Garden expert Conway Lum reveals the reasons why your honeysuckle isn't blooming

Question: I have a honeysuckle vine that has been in the ground for over three years, gets moderate sun, grows to about 10 feet, its base is sheltered, and it has never produced one flower. What's up with that? (I live in zone 3.)

Answer: I am assuming that you are growing the most winter-hardy honeysuckle, Lonicera x brownii Dropmore Scarlet. This selection is a Canadian introduction by Dr. Frank Skinner from the research station at Dropmore, Manitoba.

There are several possible reasons for honeysuckle not flowering:

  1. Inadequate light: Full sun is generally suggested for most honeysuckle vines.
  2. Juvenility: Plants may flower the first season but could require up to three seasons to settle before putting on adequate growth.
  3. Improper pruning: Dropmore Scarlet honeysuckle usually flowers on laterals produced from previous season's growth. If you prune those, you will eliminate next season’s flowers.
  4. Excessive fertilizer: Honeysuckle requires average soil fertility with adequate moisture during growing season.
  5. Winter damage: Growing less winter-hardy cultivars other than Dropmore Scarlet.