Climbing honeysuckle and its sweet, heady scent are intrinsically linked to summer. But now that summer is over, you need to care for your honeysuckle plant (whether it’s the climbing kind or a shrub) to stay strong and flower abundantly once next year’s summer season hits.
Pruning is an essential part of honeysuckle upkeep so you need to know how to prune honeysuckle, as well as when to prune it. Today, we’re tackling the former.
So if you’re one lucky owner of a honeysuckle plant and are not quite sure how to best cut back your honeysuckle so that it keeps thriving through the cold months and blooms aplenty in the summer, then keep reading for some invaluable garden advice from our panel of gardening experts.
How to prune honeysuckle
While the timing of honeysuckle pruning depends largely on the variety of the plant, how you prune a honeysuckle is very similar across the board, variety to variety. Perhaps the biggest difference is that ‘evergreen honeysuckles do not need as much pruning as deciduous varieties,’ according to Radek Babicek, gardening specialist at Fantastic Services.
One of the biggest takeaways is not to overdo it with your pruning as that can stress the plant, which can then result in less flowering in the summer. And that’s the last thing you want.
‘Try to avoid severe pruning in a single session, as it can stress the plant and reduce flowering, so it is best to spread out your pruning tasks over time,’ says Jack Sutcliffe, co-founder of shed manufacturer, Power Sheds.
What you’ll need
The good news is that you don’t need much to prune your honeysuckle. There are only a couple of things that you should have in your arsenal.
- A pair of pruning shears or secateurs - always sharp and clean as blunt and/or dirty tools can damage your plant and spread disease
- A ladder if your honeysuckle climbs quite high
- A pair of gardening gloves
- Disinfectant (optional) ‘if you're pruning multiple plants or dealing with disease-prone honeysuckle’, Jack recommends to ‘disinfect your pruning tools between cuts so you don’t spread any bacteria to other plants.’
‘You need to start by removing the three D's – dead, damaged, and diseased stems,’ Radek says.
Then, identify any overcrowded growth. ‘Thin out overcrowded growth. Thin out branches that are growing too close together or crossing each other to increase airflow and reduce the risk of diseases,’ recommends Steve Chilton, garden expert from LeisureBench.
Then also cut any stray stems to help shape your plant.
Jack shares his tip on how exactly to cut. ‘We would recommend cutting your plant at a slight angle, just above a healthy bud, as this encourages healing and reduces any risk of damage. It is best to avoid leaving any stubs when you prune.’
Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. As the director of LeisureBench, an industry-leading garden furniture company, Steve has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants.
As mentioned before, honeysuckle should be pruned lightly as severe pruning can stress it too much. Always aim to cut back no more than 1/3 to keep your honeysuckle healthy, as advised by Steve.
One thing to avoid doing (apart from over pruning)?
‘Don’t cut off the dead flower heads of a climbing honeysuckle,' advises Steve. 'These will turn into berries and don't need to be deadheaded.’
Well there you have it. Easy, right?
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Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.
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