How to Prune Golden Flame Honeysuckle

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Golden Flame Honeysuckle is known for it bright, strikingly-colored blossoms that are purple until they unfurl to reveal a burst of gold. Also called Ever Blooming Honeysuckle, it blooms constantly from mid-late Spring until it loses its leaves. Mildly fragrant, and much loved by hummingbirds and butterflies, they make a lovely hedge or trellis plant, and bring color to your garden all season long. As an added benefit, they have low water requirements, making them ideal for those who are planting drought-tolerant gardens. Golden Flame Honysuckle’s goal in life is to be a giant bush. They require regular maintenance pruning throughout their growing season, but are easy to maintain..

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gardener's gloves
  • Prune during the peak spring growth season. Golden Flame honeysuckle likes to “cane” heavily when it comes out of dormancy. These long very pliable canes sprout from the plant’s center and can grow to several feet in days. However they soon become more rigid as they are exposed to sun, and will snap or break. Depending on how you are training the plant, it’s best to either direct these canes where you want them to grow, or prune them back regularly.

  • Prune during summer and fall seasons. Once caning is over, the “old” wood canes from prior seasons’ growth which may have already had some new growth leaves on them, will really start to grow in and send out their own smaller canes. Prune back these canes after the initial flowering phase. This encourages the plants to produce additional smaller side shoots which will in turn flower again.

  • Watch for and cut out dead or diseases branches on a regular basis.

  • Prune when dormant. A deciduous plant, the Golden Flame Honeysuckle loses its leaves after they turn yellow, and goes dormant. This is the time for your most aggressive pruning. The plant tends to grow and flower on the branch layer exposed to sunlight. If you look “inside” the bush while it is still growing, you’ll notice little interior growth--just a tangled network of branches. Prune to remove these “under” branches or more woody older growth which does not cane (and therefore flower) as much. Thin out excessive canes as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • The sweet nectar of Golden Flame Honeysuckle attracts aphids to the unopened blossoms. Check for blooms that seem to be dying before opening, or oddly dark at their bases. This usually indicates aphids which are sucking the blossoms dry.
  • Watch for fungus. Depending on the climate in which you live, a leaf fungus can appear and spread rapidly, causing the plant to develop blotchy yellow leaves which wither, turn brown and drop off, stressing the plant. Check with your local nursery for the best fungicide to use and spray regularly.
  • The cool shade under the bushes, depending on where you have them growing, can create a haven for snails and slugs, which will also munch on the newer growth in spring. Place down repellant as needed.
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