Winter honeysuckle is a delightful shrub for extending the seasons: its winter flowers bring spring to the garden several months early while, at the other end of the year, its foliage lasts well into winter. It is sometimes evergreen in warm climates.
: The winter honeysuckle forms a dense, tangled shrub from 6 to 10 feet in both height and spread. The dark bluish green leaves are elliptic, staying on the plant until late fall in the North, into winter in the South, and year-round in near-tropical climates. They have no notable fall coloration. The creamy white flowers -- appearing in winter in the South, early spring in the North -- are not very showy but are extremely fragrant. The red berries, borne in late spring, are well-hidden by foliage.
: Plant at any time in good loamy, moist, well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Avoid wet conditions. Prune after blooming is finished. To rejuvenate an old shrub, cut nearly to the ground. Note that this plant is invasive throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
: The winter honeysuckle is a good hedge plant and screen, and makes an ideal choice for the shrub border. Plant where its perfume will be noticed, such as near a pathway. Cut branches force easily indoors in winter.
Winter honeysuckle related species: There are numerous other species of shrubby honeysuckles, all of which are invasive pests in much of North America and should not be grown.
Scientific name of winter honeysuckle: Lonicera fragantissima