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Last Update 03/27/11

Florida Native Plant Section

Florida Native Copyright FloridaGardener.com. Please ask permission prior to use!

Lonicera sempervirens

 Coral Honeysuckle or Trumpet Vine

Need to jazz up a fence, trellis or bare spot of ground? Looking for a bright cheery looking plant that attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies? Then consider Coral Honeysuckle. Lonicera sempervirens is native to the Southeast and Eastern United States and is a well-behaved vine that can be grown throughout Florida and features an abundance of coral colored flowers that bloom for months.

Lonicera sempervirens is native to the Southeast and Eastern United States and is a well-behaved vine that can be grown throughout Florida and features an abundance of coral colored flowers that bloom for months.  

Brightly colored blooms range in color from fiery orange to...

Brightly colored blooms range in color from fiery orange to bright coral colors.

bright coral colors.

Characteristics

Coral honeysuckle, also called trumpet honeysuckle, is known for clusters of bright coral colored tubular flowers that it produces throughout spring and summer (there are also cultivars with yellow flowers). The flowers attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies and then mature into juicy, orange-red berries that draw songbirds in late summer and fall.

The medium-sized leaves are also attractive—glossy green on top and silvery green underneath—and can provide a nice backdrop for other landscape plants. In Central and South Florida, the leaves are evergreen. In North Florida, the leaves sometimes drop in colder winters but come back in the spring.

Since it's a vine, coral honeysuckle works great on trellises and fences, though it may need a little help getting started. It can also be planted as a ground cover and may be used to help control erosion on steep slopes.

“First year it sleeps, second it creeps, and then it leaps.”

Since it's a vine, coral honeysuckle works great on trellises and fences, though it may need a little help getting started. It can also be planted as a ground cover and may be used to help control erosion on steep slopes. While native plants don’t often produce instant gratification in the first years of their lives, they have long-term survival and ultimately low-maintenance qualities. The first year is spent establishing a strong root system to cope with the weather of the area in which they are planted. The second year they begin the slow process of establishing foliage and maybe a few flowers, while still building their root structure. The third year is generally the year of reward for patiently waiting. After this year they are relatively maintenance free with regard to fertilizer or watering needs. Most can survive on only seasonal rains except in the most severe drought conditions.

Coral honeysuckle should not to be confused with the invasive Japanese honeysuckle (L. japonica) that typically has white or yellow flowers.

Planting and Care

Coral honeysuckle tolerates most soil types and conditions, but performs best in slightly acidic soil. And although it will grow in partial shade, it blooms best if given full sun.

It is generally a low-maintenance plant once it's established, since it is drought tolerant and does not attract any particular pests. It may require occasional pruning since individual stems can grow up to 20 feet in length.

Gardeners interested in this plant can find it at native plant nurseries and many conventional nurseries, or they can propagate new plants from cuttings.

Source: A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants

 

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