cutting back honeysuckle

lilionJanuary 24, 2013

I have a trellis, about 12 feet long and 8 feet high, that screens my patio from a neighbor. It gets shade on the lawn side and sun on the patio side. I planted four red honeysuckle about five years ago on the shady side, hoping to have a nice thick screen of flowers. Instead, the vines grew literally straight up the screen - really straight, two or three vines weaving in and out of the trellis with no branches at all - and then over the top, so that it is only branched up at the top. I really should have cut it back the first year, when I realized it wasn't going to branch, but I didn't. I'm wondering, if I cut it back now will it branch? Or will I just kill it? If I can cut it, when do I do it? How far back can I cut it? Thank you in advance for any ideas.

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Honeysuckle blooms on last year's wood, so don't prune it until this year's bloom cycle is done. Here's a link to tell you how and when:

Here is a link that might be useful: How to prune Honeysuckle

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 6:32AM
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Thank you for the response. I don't see anything that says I can prune back as far as I really want I may end up just buying new plants and starting over. I really hate how it looks now, just bare vines up to the top. I guess I'll live with it this year, since I read to prune no later than mid-July. Maybe I should just find a vine that doesn't get that tall to fill in? Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 3:24PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Your honeysuckle will be seeking the light. Since the lawn side is shady it will inevitably go up and search for the sun.

However, I can't see any advantage in buying and planting new plants when you could just cut down the current plants which are already well established. They will grow away again much faster than new plants. Then, as they start to throw out new shoots train them through the trellis to the sunny (patio) side and then horizontally back and forth across the patio side of the fence rather than letting them go up without check.

No honeysuckle will give you 'a nice thick screen of flowers.' You will get a screen of foliage with flowers in it. So even if you lose this season's flowers you will still have a green screen. Planting anew will not achieve this.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 5:36PM
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Oh thank you Flora, that will do nicely. So I can just cut them way back? That would be great. I'll wait until the late summer this year and see how it goes.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:49PM
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If you can kill honeysuckle, you are a smarter person the most of us! LOL This is one TOUGH plant!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 6:56AM
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Excellent! Just what I'd hoped to hear. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:56AM
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