How to Cut Honeysuckle

Updated February 21, 2017

Honeysuckle plants belong to the Lonicera genus. They can be climbing vines or small shrubs which are pruned after flowering if they are spring bloomers and pruned in early spring if they flower in summer. These times are important to note because you risk losing the buds if you prune at the wrong time. Summer-blooming Lonicera plants cannot be pruned after flowering because the plant will be spurred to produce new growth which will be harmed by freezing temperatures. Vine-type honeysuckle is primarily pruned to reduce its size and clean it up. Bushy Lonicera plants are pruned in the same manner as any flowering shrub.

Reduce the number of vines by one-third after they have bloomed or in early spring if they are summer-blooming varieties. Cut the thick grey canes back to the next crotch. Be careful not to cut into the parent wood.

Cut out any straggly growth that is outside the lattice or growing area. Remove broken branches and dead wood. Deadhead the flowers where they still remain by cutting the spent blooms off to the next growth node.

Rejuvenate honeysuckle vines every three years by cutting them back to 3 1/2 feet from the ground. Tie up any new growth that has become errant.

Cut out any dead wood or broken stems. Thin the plant by removing some of the tangle of growth at the centre. The goal is to introduce light and enhance air circulation. You may remove up to one-third of the branches. Prune back to originating wood.

Shorten the branches by heading back or pruning back to the next growth node. The cut should be 1/4 inch outside the node. Very thin new growth is pinched back to the next growth node to encourage bushing..

Make cuts at a 45-degree angle, which will deflect water away from the growth node or any buds. Remove any suckers and low limbs on larger bushes that prevent mowing or other maintenance. Follow the natural shape of the bush as much as possible to prevent stressing the honeysuckle.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruners
  • Ladder
  • Plant ties
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About the Author

Bonnie Grant began writing professionally in 1990. She has been published on various websites, specializing in garden-related instructional articles. Grant recently earned a Bachelor of Arts in business management with a hospitality focus from South Seattle Community College.