Honeysuckle: How to prune popular plant in summer – keeps it ‘healthy’ and ‘under control’

Monty Don shares tips for pruning fruit trees

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Honeysuckle are known for their pretty flowers, incredible scent and ability to scale walls, pergolas and buildings. There are actually a plethora of different types of honeysuckle which include evergreen and shrub types. The plants flower in summer and produce flowers that can be white, cream, yellow, pink, orange and red.

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Honeysuckle is actually easy to grow, prefer partial shade and like mulch to help them retain moisture.

But one of the most important parts of caring for honeysuckle is regular pruning.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), pruning keeps honeysuckle “healthy and under control”.

There are actually two main types of honeysuckle.

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Identifying which type you have is important when it comes to knowing how to prune them.

Early-flowering honeysuckle

Examples of early-flowering honeysuckle includes Lonicera periclymenum ‘Belgica’ which has pink, white and cream flowers.

These then turn a yellow colour in the early summer and then produce red berries.

This type of honeysuckle needs to be pruned straight after flowering in the summer months.

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Flowers bloom on side shoots on the previous season’s growth.

In the late summer, after flowering, the shoots need to be cut back by a third.

Then, cut back any side shoots so there are small spurs of two to three buds coming off the main stems.

Late-flowering honeysuckle

Examples of late-flowering honeysuckle include Lonicera periclymenum ‘Serotina’ and Lonicera Tellmanniana.

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These will need pruning in the spring months.

The plant flowers on the current season’s growth so they just need trimming slightly.

Hard pruning should be avoided as it will reduce flowering.

Any long shoots growing out outwards should be cut.

Parts of the plant becoming congested with stems and shoots should also be trimmed.

Gardeners need to start by removing weak and damaged shoots, according to the RHS.

If a honeysuckle needs completely retraining and cutting back, it’s best to do this in late winter.

Cut back all the stems to around 60cm and the plant should start to grow new shoots.

The new stems and shoots can then be repositioned to climb up supports or structures.

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