There are two types of honeysuckles: bush honeysuckle and native vine-like plants. The bush variety is often found in yards, whereas the wild native plants grow more commonly in the woods. This deciduous shrub blooms from April through June and will usually get to a height of 15 feet. Its sweet-smelling flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies throughout its blooming season, and it makes an attractive hedge for any yard. Pruning a honeysuckle bush is very basic, requiring a sharp pair of shearing cutters and a few minutes of your time.
Prune as soon as the blooming period is done, usually the end of June, no later than mid-July. A honeysuckle bush blooms on last year's growth, or, as it's called, "old wood." New growth will begin to appear right after pruning through early spring, therefore it's important not to prune this bush in the winter or early spring, which cuts away the growth necessary for it to bloom.
Cut at 45 degrees cutting downward at a diagonal. Make the cut about 1/4 inch in front of the bud, which allows water to run off the cut area and keeps disease and rot from forming. Do not cut any ferther away from the bud or you will create a stump. Be sure to use well-sharpened pruning shears or clippers so as not to tear at the delicate branches.
Cut away old dead wood anytime of the year. This does not affect the blooming period. Cut the dead wood clear down to ground level; do not leave a stump.
Do a severe pruning every couple of years, which will encourage lots of new growth. To do this, prune back to the last bud on each branch, cutting back the branches fairly low to the ground. Do this pruning at the end of summer at the latest to allow time for new growth to form on the bush. There may be fewer blooms that spring, but the following year will see an abundance of blooms.
Do not try to grow the native vine-like variety as it becomes like a weed that is hard to get rid of.
Amy Hannaford teaches childbirth education classes and a healthy pregnancy series in Southern Oregon. Hannaford holds an Associate of Arts degree, a certificate in medical assisting, and has been a childbirth educator and birth doula for 20 years. She has been writing articles for Demand Media since 2008.