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How to Prune Winter Honeysuckle

Updated July 19, 2017

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.

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  1. Cut off the oldest limbs near the ground with pruning shears to rejuvenate the shrub. Make sure flowering is completed before pruning.

  2. Scan the middle and upper portions of the winter honeysuckle shrub for dead, diseased or aesthetically unpleasant branches.

  3. Trim back offending branches with shears and shape the shrub as desired. Use ladder for any hard-to-reach areas.

  4. Tip

    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.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pruning Shears
  • Ladder

About the Author

Roseann Losito-Raia

Roseann Losito-Raia has over 15 years of experience as a published freelance writer for "The Inside Connection," "The Music Paper" and "The Musician's Exchange." Since graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Long Island University, she has worked as a marketing and advertising manager in the music and DVD industry.

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