Friday, February 27, 2009

Native Honeysuckle

Lonicera sempervirens is one of the most beautiful honeysuckles in my opinion. It's naturally hot pink flowers do a superior job of attracting hummingbirds, if present, and it certainly look a whole lot better than that awful Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica. The real difference that matters with these two plants is size.

Our native honeysuckle is not invasive. It only gets 10' long at it's maximum size. Growing it up a poll or short trellace will make it look like a hanging plant as it balls up around itself. It isn't long enough to strangle plants either. It's foliage is more open so when it grows over bushes it doesn't kill them.

The invasive japanese honeysuckle is a huge problem. A single plant will grow 30' and it can kill a small tree. The process is slow but it eventually coveres the entire plant in it's dence leaves. The vine strangle the trunk as the rest of it completely shades out the rest of the plant. Worst of all this evil vine can grow in full shade and will slowly slither it's way throuth the forest floor.

Not only is the native honeysuckle more likely to attract hummingbirds with it's bright flowers (also available in yellow!) but it's a more likely host plant to our native Hummingbird Moths. Vibernum would also likely work for this moth.

So remember, if you plan on buying a honeysuckle this year, make the right choice and go native!