Operation NICE! plant of the season
Spring 2007

Vine: Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

 Coral Honeysuckle
Photo: by Lon Turnbull

Description:  Coral Honeysuckle is a perennial vine, with a woody base.  It is almost evergreen in North Texas.  Coral Honeysuckle is an eastern US native, ranging from central Texas to New England.  It has simple opposite leaves that are round to oval with pale undersides.  Its bloom gives the plant its name, with coral to red flowers that are 2 inches long. 

Bloom/berry period:  There is a burst of bloom from March to May, with continued occasional blooms all summer.  Coral Honeysuckle blooms in clusters of 4 to 12 flowers at a time.  In late fall, it has very beautiful bright red berries, favored by birds, but inedible by humans.
Planting sites:  It can climb 15 feet or more, making it suitable for climbing a trellis or a fence.  Plant in dappled or partial shade or sun. The best site is morning sun and afternoon shade, but the plant will also do well as long as it receives a half-day of sun.  Plants should be placed about 6 feet apart.  Like many plants that are vines, Coral Honeysuckle grows best when its base is shaded, so consider planting small perennials around it.  Well-drained moist soil is best, although Coral Honeysuckle can withstand short dry periods.

Watering Instructions:  Coral Honeysuckle should be watered well immediately after planting and then every 7-10 days during the first growing season.  Like most native plants, Coral Honeysuckle should not be over-watered, so be sure to check the soil moisture an inch or two below the soil surface.  After the first growing season, water every 2-4 weeks during prolonged dry periods

Comments:  This lovely vine should not be confused with the non-native invasive Japanese Honeysuckle.  Coral Honeysuckle is very well behaved in the garden, growing slowly and staying where it is planted.  Coral Honeysuckle is a hummingbird magnet.

Look for the NICE! Plant of the Season signs and information sheets on your next visit to a participating North Texas nursery.  Thank you for using native plants in your landscapes.

Written by: Dr. Rebecca Dickstein, Professor of Biology, University of North Texas.

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Last noted update by Lon:  March 19, 2009.