Honeysuckle is a flowering vine prized for its fragrant and nectar-rich blossoms. It can be grown as an effective ground cover, but is more popularly trained to a trellis or arbor. For best results, honeysuckle should be planted in an area where it will receive as much sun as possible. The soil should be kept moist and well-mulched, although standing water should be avoided. Honeysuckle can be extensively pruned once it is established, and cutting it back to ground level annually keeps the vines attractive and prevents woody growth after the second year.
There are many common varieties of honeysuckle available, each with different degrees of hardiness, fragrance, nectar production, and color. Choosing a variety to fit local conditions is an important first step of growing honeysuckle. Some varieties are more prone to attracting nectar-seeking insects, which is ideal for attracting butterflies to a window box but also may draw the unwanted interest of bees to an arbor bench. Another important consideration is the amount of pruning each variety can withstand or requires, and this dictates the amount of attention the plant will need and the extent to which it can be shaped and trimmed. Most varieties of honeysuckle can be killed by a hard freeze, although more cold-hardy specimens are available.
Growing honeysuckle is a relatively simple process with a quick return on time invested. The vine grows quickly and can thrive under a wide variety of conditions. It can be purchased from most garden centers during the spring, or can be planted using cuttings from an existing plant. To obtain a cutting, snip off a non-flowering woody shoot from an existing vine and trim away all but a few leaves and nodules. Dip one nodule end into a rooting hormone and plant it in prepared soil.
When growing honeysuckle as a climbing vine, the trellis or support should be installed before the honeysuckle is planted to avoid damaging the delicate root system. It should be planted 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) from the trellis to allow room for the roots to spread. As the vine grows up the trellis, use elastic bands to secure the vine to the trellis. Honeysuckle should be planted at least 9 feet (3 meters) from the nearest shrubs or trees, as it can become parasitic if left unchecked.
The soil around the vine's base should be kept moist, as a dry root system hampers the plant's ability to resist plants and disease. The easiest way to keep the roots moist and protected is by keeping a 2 inch (5 cm) layer of mulch around the base of the plant. Shredded wood or leafy mulches are ideal for growing honeysuckle. It should be planted in full sun where possible. While it will grow in shady areas, honeysuckle will only flower if it receives several hours of sunlight per day.