Dozens of species belong to the genus lonicera, evergreen, deciduous and climbing; in the garden borders are mainly used two species, L. pileata and L. sharp. These are evergreen shrubs, native to Asia; they have small alternate leaves, dark green, shiny and waxy; in May-June they produce small cream flowers, followed by dark berries.
The lonicers have a rather slow development and reach the 70-90 cm of height; they have a semiprostrate carriage and an enlarged shape, with very messy but dense and compact ramifications. It is used in hedges and low borders. There are varieties with variegated or lemon-yellow leaves. To maintain a rounded shape, it is advisable to prune the plants at the end of winter or in autumn; the hedges of lonicera are also suitable for topiary art.
The lonicera, commonly known as honeysuckle, is a plant of the genus of the honeysuckle. These are generally creepers or shrubs usually deciduous that can reach up to 25 meters in height (although generally ranging from 2 meters up to 8).
It has to be said that all the exponents of this kind have great virtues. In some, the greatest is the aesthetic beauty of branches and flowers. In others, (especially the Lonicera roe deer) is the perfume, a symbol of the spring itself and still used today in the perfume industry for its warm and enveloping notes.
Honeysuckle cultivation is not difficult at all. To succeed well, you simply have to try to reproduce as much as possible the conditions in which it grows spontaneously in nature. This means an area not too exposed to the sun and heat, a rich and humid substrate, but still well drained.
Family and gender
Roe deer, Gen.
Lonicera, about 180 species
Type of plant
Climber or shrub with persistent or deciduous leaves
Foot in the shade, hair well lit
Usually rustic, but it depends on the species
Rich, moist, well drained, possibly neutral or sub-acidic
white flowers, cream, yellow, pink, red, orange, green leaves, glaucous, bronze, cream
Frequent in hot periods
From spring to autumn, depending on the species
- The Lonicera fragrantissima is a shrub with deciduous leaves of medium size, not exceeding 2.5-3 meters high, originating in China and East Asia. It has long thin stems, slightly arched, and has a very good…
- Lonicera japonica belongs to the Caprifoliaceae family; it is a genus of about 200 plants that includes shrubs and creepers, evergreens and deciduous plants. Some species can be found in the…
- The genre lonicera includes about two hundred species of shrubs, deciduous or evergreen, widespread in nature in Europe, Asia and North America, these plants are very different in themselves.
- dearest I should plant a hedge and I would like to make it of honeysuckle you know advise me which for an evergreen hedge and in the mild area ? thank you …
They are planted in a sunny or semi-shady place; they are not afraid of the cold and the summer heat; due to their great resistance to the saltiness and to the atmospheric pollution, these shrubs are very much used also in the urban areas, even close to the sea.
The best exposure is almost always North-West. It should be treated like all forest plants and therefore the ideal is to be able to place it where its foot is in the shade and its foliage in the sun. In this way the roots will always be cool, while the aerial part will receive plenty of light thus promoting a good growth and flowering.
In any case, let’s avoid overly hot locations that could favour the advent of parasites (such as aphids or red spiders). In particular, we do not use this essence to cover sunny walls.
Usually they are satisfied with the rains, withstanding without problems even long periods of drought. The plants just placed in the ground need regular watering, at least for the first summer. Be careful to avoid excessive watering.
Irrigation should always be abundant during the growing season (especially in the absence of rainfall). Let’s make sure that the substrate is always slightly moist (but without stagnation). Particularly during the summer, this can involve numerous weekly interventions, especially if we live in the plain, in the Centre-South or in coastal areas.
The lonicers develop in any terrain, even in the common garden earth. They prefer rich, loose and well-drained soils and badly adapt to soils that retain a lot of moisture.
They are not particularly demanding shrubs. We can say that in order to obtain excellent results we must certainly give them a substrate rich in humus, deep, capable of retaining moisture, but not heavy.
Therefore, only soils that are too poor (such as sandy soils) or too compact or clayey should be avoided. The ideal is a forest soil rich in organic matter and with a neutral or slightly acidic pH.
it happens by seed or by cutting; usually the prostrate stems tend to root as soon as they touch the ground, it is possible to detach these small plants from the mother plant and place them directly in the ground.
Pests and diseases
They are generally quite resistant to pests and diseases; sometimes they can be affected by root rot or aphids.
The genus includes about 180 species originating from all over the northern hemisphere. Their natural habitat is the wooded mountain areas: they are easily found from about 600 meters above sea level up to 4000 (in the Himalayan area).
In our peninsula are considered endemic nine species: the implexa, the roe deer, the Etruscan, the peryclimenum, the alpigena, the xilosteum, the nigra and the caerulea.
Traditionally in Italy this plant has always been called honeysuckle, but the genus was named lonicera by Linnaeus in honor of the German doctor Lonitzer.
History of the Lonicera
The introduction in cultivation is rather ancient. The first hints of an ornamental use are already to be found in the XIII in England. It was mainly used to cover structures such as kiosks or pergolas, where it was pleasant to stay because of the sweet smell. Around 1700, they went in search of more refined, compact and domesticated species. Therefore, some species were imported from the Far East and from the American continent.
Almost all the Lonicas are rustic. This means that they can easily withstand temperatures as low as -15-20°C. However, minimum temperatures can have a significant effect on the persistence of the leaves. Some varieties will be evergreen everywhere, others only in some areas. However, there are also deciduous species everywhere.
They are not strictly necessary, especially if the soil is already rich in organic matter.
In any case, it is always a good practice to mulch the foot of the specimens with floured manure in November. When spring arrives, we can add a handful of granular fertilizers for fruit plants (with a good nitrogen and potassium content) in order to stimulate both vegetative growth and flower production.
The best time for this operation is undoubtedly autumn, but it can proceed until late spring (especially if the plant is in a pot).
We choose a suitable location and dig a rather deep hole, breaking through the walls with a pitchfork. We insert the plant after having created a draining layer with some gravel. If necessary, we enrich or enclose the soil to be reinserted. Let’s irrigate abundantly and continue for at least two months with frequent interventions (avoiding only during the frost period).
It is important to underline that this shrub is not able to attach itself to smooth structures such as walls because it clings through fickle stems and is not equipped with suction cups (like ivy). It is therefore very important to provide a support structure with strong steel cables, wooden poles or metal structures so that the plant can cling to it. However, let’s avoid climbing it on trees or other plants because, in time, it could seriously damage them.
Honeysuckle doesn’t really need to be pruned. Ideally, it should be used after the winter to eliminate dry, diseased or poorly directed branches. We always avoid intervening on the main branches.
It can happen, however, that a specimen dries up to the base. This must not cause us to be alarmed because it is a characteristic periodism: we intervene by cutting sharply almost up to the foot. In a short time we will see new jets sprouting up and the plant will be completely renewed.
Varieties of Lonicera
It is a deciduous climber that can reach 7 meters in height and is spontaneous throughout our peninsula. It blooms between June and July, producing bunched, tubular, white-yellow, highly perfumed flowers. In autumn they evolve into bright red berries. It adapts well in positions from mid-shade to shade.
Climber native to the Mediterranean regions, depending on the variety, it can have persistent or deciduous leaves. It resists well up to -20°C. Very decorative both for the foliage tending to glaucous, both for the young shoots with reddish shades. The flowers are yellow, suffused with red, very abundant and deliciously scented. It reaches 7 metres in height.
Native to China and Japan, it has a climbing habit (up to 12 metres), with leaves that persist in temperate climates. It grows quickly and produces abundant fuchsia flowers inside and cream outside, with a pleasant scent. In autumn they evolve into dark blue berries. Cultivar:
Mint Crisp with oval leaves, stained with light green and cream, white flowers, up to 3-4 meters
Halliana white flowers, then yellow, very perfumed. Leaves are shiny and tapered, often persistent. Grows quickly up to 10 meters
Hall’s Prolific first white, then yellow flowers that can evolve into black berries. The scent is intense. It blooms long, abundantly, and even the growth is fast (up to 10 meters)
Aureoreticulated has light green oval leaves, semi-persistent. The primary and secondary veins are yellow, creating a beautiful contrast. The flowers are first white then yellow, perfumed. It grows up to 10 meters.
Chinensis has dark green leaves, persistent in central-southern Italy, and pink and yellow flowers. Its scent is exceptional. It can reach up to 10 metres in height. Very widespread.
Lonicera peryclimenum blooms depending on the climate in spring (in the south) or autumn (in the north). In Italy it is spontaneous only in the North-East, in Liguria and some areas of Tuscany. It has oval, glaucous green, deciduous leaves. The perfumed flowers are grouped in terminal bundles and are also suitable for cutting. The color is yellowish white with pinkish shades. Up to 7 meters high. And plant much loved in the United Kingdom. Cultivar:
Belgica white flowers with pinkish nuances that then turn to yellow. In autumn it produces red berries. Up to 7 meters high
Serotine late flowering, but which can last until autumn. The petals are cream and white, with hints of red and pink. It grows vigorously up to 8 meters.
Graham Thomas has persistent foliage almost everywhere. The flowers are yellow, cream and white, very abundant and fragrant.
Lonicera sempervirens original plant in North America arrived in Europe in the mid 1600s. It is a vigorous shrub with rapid growth and tends to be evergreen. However, it is not completely rustic as it can begin to suffer already at -10 ° C. The leaves are a beautiful bluish green and the flowers are not perfumed. However, it can be said that they are lively and spectacular in full bloom. They are about 5 cm long, tubular, in groups of 6.
The color is a bright orange scarlet, with the interior suffused with yellow. It grows to 8 meters.
Sharp Lonicera it’s a shrubby form. It blooms between June and July and reaches a maximum height of 4 metres. It comes from China, from very high altitudes and is therefore very resistant. It is an evergreen shrub, compact, very suitable for forming hedges. The young stems have a beautiful purple shade. The leaves are small, dark green and leathery. The flowers are very small and white. In autumn, it produces globular purple fruits. Excellent alternative to boxwood.