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Training/Pruning this honeysuckle?

Apologies if this is going over old ground, but my problem doesn't seem to be covered in any pruning advice I have read. 

I am currently tackling the rather overgrown garden of a property I moved into last year. The previous owner had grown a honeysuckle up a clothes-line pole, which now had woody stems and fronds waving about all over the place. I hard pruned the whole thing back and it has rejuvenated amazingly. I've been winding the stems around the pole as it grows and it seems happy. 

My problem now is how to keep it from shooting off into the sky again. I really want to keep it contained to the pole (about 2 metres tall).

Should I keep pruning it off once it reaches the top of the pole? Which would probably need doing about every week at the rate it is currently growing. 

Or should I continue with my current method of winding the stems back down again once they reach the top? 

There is nothing else nearby to train it onto, so that is not an option. 

Any advice appreciated! 



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,908

    The problem with honeysuckles is - they don't like being confined to a small space, so you'll be pruning constantly - as you've found! I had a similar situation at my last house and did the same as you  - pruned right back to rejuvenate it , as it was full of old wood. I had the advantage of a further framework of poles to train it on, along with some clematis on another pole. It will be quite a bit of work to constantly tie it in where you want it, and just hacking the top off may mean losing future flowers. Ideally, they prefer something like a shed or other structure to just scramble over, but a trellis to train it onto would be better than nothing. If  that's not an option, could you move it somewhere else? 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • ekk100ekk100 Posts: 4

    Thanks for the reply, at least I know I'm not going completely crazy! I don't think moving it is an option, the previous owners helpfully paved around it - so not only will get getting it out be impossible but I will then be left with a honeysuckle shaped hole in the path. I think you are right and the best option will be to construct some sort of trellis for it. 

    Something for me to ponder over the winter.... 


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,908

    If you can take a pic and put it on it will help with other ideas ekk. The tree icon on the toolbar is the place to click image

    I wouldn't have bothered moving that one I had either - it wasn't really the right place for one but I had the rest of the poles that were there to guide it along and into other planting further along. I might have a pic somewhere which shows the setting. I've just removed one in this garden I've got now. It had been planted against a fence which isn't ideal either as they don't have the right habit for that without a lot of tying in, and it really wasn't doing it any favours.  My fence all has to get removed anyway so it would have come out anyway. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,908

    Found this pic - there was all sorts of dead and dying stuff on the poles which we removed. The honeysuckle was the only thing that was worth keeping anyway. I think I'd just trimmed it back in this pic as the house was getting sold and it made it tidy for estate agent pix and viewings!


    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Honeysuckles tend to be vigorous climbers and need controlling.  Some are taller than others and it sounds like yours doesn't want to be confined to a height of 6ft 6in.  If you keep cutting it back then you will probably reduce the amount of flowers you get.  Have you space to erect another pole a little distance from the first one and form an arch, or putting trellis between two poles and training it over that?  You'd still have to prune now and then. 

    I grow Lonicera periclymenum 'Scentsation' on a north-facing fence which is supposed to be a shorter one but I grow mine up a 6ft fence and have today cut it back - some of it quite hard and closer to the ground, and some of it to just below the top of the fence.  It likes to get its head in the sun and topple over in a tangled heap to show off its flowers to the neighbours.   I'm not having that!  image   

    VJ -

  • I cut my honeysuckle down to four inches in spring because it had a bad flowering season in 2013 and was getting rampant - it's flowering like a good'un now.

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