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Lonicera dioica (Limber Honeysuckle)

Limber Honeysuckle, Glaucous Honeysuckle, Mountain Honeysuckle, Red Honeysuckle, Smooth-leaved Honeysuckle, Lonicera dioica var. dasygyna, Lonicera dioica var. glaucescens, Lonicera dioica var. orientalis, Lonicera glaucescens, Lonicera glaucescens var. dasygyna

limber honeysuckle, Lonicera dioica

Lonicera dioica, also known as Red Honeysuckle or Limber Honeysuckle, is a striking deciduous climbing vine characterized by its red or orange tubular flowers. It’s a relatively lesser-known species of honeysuckle but one that brings a unique aesthetic touch to any landscape it graces.

Native: This honeysuckle species is native to North America, predominantly found in the eastern and central regions, from Canada down to the United States. This plant thrives in damp locations, including wetlands and elevated regions within coniferous and deciduous forests. It also flourishes in thickets, often preferring sandy or rocky terrain.

Plant Type and Habit: Lonicera dioica is a deciduous vine that typically climbs by twining itself around supports. The plant has a vigorous, climbing habit, allowing it to ascend trees, fences, and other structures effortlessly.

Size: This vine typically grows to a height of 3-10 feet (0.9-3 meters) and 3-6 feet (0.9-1.8 meters) wide.

Flowers: The tubular flowers of Lonicera dioica are a deep red or orange color and are usually around 1 inch long (2.5 cm). These flowers often give way to small, round to oval, bright red to orange-red berries that mature in the late summer.

Bloom Time: The plant typically blooms from late spring to early summer, providing a long-lasting display of vibrant colors.

Foliage: The leaves are opposite, oblong to oval in shape, and have a dark green color. Leaves below flowers are fused together like a cup. They provide a lovely backdrop to the bright flowers and can turn a yellowish hue in autumn.

Hardiness: This vine is quite hardy, tolerating USDA zones 3-5. It’s relatively resistant to both pests and diseases.

Uses: Lonicera dioica is often used in native plant gardens, woodland gardens, or as a specimen plant for trellises and arbors.

Wildlife: This honeysuckle species is highly attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, which are drawn to its nectar-rich flowers. The berries also provide food for various bird species.

Deer and Rabbits: The plant has moderate resistance to deer and rabbits.

Toxicity: Like many honeysuckle species, the berries of Lonicera dioica are generally considered to be mildly toxic to humans but are not harmful to birds.

Invasiveness: One of the advantages of this species is that it’s generally not considered invasive, especially in its native range, making it a responsible choice for ecological gardens.

Lonicera dioica offers an array of benefits, from its aesthetic appeal to its role in supporting local biodiversity. It’s a fantastic choice for those looking to incorporate a native, non-invasive, and wildlife-friendly vine into their gardens.

Growing Limber Honeysuckle

Growing Limber Honeysuckle is relatively straightforward.

Site Selection:

  • Sunlight: Prefers full sun to partial shade. It will produce more vibrant flowers in a sunnier spot.
  • Soil: Well-drained, moderately fertile soil is ideal. It can tolerate a range of soil types including sandy and loamy soils.

Planting:

  • Timing: The best times to plant Lonicera dioica are in the early spring or fall.
  • Spacing: Aim for a distance of about 3-6 feet (90-180 cm) between plants to give them room to spread.
  • Planting Hole: Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and equally deep.
  • Soil Preparation: Enrich the planting hole with well-rotted compost or organic matter.
  • Installation: Position the plant in the hole and fill it with the enriched soil. Tamp down gently and water thoroughly.

Watering:

  • Young plants will require regular watering to establish their root systems.
  • Once established, Lonicera dioica is moderately drought-tolerant but will appreciate consistent moisture.

Fertilization:

  • A balanced, slow-release fertilizer applied in early spring should suffice for most growing conditions.

Pruning:

  • Pruning is usually unnecessary but can be done to shape the plant, remove dead or diseased wood, or control its size.
  • The best time for pruning is late winter to early spring before new growth starts.

Support:

  • Provide a sturdy support structure such as a trellis, arbor, or fence for the vine to climb.

Pest and Disease Management:

  • Generally, this species is relatively resistant to pests and diseases.
  • Keep an eye out for aphids or mildew and treat them with appropriate organic remedies if they appear.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 5
Plant Type Climbers
Plant Family Caprifoliaceae
Genus Lonicera
Common names Red Honeysuckle, Limber Honeysuckle, Honeysuckle
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 3' - 10'
(90cm - 3m)
Spread 3' - 6'
(90cm - 180cm)
Spacing 36" - 72"
(90cm - 180cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Southeast, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Northeast, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, North Dakota, Kansas, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Wyoming
Tolerance Wet Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Arbors, Pergolas, Trellises, Wall-Side Borders, Walls And Fences
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Lonicera hirsuta (Hairy Honeysuckle)
Lonicera flava (Yellow Honeysuckle)
Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’ (Trumpet Honeysuckle)
Lonicera involucrata (Twinberry Honeysuckle)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle)
Lonicera albiflora (White Honeysuckle)

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Native Plant Alternatives to Lonicera japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle)
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Best Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 5
Plant Type Climbers
Plant Family Caprifoliaceae
Genus Lonicera
Common names Red Honeysuckle, Limber Honeysuckle, Honeysuckle
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 3' - 10'
(90cm - 3m)
Spread 3' - 6'
(90cm - 180cm)
Spacing 36" - 72"
(90cm - 180cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Southeast, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Northeast, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, North Dakota, Kansas, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Wyoming
Tolerance Wet Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Arbors, Pergolas, Trellises, Wall-Side Borders, Walls And Fences
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Not sure which Lonicera (Honeysuckle) to pick?
Compare Now

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