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Lonicera hirsuta (Hairy Honeysuckle)

Hairy Honeysuckle, Lonicera pubescens

hairy honeysuckle, Lonicera hirsuta

Lonicera hirsuta, commonly known as the Hairy Honeysuckle, is a climbing vine notable for its distinctive, hairy leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers. This honeysuckle variety offers both ornamental appeal and ecological benefits, adding beauty and biodiversity to gardens and landscapes.

Native: This species is native to North America, primarily in the eastern and central United States and extending into parts of Canada. Its presence enhances local ecosystems and supports native fauna.

Plant Type and Habit: Lonicera hirsuta is a deciduous vine with a twining habit, allowing it to ascend trees, fences, and other vertical structures in its vicinity. It doesn’t have a fast-spreading nature and remains relatively manageable in gardens.

Size: This vine typically grows to a height of 3-15 feet (0.9-4.5 meters) and 3-5 feet (0.9-1.5 meters) wide.

Flowers: The plant features trumpet-shaped, yellow to orange flowers that hang in small clusters. The flowers are a source of nectar and highly attractive to various pollinators. They give way to round to oval orange-red berries.

Bloom Time: Lonicera hirsuta usually blooms from early to mid summer, depending on the local climate and growing conditions.

Foliage: The foliage is deciduous, featuring opposite, oval leaves that have a hairy texture. This unique foliage gives the plant its common name, “Hairy Honeysuckle.” The leaf pair beneath a flower cluster encircles the stem, creating a disk-like structure around the cluster.

Hardiness: This vine is quite hardy, tolerating USDA zones 2-6. It’s relatively resistant to both pests and diseases.

Uses: This honeysuckle variety is often used for erosion control on slopes and embankments. It is also popular in native and woodland gardens, where it can be trained to climb trellises, arbors, or other supports.

Wildlife: The flowers are particularly attractive to hummingbirds, and the small berries that follow flowering can serve as a food source for certain bird species. Insects like bees are also frequent visitors.

Deer and Rabbits: Lonicera hirsuta exhibits some deer resistance. However, its resistance to rabbits is not well-documented.

Toxicity: The berries of Lonicera hirsuta, like those of many honeysuckle species, are generally considered mildly toxic to humans but are not harmful to birds.

Invasiveness: Unlike some exotic honeysuckle species, Lonicera hirsuta is generally not considered invasive, particularly in its native range. Its growth habit is relatively restrained, making it easier to manage in a garden setting.

Growing Hairy Honeysuckle

Growing Hairy Honeysuckle is relatively straightforward.

Site Selection:

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

Planting:

  • Timing: The best times to plant are in the early spring or fall.
  • Spacing: Provide at least 3-6 feet (90-180 cm) of spacing between plants to allow for mature growth.
  • Planting Hole: Dig a hole about twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball.
  • Soil Preparation: Mix compost or organic matter into the soil to increase fertility and improve drainage.
  • Installation: Place the plant in the hole, fill it with the improved soil, tamp down to remove air pockets, and water thoroughly.

Watering:

  • Young plants will need regular watering until they’re well-established.
  • Mature plants are relatively drought-tolerant but will benefit from consistent moisture, especially during dry spells.

Fertilization:

  • Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring, and again in mid-summer if necessary.

Pruning:

  • Pruning is generally not required but can be done to maintain shape or remove dead or diseased parts.
  • If you decide to prune, the best time is late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

Support:

  • Provide a trellis, arbor, or fence for the vine to climb. This species has a twining habit and will naturally wrap around supports.

Pest and Disease Management:

  • Lonicera hirsuta is relatively resistant to pests and diseases but keep an eye out for common issues like aphids and treat as needed.

Requirements

Hardiness 2 - 6
Plant Type Climbers
Plant Family Caprifoliaceae
Genus Lonicera
Common names Honeysuckle
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid)
Height 3' - 15'
(90cm - 4.6m)
Spread 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spacing 36" - 72"
(90cm - 180cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Sand
Soil pH Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, Northeast, Midwest, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota
Tolerance Wet Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds
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 dioica (Limber 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)
Native Plant Alternatives to Lonicera fragrantissima (Sweetest Honeysuckle)
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 2 - 6
Plant Type Climbers
Plant Family Caprifoliaceae
Genus Lonicera
Common names Honeysuckle
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid)
Height 3' - 15'
(90cm - 4.6m)
Spread 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spacing 36" - 72"
(90cm - 180cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Sand
Soil pH Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, Northeast, Midwest, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota
Tolerance Wet Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds
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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