Monday, 18 July 2016

Honeysuckle - Lonicera periclymenum

Honeysuckle is one of my favourite plants of all. It is easy to care for and has a wonderful scent, particularly in the evenings. This one was new last year and it has done really well, filling up a vacant space against the fence on a south-facing aspect.

The honeysuckle should ideally be place in a position of half-shade, where it will bloom from June - September. In five years, it will grow to 1 meter.

Bees love honeysuckle, as do moths, who visit mostly in the evening when the scent is at its strongest.

The flowers are several on each stem and the plant has a clever way of attracting insects to pollination. When the flower first opens, the stamens are prominent, the stigma more enclosed so that when the insect lands in order to suck the nectar from the sac at the bottom of the flower, it cannot avoid being covered in pollen. When it passes over a second day flower, the stamens have dropped downwards and the stigma is prominent, allowing the pollen from the insect to drop off onto it and cross pollinate. You can see the difference in the next two pictures. The stigma is more prominent in the second picture. The stigma is the long protuberance with a bobble on the end.

Pruning should take place at the end of winter, beginning of Spring.

In Autumn the plant is covered in beautiful red berries, some of which are edible and can be made into jam or jellies. Always check first before using them for culinary use because some varieties are mildly poisonous.

This honeysuckle is the yellow and white. I recently bought a pink and white one. I'll let you know how it does.

Happy Gardening!