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
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.
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.