Honeysuckle’s foliage is beautiful, trailing and attractive – but the flowers are something else. The delicate scent evokes spring and summer, and they are especially delightful in the early evening. So you have planted your honeysuckle and you are looking forward to the flowering season. But what to do when my honeysuckle is not flowering, I hear you cry?
You read this article and figure out why, then follow the tips on how to encourage blooms on your favourite climber!
What’s so great about honeysuckle flowers?
Honeysuckle flowers are very beautiful; they are a lovely interesting shape, and they come in a large variety of different colours – from pale pink to yellow, and shades of pink and mauve.
The most wonderful thing about honeysuckle flowers is the smell – it is evocative and delicately floral, and is especially noticeable at dusk. Perfect for sitting in the garden with a nice cold drink on summer evenings!
Honeysuckle flowers are not only attractive to humans – bees love them, and will help to pollinate the other plants in your garden.
Honeysuckle flowers also produce berries, which make a great winter food for birds when the blossoms die back, so you should always leave a few on the vine to create winter bird food.
This video talks about a few of the different types of honeysuckle there are, and the shows you the huge variety in their flowers:
Why is my honeysuckle not flowering?
There are many reasons why a honeysuckle might not be flowering, and many things that can be done about it. Work out what your honeysuckle’s problem might be, then you can fix it and enjoy the lovely flowers – along with the insects and birds.
1. Not enough sunlight
Honeysuckle likes a full sun position; they can survive in partial sun, but a totally sun drenched position is best for these to flower well. 6 or more hours of full sunlight per day per day is best for these sunbathers.
2. Too much fertiliser
Honeysuckle, like all plants, benefits from a good feed now and then – but honeysuckle can thrive even in poor soil, so overdoing the compost may result in more foliage but fewer flowers.
3. Excessive pruning
Most plants like a little trim now and then, and honeysuckle is no exception – but make sure you are not trimming your plant too much or at the wrong time.
Some plants like to be pruned after they have bloomed, while others prefer a haircut before they have started their spring growth. Best check which type of honeysuckle you have before you get the snippers out.
4. A young plant
If your honeysuckle is brand new, it may take time to come into its own. Some honeysuckles can start blooming straight away; others take a year or two.
Then there are those confusing ones that flower spectacularly for their first year then lie dormant for the next two. You’ll have to work out which type of plant you have, before you decide that it isn’t working – sorry!
The seasons affect all plants, and honeysuckle is no exception – some are less hardy than others, and won’t cope well with a really harsh winter. Check that your honeysuckle is in a protected position and is safe from extreme cold or strong winds.
When does honeysuckle flower?
There are different species of honeysuckle, that flower at different times. You can get Earlies and Lates, depending on what species you have – check which type you are growing to know exactly when it should be flowering.
As semi evergreens, all honeysuckle will die back in the winter, but most will only be bare of leaves for a short time, so your garden won’t look completely barren for long.
How to make a honeysuckle flower
You cannot make any plant do what it does not want to do, sadly, much as we may try! But there are ways to encourage blooms on your favourite climber, by following a few simple tips:
- Give it more light. If your honeysuckle is in a north facing position, or it is overshadowed by another tall plant blocking out the sun, then it will not flower. You can either move the plant to a sunnier position, or cut back any shading plants.
- Give it fertiliser. Honeysuckle benefits from a dose of nutrients in the spring – it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just your standard garden compost – but do make sure you give it a dose of the good stuff before the spring growth.
- Give it enough water. Honeysuckle is a tolerant plant, but no plant can survive without a drink. Water the plant when the weather is dry, or it is hot for prolonged periods.
- Give it a trim. Honeysuckle flowers on new growth, so giving it a good prune will encourage those blooms. It’s best to do this in the winter, when most of the plant is dormant.
Honeysuckle is a truly lovely plant, with its twirling climbing stems, delicate leaves – and of course, those all important flowers. The scent of a honeysuckle flower is truly delightful, so if you want to know why isn’t my honeysuckle flowering then you are not alone!
Try a few of the tips above, and you can enjoy the sight and smell of honeysuckle for a good long time to come.