February 27, 2011

Coral Honeysuckle

Coral honeysuckle was one of the first plants to turn ratty this fall. Now, it's one of the first ones to start  blooming in the spring.

Watching this plant get started after the winter is like watching Benjamin Button grow young. First, the dry vines that I thought might have died put on curled yellow and maroon tinged foliage. The leaves look freeze damaged so it's easy to think they've been there all winter, but no, they're new.

Then over the course of a few days, the leaves start to unfurl and turn green. Next, trombone shaped flowers appear sporadically. Within a few weeks, the entire the vine will be lush and splotched with pink bouquets.

Coral Honeysuckle Before
I thought that parts of my honeysuckle had died during the winter, and if they had, I was looking forward to the opportunity to trim the dead wood and give the vine a make over.

Coral honeysuckle is a twiner, not a climber. It needs a trellis. My lazy attempts to hoist the vine by its limbs and heave its weight over the fence have resulted in the pitiful, knotted mess pictured above.

Thankfully, this weekend, I found a free solution that makes the vine look 100 times better. We took apart our temporary compost bins that were made of pig fencing and repurposed the material as a trellis for the honeysuckle. 

Tah dah! What a difference, right?! Free, recycled and refreshed. Bring on the blooms.


  1. Looks great! My honeysuckle is just now putting on leaves. I like your idea of the pig fence...my vine is 7 years old and is a jumbled mess...my neighbor doesn't like it to crawl over and cuts it back every year. Is that a squirrel's head over the fence?

  2. I can't imagine a neighbor not welcoming a coral honeysuckle. It's not invasive at all and so pretty when it is in bloom. Your experience makes me grateful to have the neighbors I do.
    The squirrel is actually a fake owl that my rear neighbor installed years ago to discourage the mockingbirds from pecking her tomatoes. I doubt it works.