Lonicera sempervirens

2014 – Coral Honeysuckle

Coral Honeysuckle is a climbing, semi-evergreen vine with beautiful, bright red flowers. This woody vine has a native range from Connecticut to Nebraska and south to Florida and Texas. It climbs its way up supporting structures by twining and twisting its way skyward. In nature, this species can be found growing on fence rows, in open woodlands and along roadsides, but unlike its Asian cousin, Coral Honeysuckle is not invasive. In the spring, the vine is covered in red to reddish-orange, trumpet shaped flowers that are sweetly scented and are often visited by hummingbirds.

Coral Honeysuckle is in the Caprifoliacea or Honeysuckle family. The vine has simple leaves that reach 1”-3” long and are arranged oppositely on the stem. The leaf color is a blue-green with a powdery underside. Its flowers are tubular clusters and each individual flower is up to 2” long. The plant has a very large bloom in spring, and then blooms again sporadically throughout the summer.  In autumn, leaves fall off still green, but deep red berries are left behind as a source of food for songbirds and other wildlife. Coral Honeysuckle will grow in some shade but the flowering will be greatly reduced. The vine can reach 15’-20’ long and is one of the showiest of the vining honeysuckles. The plant is easy to grow; just site it in an area with full sun with moist soil that is well drained.  There are no serious pest problems, but powdery mildew and black spot can cause occasional cosmetic damage to the leaves.  Prune after flowering to open up the plant and increase air flow through the branches. Coral Honeysuckle makes a beautiful specimen plant in the garden and its spring blooms are real showstoppers!