Simply The Best Natives-Coral Honeysuckle


 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. 


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. 





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?




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.



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. 



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.