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Native Plants Series: Coral Honeysuckle

If you have been looking for a native flowering vine, this is the one for you. Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) is not strictly native to SC PA, but it native to Eastern PA and much of the eastern, southern, and lower midwestern states. It typically grows to about 15' tall and prefers rich, well-draining soil, although it does tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, including clay. It is not eaten by deer, and is not affected by black walnuts.

These guys get clusters of 2" long trumpet-shaped flowers - red on the outside, yellow on the inside. It is a big attractor for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Red berries provide food for birds in the fall. It grows and flowers best in full sun, but will also do well in part shade conditions. You can even use coral honeysuckle as a ground cover if want to I might have to try that! It is a twining vine, which means it will not scale up a wall, but needs a structure or other large plant to twine around.

Be very careful when reading those plant tags - there are a lot of non-native, invasive honeysuckle vines out there. Make sure the plant info says Lonicera sempervirens. Unfortunately, nearly all of the shrub honeysuckles growing wild are the invasive type.

Photo: adamtepl @ Pixabay

Sources: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, Missouri Botanical Garden, USDA

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