Honeysuckle vines (Lonicera spp.) tend to be vigorous, hardy plants and they generally grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 9, depending on the species. After a few years, old stems become shaded by new growth and may become brittle and produce few or no leaves. To keep the honeysuckle attractive, you need to prune it. Pruning will also help the plant produce more flowers and resist diseases and pests.
1. Prune to Shape
A good time to prune to shape is after the vine has bloomed in spring. Start by removing dead stems to see if this alone gives you the size and shape you want. If it doesn't, remove more stems until you are satisfied with the vine's appearance.
2. Prune to Rejuvenate
If your vine has not been pruned for several years and has become overgrown, it's time to prune to rejuvenate. This type of pruning ranges from a moderate cut, were about 30 percent of the vine is removed, to severe pruning, where you prune it almost to the ground. Do rejuvenation pruning in late winter or early spring. This encourages vigorous and fast growth in early spring. Be aware rejuvenation pruning means your honeysuckle won't flower that year because honeysuckle vines bloom on the previous year’s growth.
3. Prune For More Blossoms
Lightly prune in spring after the vine has bloomed and the blossoms die. By cutting off the tips of the stems, you encourage new growth, resulting in more blossoms the next season.
4. Prune to Manage Pests and Diseases
Pruning is also a way to manage pests and diseases. Cut away any stems that show signs of disease or insect damage to prevent healthy stems from becoming affected. Thinning the vine also increases air circulation, which can help to reduce mildew and other plant diseases. This type of pruning should be done whenever a stem shows signs of damage.
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