Florida Honeysuckle Plants

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Honeysuckle plants give food and shelter to wildlife.
Honeysuckle plants give food and shelter to wildlife. (Image: honeysuckle image by Jackie DeBusk from Fotolia.com)

Florida is home to deliciously fragrant honeysuckle plants that bloom almost year-round. The sub-tropical to tropical climate and mild winters in Florida keeps honeysuckles evergreen, allowing the leaves to stay on the plant. Honeysuckle plants brighten the landscape with their colorful, nectar-filled flowers and berries, which attracts a variety of wildlife.

Coral Honeysuckle

The ruby-throated hummingbird, quail, goldfinches and butterflies flock to the coral honeysuckle vine for the nectar and small, red-orange berries. Coral honeysuckle vines can reach a height of 20 feet. These evergreen vines grow in any part of Florida. The glossy, green foliage grows along the length of the vine. The bark adds interest with its orange-brown, papery bark that peels away from the woody stems. At the tips, two to four thin, trumpet-shaped flowers bloom from March to June. Each flower is vivid orange or red on the outside and yellow inside the tube. It is drought and cold tolerant and thrives in full sun, while tolerating light shade. Provide this vine with a rich, fertile, well-drained soil and good air circulation to prevent it from getting powdery mildew.

Winter Honeysuckle

When you think of honeysuckle, you may think of vines, but winter honeysuckle is a fast-growing shrub. The arching, purplish to red-brown stems grow into a tangled mass, reaching a height of 6 to 10 feet, with a width of 8 to 10 feet. The evergreen foliage is a dull blue-green, growing in pairs along the length of the stems. Winter honeysuckle prefers well-drained, moist, loamy soil in full sun and needs regular watering, especially during a drought. It can withstand temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit and grows from north Florida down to Lake Okeechobee, from coast to coast. The pure white, lemon-scented flowers begin blooming in late winter and grace the landscape for weeks after opening. In mid-summer, the small, dark-red berries are ripe enough to feed the local wildlife.

Cape Honeysuckle

The sun-loving cape honeysuckle is a hybrid plant, grown all over Florida. It's maintained as a shrub by some gardeners and can reach up to 10 feet high and 5 feet wide. When it's grown like a vine, it's trained to a trellis or left to sprawl across the ground, where it can quickly cover an area of 25 feet or more. The diamond-shaped, glossy, dark-green leaflets are arranged in clusters of five to seven with toothed edges. Clusters of brilliant scarlet to red-orange, tube-shaped flowers bloom from November to January. Cape honeysuckle need well-drained soil in the sun. It's semi-drought tolerant once established and tolerates partial shade. Temperatures can go as low as 29 degrees F, but it begins to suffer damage to the branches below that. It needs deep watering at least once a week.

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