Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is a woody shrub native to China that can now be found in European and American gardens in zones 4 through 9. One of the earliest flowering types of honeysuckle, the winter variety blooms in late January or February with small, creamy, lemon-scented white flowers. In spring, small red berries appear on the shrub. Winter honeysuckle can grow to 10 feet tall so pruning is essential to keep it tidy. This should be done immediately after flowering is completed (March) but you can also cut some branches while they are flowering to enjoy the fragrant blooms indoors.
Cut off the oldest limbs near the ground with pruning shears to rejuvenate the shrub. Make sure flowering is completed before pruning.
Scan the middle and upper portions of the winter honeysuckle shrub for dead, diseased or aesthetically unpleasant branches.
Trim back offending branches with shears and shape the shrub as desired. Use ladder for any hard-to-reach areas.
- When planting winter honeysuckle, chose a location that receives full sun to partial shade. This shrub prefers loamy, moist, well-drained soil. Excessively wet soil should be avoided.
- Hard pruning of winter honeysuckle should be done before July.
- When pruning, keep in mind that winter honeysuckle blooms best on older limbs.
- To enjoy winter honeysuckle blooms indoors, cut off flowering branches on a day when temperatures are above freezing and place in water once inside. Keep away from heat sources.