A copious vine native to the Pacific Northwest is orange honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa). This vine grows throughout U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4a through 9b. The twining vine produces trumpet-shaped orange flowers in the spring and summer that attract hummingbirds and other pollinators to the area. There are specific times of the year to prune orange honeysuckle, depending upon the reason for the shearing.
Prune honeysuckle in the late fall or winter to train the vine and remove dead or diseased stems and vines. This is the time to remove suckers or unwanted shoots from the main stem so the honeysuckle is not overcrowded in the spring. Cut back vines that have outgrown the space or are invading another area. Use a sterile pair of pruning shears to cut the honeysuckle vines. You can also prune the plant after it has stopped flowering without damaging the honeysuckle vine.
Honeysuckle tends to grow over itself and block the sunlight from the bottom stems. This causes a full canopy and bare stems at the bottom of the plant. Cut back the vines in the spring to open the canopy so the bottom stems receive the light needed to produce a flush of new growth. You do not have to head-prune the honeysuckle, just thin the vines so the light permeates the foliage.
Promoting Healthy Vines
Late winter is the time to prune the honeysuckle back to the main stem when you want to rejuvenate the plant. The result is a flush of new vines in the spring. A prolific grower, orange honeysuckle will bounce back with new vigor. Remove the pruned material from the area so pests and disease do not overwinter in the dead brush. Honeysuckle roots easily and will root and grow when placed in the compost pile. Unless you want new vines growing around the area, dispose of the clippings as yard waste.
Keeping Vines Contained
Any time of the year that the honeysuckle vine travels out of its designated area in the landscape, you can pinch back the offending stem. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears to make the cuts so the remaining stems are not damaged. A wounded stem is susceptible to disease and pest infestation. Cut back the wandering stems as soon as possible so you are not removing a large amount of foliage while the plant is flowering.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service: Region 6: About the Region
- California State University College of Natural Behavioral and Sciences Biology Department: Orange Honeysuckle – Lonicera Ciliosa
- National Gardening Association: Honeysuckle
- Plant Amnesty: Pruning Guide
- Seven Oaks Native Nursery: Lonicera Ciliosa
- Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images