Lonicera sempervirens or Coral Honeysuckle is an evergreen vine native from Connecticut to Florida and west to Texas. The vine climbs by twisting and twining and can reach up to 40 feet (12 m) in length. The bright green ovate to oblong leaves will reach 3 inches (7.6 cm) long and the upper leaves are united at the base. Here in Oklahoma, this is a great evergreen vine. Young plants can be used in hanging baskets or they are great in the landscape. One of the plusses in having this plant is they are great hummingbird attractors. There are several cultivars which include 'Magnifica' late flowering, 'Minor' partly evergreen, 'Sulphurea' flowers yellow, and 'Superba' flowers scarlet. Plants tend not to be invasive as some of the other honeysuckle species, but they are very easy to grow, whether in containers or in the landscape. Plants are hardy in USDA zones 4-11.
Blooming: Here in Oklahoma, the plants bloom in early spring with 3 inch (7.6 cm) coral red flowers that are yellow on the inside. They are very showy.
Culture: Lonicera sempervirens need full sun to partial shade, with a well drained soil mix. In container, a good soil mix is 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand. In the landscape, they are not fussy about the soil. I have seen them grow in all types of soil. In container, plants are well watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. They are fertilized monthly with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months, plants in container are kept on the dry side, but not enough to let the leaves wilt.
Propagation: Lonicera sempervirens is best propagated from cuttings, layers, and from seed.
Lonicera sempervirens was featured as Plant of the Week April 11-17, 2008.
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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.