When to prune honeysuckle to ensure abundant, delicate blooms come next year

Gardening pros advise when is the best time to prune your honeysuckle plant and what to avoid

A pink honeysuckle plant
(Image credit: Getty Images/Arterra)

We’re used to seeing honeysuckle climbing over walls and fences all across the country with their pretty and delicate tubular-shaped blooms in shades of pink, yellow and white. But actually, honeysuckles come in both climbing and shrub varieties. Either way, if you have one of these fragrant plants adorning your garden, you need to know when to prune honeysuckle to keep it healthy.

While we would love for the answer to be straightforward, as it often happens in gardening, one shoe rarely fits all. But luckily our garden experts are on hand for a dose of gardening advice to explain the ins and outs of honeysuckle pruning to keep your garden looking great.

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When to prune honeysuckle

A honeysuckle flower

(Image credit: Getty Images, DEA/RANDOM)

Easy climbing plants like honeysuckle are perfect for small garden ideas and we definitely recommend getting one to cover your garden walls with one whether your outdoor space is small or large. But to keep your plant healthy with abundant flowers each year, a regular yearly pruning is necessary. But when is the best time to prune honeysuckle?

Jack Sutcliffe, co-founder of shed manufacturer, Power Sheds, attempted to simplify and generalise the answer as much as possible. ‘After the flowering season, typically late summer into early autumn is the perfect time to prune honeysuckle, giving them the best opportunity for this season’s growth. However, it is best to always check the requirements of your honeysuckle, as some varieties can have slightly different pruning needs.’

A honeysuckle flower

(Image credit: Getty Images/REDA&CO)

As Jack mentions, one honeysuckle’s needs are not the same as another’s. 

‘There are two types of honeysuckle – climbing honeysuckle and shrub honeysuckle. How and when you prune your plant depends on which type they are,’ explains Steve Chilton, garden expert from LeisureBench

‘For climbing honeysuckle, if your plant flowers early in the summer, then you should prune it straight after flowering. However, if your plant flowers later in the summer, you should prune it in spring instead. Any hard pruning should be done in late winter.’

Steve Chilton portrait
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. He is a keen educator and loves to share this knowledge with others. He strives to simplify complex garden practices and encourage eco-friendly gardening.

But if you’re in possession of a shrub honeysuckle, then Steve recommends to ‘prune after your plant has finished flowering, in spring/summer. Hard pruning should also be done in late winter.’

And if you thought you’ve got it all covered now, then hold your horses. Radek Babicek, gardening specialist from Fantastic Services, points out another important differentiator between various honeysuckles, which affects their pruning time.

‘It is important to know when to prune your honeysuckle depending on its type, whether it is deciduous or evergreen,’ he says. ‘For example, in winter and early spring, it is recommended to prune deciduous honeysuckles when they are dormant, just before they begin to grow again. As a result, plants grow vigorously and bloom abundantly.’

A close-up of a honeysuckle

(Image credit: Getty Images/REDA&CO)

‘However, pruning an evergreen honeysuckle after the blooming season can be done in late summer or early autumn. Compared to deciduous honeysuckles, evergreen honeysuckles may require less pruning overall.’

But Radek agrees with Jack as he adds that ‘Honeysuckle vines can be lightly pruned in late summer or early autumn to maintain an attractive appearance and promote new growth.’

Similarly to knowing when to prune jasmine, it all depends on the kind of honeysuckle you own. But now that you know, get your clean, sanitised and sharp pruning shears or secateurs at the ready.

A pink honeysuckle plant

(Image credit: Getty Images/Flowerphotos)

Should honeysuckle be cut back every year?

To promote healthy growth, honeysuckle should be pruned yearly, even if lightly.

‘Ensure that dead, damaged, or diseased branches are regularly removed so that the plant remains healthy,’ says gardening specialist Radek.

How far back can I prune honeysuckle?

‘Pruning too much too soon can stress the plant. Make sure you do not cut more than 1/3 of healthy branches at once,’ says garden expert Radek.

But in severe cases, you can cut a bit more. ‘In cases of severe overgrowth or tangles, be sure to cut back the honeysuckle to about a foot from the ground. You should prune this severely during the dormant period, which is typically late winter, but avoid doing it during the flowering season. In spite of this, severe pruning may cause a lack of flowering the following year,’ Radek concludes.

Sara Hesikova
News Writer

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.