Q What conditions does honeysuckle (lonicera) enjoy?
A Plant in reliably moist but well-drained soil. Honeysuckle flowers best in sun, but they are woodland plants and might be healthier in partial shade. They prefer to have their roots in shade.
After planting, mulch with well-rotted compost to help keep soil moist and roots cool. This will help reduce the risk of powdery mildew.
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Caption: Lonicera periclymenum 'Red Gables'
Q How do I prune honeysuckle?
A Plant size can be kept in check by regular pruning.
Some (Lonicera periclymenum) flower in early summer on sideshoots on growth made the previous year. Cut back the stems by about a third in late summer, when flowering has finished.
Later flowering varieties, such as the Japanese honeysuckle (L. japonica) can be cut back as needed in spring by shortening any long shoots or tidying tangled growth.
Overgrown plants of all varieties can be cut back hard to around 60cm in early spring and will soon regrow.
Q What pests and diseases affect honeysuckle?
A Powdery mildew is a common problem, especially in dry soils. Water during dry weather and thin out tangled growth to improve airflow around plants.
Aphids attack shoot tips and buds in early summer, and can become a serious problem. If spotted early, it’s possible to squash aphids to prevent colonies increasing. Rose sprays that contain a fungicide and insecticide can help to control both aphids and powdery mildew.