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Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’ (Trumpet Honeysuckle)

Trumpet Honeysuckle 'Major Wheeler', Coral Honeysuckle 'Major Wheeler'

Honeysuckle, Lonicera, Lonicera Major Wheeler, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’, Honeysuckle Major Wheeler
Honeysuckle, Lonicera, Lonicera Major Wheeler, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’ is a remarkable cultivar of the native Trumpet Honeysuckle. Prized for its vibrant, trumpet-shaped, coral-red flowers, this plant is an attractive addition to gardens. The flowers are complemented by bluish-green foliage, offering a visually pleasing contrast.

Native: ‘Major Wheeler’ is a cultivar of Lonicera sempervirens, a species native to the Eastern and Southern United States. As a native plant, it is particularly well-suited to local ecosystems and is a responsible choice for sustainable gardening.

Plant Type and Habit: This is a deciduous to semi-evergreen twining vine. Unlike invasive honeysuckles, ‘Major Wheeler’ is well-behaved and lends itself to controlled growth on trellises, fences, or other vertical supports.

Size: ‘Major Wheeler’ can grow up to 6 to 10 feet in length, depending on growing conditions and support structures. The vine’s thickness can vary but is usually well-contained if properly pruned.

Flowers: The flowers are the star of the show. They are trumpet-shaped, typically around 2 inches (5 cm) long, and their vivid coral-red color can add a spectacular visual interest to the garden.

Bloom Time: This cultivar is known for an exceptionally long bloom time, often from late spring to early fall, depending on the climate and growing conditions. This ensures a continual display of color and scent throughout the growing season.

Foliage: The leaves are bluish-green, elliptical, and usually stay on the plant much of the year, offering continual visual interest even when the plant is not in bloom. They offer a pleasing contrast to the vibrant flowers.

Hardiness: ‘Major Wheeler’ is generally hardy in USDA Zones 4-8, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of climates. It’s also relatively disease-resistant compared to other honeysuckle varieties.

Uses: Due to its manageable size and striking visual appeal, ‘Major Wheeler’ is excellent for trellises, garden fences, and archways. It’s also used to attract pollinators and is suitable for native plant gardens, hummingbird gardens, and informal hedging.

Wildlife: This plant is a magnet for hummingbirds, who are drawn to its red, trumpet-shaped flowers. Butterflies and bees also frequently visit, making it a fantastic addition to any wildlife garden.

Deer and Rabbits: ‘Major Wheeler’ is generally considered deer-resistant, which can be a considerable advantage in areas where deer browse is a concern. However, it is not entirely rabbit-resistant and may require protection in rabbit-prone areas.

Toxicity: While the berries of some honeysuckle species can be toxic, ‘Major Wheeler’ is generally considered to be non-toxic to humans and pets. However, it’s always best to consult authoritative sources if ingestion is a concern.

Drought: Once established, ‘Major Wheeler’ is relatively drought-tolerant but will perform best with regular watering in well-drained soil.

Invasiveness: Unlike some other species of honeysuckle, ‘Major Wheeler’ is not considered invasive.

Benefits: The primary benefits of this plant are its spectacular blooms, long flowering season, and attraction to pollinators. Additionally, being a native species, it plays a role in local ecosystems and is a sustainable choice for North American gardens.

‘Major Wheeler’ offers gardeners a chance to incorporate a native, non-invasive, and stunningly beautiful plant into their landscapes. Its many virtues, from its visual appeal to its ecological benefits, make it a worthy addition to any garden.

Growing Tips

Growing Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’ is a rewarding experience, thanks to its vibrant flowers, long bloom time, and attractiveness to wildlife. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to grow this delightful honeysuckle cultivar:

Site Selection

  • Sunlight: Choose a location with full sun to partial shade. More sunlight generally leads to more blooms.
  • Soil: It prefers well-drained, loamy soil but is tolerant of a range of soil types.
  • Spacing: Ensure you leave at least 5-6 feet between plants if planting more than one vine.

Planting

  • Time: The best time to plant is in the spring or fall.
  • Soil Preparation: Enrich the soil with compost or a balanced fertilizer before planting.
  • Planting Depth: Plant the vine at the same depth it was growing in its nursery pot.

Watering

  • Initial Care: Water thoroughly immediately after planting.
  • Regular Care: Water consistently until the plant is established. Once mature, it is relatively drought-tolerant but benefits from consistent moisture.

Fertilization

  • Initial Feeding: A balanced, slow-release fertilizer can be added at planting time.
  • Seasonal Feeding: In subsequent years, fertilize in early spring before new growth starts.

Support

  • Trellis or Fence: As a climbing vine, ‘Major Wheeler’ will need a support structure like a trellis, fence, or archway.

Pruning

  • Initial Pruning: It’s not essential to prune immediately after planting, but doing so can encourage branching.
  • Seasonal Pruning: Prune as needed to shape and control growth, ideally during late winter or early spring.

Pest and Disease Management

  • Pests: Aphids, scale insects and powdery mildew can occasionally be a problem. Use insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils for aphids and fungicides for powdery mildew.
  • Disease: Leaf blight and rust can affect honeysuckle but are generally less of a concern if you’ve planted in well-drained soil and practice proper spacing for air circulation.

Wildlife

  • Bird-Friendly: This plant is particularly attractive to hummingbirds, so consider planting it in a spot where you can enjoy the wildlife it attracts.

Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Climbers
Plant Family Caprifoliaceae
Genus Lonicera
Common names Woodbine, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Honeysuckle, Coral Honeysuckle
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 6' - 10'
(180cm - 3m)
Spread 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spacing 24" - 48"
(60cm - 120cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Semi-Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Deer, Clay Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Arbors, Pergolas, Trellises, Wall-Side Borders, Walls And Fences
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Coastal Garden, City and Courtyard
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Lonicera hirsuta (Hairy Honeysuckle)
Lonicera dioica (Limber Honeysuckle)
Lonicera flava (Yellow 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 4 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Climbers
Plant Family Caprifoliaceae
Genus Lonicera
Common names Woodbine, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Honeysuckle, Coral Honeysuckle
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 6' - 10'
(180cm - 3m)
Spread 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spacing 24" - 48"
(60cm - 120cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Semi-Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Deer, Clay Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Arbors, Pergolas, Trellises, Wall-Side Borders, Walls And Fences
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Coastal Garden, City and Courtyard
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Not sure which Lonicera (Honeysuckle) to pick?
Compare Now

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