lovely natives in the PNW so have a ball with them. And that is one lucky butterfly to be visiting your garden!

  28. Frank says:

    This is one of my favorite natives. Great profile of it!
    Even without decent support and in spite of an exposed, droughty spot, this honeysuckle still does well for me (and the hummers) and I look forward to its blooms each year.
    Glad to hear in your comments that things are starting to thaw out for you!

    • Donna says:

      Yes Frank spring has arrived and the snow is almost all melted…very wet garden though but the garden is growing…..I adore this honeysuckle because it can take just about anything you throw at it. A real trooper in the garden.

      Happy Spring!

    • Donna says:

      I adored these perfect garden colors on the statue….she was the one I wanted out of all the other colors there. And I cannot wait to see your door and gate painted red Diana. I have some garden furniture I am going to paint I hope and have not decided on a color yet….but red is a great color to consider.

    • Donna says:

      The trumpet vine is wonderful and hummers love it too….I am hoping to plant a native trumpet vine this year….it should make the hummers and bees happy. Glad you enjoyed my honeysuckle Florence.

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