Honeysuckle is one of the most beautiful plants; gorgeous flowers, a delicious smell, and the truly pleasing look of it as it tumbles down walls or peeps through fence panels. Honeysuckle is found in China, India, Europe and North America. It grows wild in the UK, and one of the nicest things on a walk though the countryside is spotting its delicate flowers and smelling its unforgettable scent.
It is a very easy and rewarding plant to grow in your own garden, if you have the space and the soil for it – but for those with smaller green spaces, can you grow honeysuckle in a pot? The answer is yes! There are a few things you should do to keep it healthy and thriving though, so read on for these tips.
What is Honeysuckle?
The honeysuckle (or Lonicera, to give it its official name) is a very low maintenance plant, which you’ll be pleased to hear if you are not green fingered! It is easy and forgiving to grow, and is equally at home climbing up a terrace or creeping along a wall.
The flowers are yellow to pale or deep red, and they have a characteristic shape and a delicious smell. These flowers will attract all sorts of insects to your garden, including the all-important honey bee. Butterflies also love honeysuckle, so you can be sure of a riot of colour and wildlife in your garden!
There are over 180 species of honeysuckle, and you can even get a winter variety so your garden will be fragrant all year round.
Once you have chosen your honeysuckle you will need to decide where to put it. Honeysuckle likes full sun and partial shade, so make sure you pick a spot in your garden that gets lots of natural light. They prefer soils that are slightly acidic, and well-draining but not overly dry.
It is best to dig in some organic fertiliser at the beginning of the season, to give your new honeysuckle the best start in life by allowing nutrients to release into the soil, but apart from that you shouldn’t have to feed it to keep it healthy.
Tips on how to grow honeysuckle in a pot
Here is a list of tips on how to grow honeysuckle in a pot.
1. Choose a sunny, moist spot
In the wild, honeysuckle grows with its roots in the shade and its upper branches in the sunlight, but in a cultivated garden they have to take what they can get. Make sure they get enough sunlight or they won’t flower, and may even shed their leaves.
2. Plant at the right time of year
Plant your honeysuckle in the spring, after the last frosts have definitely passed, to give it the best chance of survival. They are hardy plant which will survive the Winter, but ill go dormant during the coldest months so it is best not to attempt any potting or re potting at this time.
3. Install supports for your honeysuckle
You need to work out of you have a climbing honeysuckle or a ground covering one. If you have a climber you will need to have a good sturdy structure to grow it up. You can either place the pot near an existing wall or fence, or you could bring in a trellis or place stakes in the soil. This has to be done before you plant your honeysuckle, as it may grow alarmingly fast!
4. Select a large pot
You will want one that is two or three times larger than the honeysuckle’s current pot. This will allow its roots to spread, and it will reward you by growing bigger and bushier. The pot will also need to be large enough to accommodate a support or a trellis, if you are using one.
5. Fill the pot halfway up with good compost
Using decent compost will give your honeysuckle the best start in life as it will contain all the right nutrients for a growing plant. You don’t want to fill the pot full of seed compost as there won’t be room for the honeysuckle!
6. Place the honeysuckle in the pot and cover the roots
The base of the plant should sit flush with the level of the pot, then you need to fill in the spaces with more soil or compost.
7. Train your honeysuckle
You will need to wrap the vines of the plant around the support, to make it grow where you want it to grow.
Growing honeysuckle in a pot – key advantages
One of the advantages to planting your honeysuckle in a pot is that you can move it to where it likes to grow best if it turns out not to like where you have originally placed it. You may decide that it would be happier in a lighter part of your garden, or closer to a structure up which it can climb. Moving a pot is far easier than uprooting a plant and replanting it elsewhere!
Another advantage is that you can keep an eye on the health of your plant more easily if it is in a pot that you can move around to look at all sides of it. Honeysuckle are prone to attacks by aphids, which will need to be removed by hand or treated with specialised applications of aphid remover.
It is a good idea to prune your honeysuckle, to prevent it from rampaging out of hand and to encourage new, healthy growth. Pruning is best done in the autumn or winter, when the plant is dormant and there is no risk of damaging the plant. You can prune honeysuckle pretty hard and it will still spring back the following season.
Honeysuckle is a very rewarding, sweet smelling and beautiful plant which will make a wonderful addition to any garden. If you don’t have a garden, can you grow honeysuckle in a pot? Yes you can, and you will find it to be just as easy and gorgeous as those grown in the ground.