How to Grow Honeysuckle in Pots

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Honeysuckle has everything a plant needs for popularity: a vigorous growth habit and incredibly fragrant flowers that attract bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies, but some species are invasive and can choke out native plants. That's one reason that growing honeysuckle vines in a pot is a very good option for gardeners with small spaces.

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Meet the Honeysuckle Clan

The honeysuckle family (​Lonicera​ spp.) is a group of vigorous vines and shrubs that are reputed to be virtually indestructible. They offer abundant foliage, fragrant flowers, and interesting fruit, but some species, notably the popular Japanese honeysuckle (​Lonicera japonica​), easily escape cultivation and get out of control in the landscape. The common name "honeysuckle" comes from the sweet taste of the flower's nectar.

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Honeysuckle species have arcing stems that grow tall, ranging from 6 feet to 20 feet in height. The blossoms appear in spring — some species in early spring and some in late spring. They open into four-petal flowers that grow in two pairs from the leaf axis. The white flowers are the best known, but flower colors vary and can include red and pink. These are followed by shiny, round berries that are orange, red, or pinkish and grow along the stem in groups of four.

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Grow the Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle plants are willing, able, and happy to grow almost anywhere. They love the sun but will put their preferences aside if necessary to shoot up in partial shade and areas with only morning sun. Shrub honeysuckles don't like wet soil or soil that drains poorly, but they will give it a try anyway, though ultimately, most species will die in these locations. A few species can tolerate seasonal wetness, and you can see them in bogs and near river beds. On the other hand, dry soil is no issue for honeysuckles, and in nature, they overpower smaller plants.

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Plant Honeysuckle in Containers

Growing honeysuckle in pots is a win-win option. Even the currently disfavored Japanese honeysuckle can be kept relatively isolated when grown in a container. This also works well for gardeners with small backyards. Little care is required besides irrigation and occasional pruning. Select species that thrive in your hardiness zone — their hardiness varies among varieties — and prepare a large container for your new plant.

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Place the container in a sunny location before you add soil to make the task easier. If the honeysuckle is a vine, site the container near a fence, tree, or trellis to allow it to climb. Make sure that it has sufficient drain holes to allow all excess water to leave the pot. Use ordinary potting soil — honeysuckles are not picky — and prepare a planting hole. Transplant your new honeysuckle into the pot and water thoroughly. As the plant grows, tie the vine to the support.

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