What is a Trumpet Honeysuckle?

Steve R.

Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), often referred to as coral honeysuckle, is a perennial vine located in the eastern part of the United States, from Connecticut to Florida. The vine contains trumpet-shaped flowers that are vibrant in color, along with green foliage. Containing twining stems, the trumpet honeysuckle requires a trellis, fence, or shrub to grow on. The vine typically ranges from 10 to 15 feet (about 3 to 4.6 meters), but is capable of reaching heights of up to 20 feet (about 6 meters).

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

Smooth leaves appear on the trumpet honeysuckle at the beginning of the year. Early in the season, lower leaves appear as green in color and oval in shape. Leaves are orchestrated across from each other on the stem. Eventually, the leaves progress to a bluish green color. Leaves range between 1 and 3 inches (about 2.5 to 7.6 centimeters) in length and fall off the vine in early autumn.

In April or May, flowers begin to bloom. Flowers are narrow and tubular in shape, usually running 2 inches (about 5 centimeters) in length. The flowers are scarlet on the outside, but yellow or orange inside. The flowers gradually turn into berries by late summer and early autumn. Fruits, red in color, typically are 0.25 inches (about 0.6 centimeters) in diameter.

The fragrant flowers and fruits often attract hummingbirds, songbirds, and butterflies during the summer. Hummingbirds are drawn to the trumpet honeysuckle for its source of nectar. Waxwings and bluebirds feed on the fruit of the vine in the fall. The vines also serve as a nesting site and also provide natural cover for a host of birds.

The leaves of the vine can sometime become infested with aphids. The creatures and other insects suck out the juices of the leaves, leaving the vine disfigured. The vine is also prone to certain fungi which create spots on the leaves, but are not overall harmful to the plant.

The trumpet honeysuckle is capable of growing in almost any type of soil or environment. The vine thrives in moist, loamy soil and grows best in full sunlight. The trumpet honeysuckle is capable of growing in heavily shaded areas, but blossoming will be diminished.

A non-invasive plant, the trumpet honeysuckle is often used in gardening and landscaping. The vine is frequently used ornamentally on mailboxes and is sometimes referred to as mailbox honeysuckle. The vine requires little maintenance, as it is drought tolerant.

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