Mature Height: 6-8 ft.
Growth Rate: Fast
Soil: Average, well-drained
Light Requirements: Sun/partial shade
Foliage: 1"-3" yellow-green leaves appear after flowers, darkening with age, semi-evergreen in milder climates
Flower/Fruit: Small, creamy white flowers appear in late winter. Red berries appear in spring.
Hardy to Zone 4
Imagine this - you are walking through a cold, barren, winter landscape and all of a sudden the air is filled with a strong lemony fragrance. You have discovered winter honeysuckle, a delightful old-fashioned shrub that has the distinct characteristic of blooming when most plants are dormant.
I first became aware of this shrub at the university where I work. There is a large hedge of them planted on campus and one day, just like I described above, I noticed the fragrance before knowing where it originated.
A sprawling and leggy shrub, it is quite indistinct until the powerful fragrance commands attention in January and February. Even the tiny flowers are not that noticeable in appearance but the fragrance can be detected from long distances.
Winter honeysuckle is very easy to grow in average well-drained soil. Like most plants, it will not tolerate wet conditions. It performs well in either full sun or partial shade. It grows rapidly and quickly attains a mature height. It can be invasive in optimal conditions so be aware of this. This is a good shrub for woodland gardens and makes a good hedge. The budded branches can be cut and brought inside for winter arrangements.
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