How to Plant Honeysuckle Seeds

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Honeysuckle vines are distinguished by their sweet fragrance and tubular flowers. These fast growing vines are almost indestructible, which is good for the gardener; however, the very invasive Japanese honeysuckle is virtually impossible to kill. Before planting honeysuckle seeds, make sure you have either a native honeysuckle or a noninvasive cultivar. Honeysuckle is usually planted near trellises or walls where it happily blankets the supports in 2 or 3 years. Honeysuckle can also be planted on banks and steep hills for erosion control. Honeysuckle needs full sun although it will tolerate light shade and a well drained soil. Native honeysuckle is an important nectar source for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Things You'll Need

  • Cleaned, dry honeysuckle seeds, any variety
  • Damp paper towel
  • Plastic baggie
  • Seed starting flat
  • Sterile seed starting mix or 50/50 mix of compost and sterile sand
  • Small individual pots

Remove berry flesh and skin adhering to your honeysuckle seeds. Place them on a paper towel and allow them to dry thoroughly, usually 24 hours.

Place the clean, dry honeysuckle seeds on a damp paper towel. Place the paper towel in a plastic baggie, seal the baggie and place in a refrigerator for 2 to 3 months. Keep the paper towel damp during this time.

After the cold stratification is complete, fill a seed starting flat with sterile seed starting mix or a 50/50 mix of compost/sand. Moisten the soil or compost/sand mix.

Place 1 honeysuckle seed in each cell, covering lightly with compost or sterile seed starting mix.

Place the seed starting flat in a warm greenhouse; the seeds will start to germinate in 2 to 6 weeks. If you don't have access to a greenhouse, place the seed starting flat on a sunny windowsill. The flat will need to receive 6 to 8 hours of sun.

Keep the seed starting flat moist, but do not overwater.

When the honeysuckle seedlings are big enough to safely handle (when they are 2 to 3 inches tall) transplant each seedling into an individual pot filled with the 50/50 compost/sand mix or sterile seed starting mix.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can directly sow honeysuckle seeds in your garden. Just choose an out-of-the-way spot in your garden (your honeysuckle will need to remain in place for at least a year) and plant the cleaned seeds 1/4 inch deep in early fall. Grow your honeysuckle in pots for its first year; bring the honeysuckle plants indoors. Store the plants in a garage or outbuilding that receives light where temperatures do not dip below freezing. Erect your trellis or wall before you plant your honeysuckle vine. Choose native honeysuckle cultivars whenever possible.
  • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is highly invasive and is banned in most Eastern states. Use native or noninvasive varieties instead.

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