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PlantFiles: Japanese Honeysuckle
Lonicera japonica

Family: Caprifoliaceae (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info) (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lonicera (luh-NIS-er-a) (Info)
Species: japonica (juh-PON-ih-kuh) (Info)

Synonym:Lonicera chinensis

40 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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3 positives
6 neutrals
14 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive grtroes2 On Oct 19, 2014, grtroes2 from Loveland, CO wrote:

Dry, cold winters, and hard-packed alkaline soils seem to prevent this vine from spreading or reproducing in this part of Colorado. So we have the wonderful fragrance and attractive flowers without any of the downsides. In fact, during drought, the vine grows poorly and produces very few flowers. So I recommend it for this area.

Negative cazort On Aug 6, 2014, cazort from Jenkintown, PA wrote:

I live in Southeast PA, and this plant is one of the worst invasives in this region. It absolutely blankets the ground, and often climbs vegetation, strangling trees. I have seen it grow out into lawns, cover gardens, and invade forests. It is not quite as bad as Kudzu but it is almost that bad.

I do not under any circumstances recommend planting this is one of those plants I try as hard as I can to eradicate whenever I see it on my property.

Negative coriaceous On Feb 3, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Japanese honeysuckle spreads aggressively in the garden by underground rhizomes and aboveground runners. It also strangles and distorts the growth of any tree or shrub it twines around.

The European woodbine (Lonicera periclymenoides) is a well-behaved substitute for the thuggish Japanese honeysuckle. It is highly fragrant (especially in the evening) and looks very similar, but with much showier fruit (red not black). It is neither aggressive in the garden nor a threat to natural areas.

Japanese honeysuckle is semi-evergreen and leafs out exceptionally early in the spring. In wild areas it shades out all the native woodland understory wildflowers, ultimately killing them. It has become a threat to natural habitat through much of eastern North America, especially in the Southeast. It has been prohibited in three states and been declared a noxious weed in one other.

I've seen huge natural areas turn into ecological deserts covered by Japanese honeysuckle and Asiatic bittersweet. You can witness this by driving almost any interstate in the midatlantic states.

This species spreads rapidly by seed through the birds that eat the fruit.

2% glyphosate herbicide is an effective means of control. I don't envy anyone who tries to dig out a patch.

Negative Rickwebb On Jan 18, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This twining vine does have pretty white flowers that are very fragrant and its summer foliage looks good, but it is a very invasive, noxious woody weed from East Asia. Its evergreen or semi-evergreen leaves don't look good in winter and it is very straggly and rampant growing, happy to grab everthing around it and cover over stuff. It infests different spots of open forest and field in southeast PA and all through Delaware. I actually have a photo of it as a groundcover in northern ILL at a park where it looks good in summer, but it is not a good plant in North America.

Neutral sandnsea On Aug 1, 2013, sandnsea from Zephyrhills South, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a vine and likes to have to keep a watchful eye on it....BUT the hummingbirds LOVE it! So do the butterflys and bees. It is very fragrant. I keep it running along my fences and near the bird bath. Like someone else has said the grandkids love to remove the flowers and suck the nectar lol.

Negative Hikaro_Takayama On Jun 11, 2012, Hikaro_Takayama from Fayetteville, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I hate this plant with a seething passion! It's the Yankee version of Kudzu: I've lost track of how many native Black Cherry and other trees this pernicious weed has strangled to death in the woods behind my house, but it's pretty bad! I've tried repeatedly cutting it off at ground level as soon as it leafs out in the spring (and therefor should have less energy reserves), pulling it up by the roots and just generally going after it tooth and nail, but to no avail: It either just pops back up from some miniscule root fragment left in the ground or some birds that ate a berry from a mess of vines 2 miles away just crap some more seeds and the whole process starts all over again.

The only plant I've seen that is able to withstand this menace is my Yellow Groove Bamboo, which shades it out and whose culms are too smooth for it to get a grip on and climb up.

Japanese Honeysuckle is also on Pennsylvania's list of Noxious Weeds, and for good reason. If you want honeysuckle blossoms and scent, then for the love of all that's holy get a native, non-invasive species of honeysuckle, rather than this eternal pest.

Neutral Bobart On Feb 15, 2011, Bobart from Willits, CA wrote:

I live in an apartment above a retail store. I have 600 square feet of deck (lots of sun) surrounded on two sides with a six foot wood fence. Both sides of the fenced deck overlook an alley.

Recently purchased two Japanese honeysuckle plants in pots with about three feet of vine growth. I plan on putting the pots next to the fence and start the vines under the fence which has an inch opening between the deck and bottom of the fence.

I will need some kind of trellis on the outside of the fence so the vines will grow up to the top of the fence on the outside and along the top of the fence.

Does this sound feasible? What kind of trellis would work? I don't see any chance of this invasive plant to become invasive on my deck.

I am not an experienced gardner so any help will be appreciated.

Negative Agaveguy On May 19, 2009, Agaveguy from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

An aggressive, foreign, invasive plant. Should be banned.

Negative wandygirl On Nov 7, 2008, wandygirl from Brookfield, CT wrote:

When I was a kid living in New York City (Queens) someone taught me to pinch off the narrow end of the honeysuckle flower and pull the pistle out. Attached to it would be a drop of nectar which was delicious on the tongue. I love the heavy fragrance as well. Yes, I have a sweet tooth. It is an awful invasive though, so as a responsible gardener I have to give it a negative rating.

Negative Marilynbeth On Oct 15, 2008, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

Awful stuff!

This grows all along our side yard at the property border which is next to a farm field/meadow field. We've been dealing with the hundreds of vines growing in our direction for over a decade now.

In the Spring, the smell (scent) of the flowers are very 'sickening sweet' to the point of making me sick to my stomach with the smell. Very overpowering smell!

Extremely invasive and fast growing! We've had vines come up from underneath our grass, as well as, spread on top of our grass in search of something to do its clinging and/or wrapping around.

Positive zbest4me On Jul 10, 2007, zbest4me from Violet, LA wrote:

While I would not reccomend planting this plant in your yard as it is very invasive, it does make a wonderful container plant. I have a huge pot of this on my porch, right by the front door. Everyday I look forward to opening the door and smelling the sweet scent that totally fills the porch.

Negative KyWoods On Apr 29, 2007, KyWoods from Melbourne, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Actually just finished removing a few so I could plant a garden. We have thirty acres of mostly honeysuckle. Yes, it's an invasive weed that takes over everything. If we could just keep a few, it would be nice, because the scent of the flowers is just wonderful, and they draw hummingbirds. Unfortunately, they spread by runners, and they're everywhere.

Negative kman_blue On Jul 11, 2006, kman_blue from (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is a horrible invasive smothering vine. It's taking over and killing forest understories in many places in Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri. It will grow over and kill just about anything in it's way. I'd never tolerate, much less plant, it in my yard.

Negative Gabrielle On Feb 5, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is an illegal species in Illinois.

Neutral frostweed On Aug 31, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love Honeysuckle and the scent is heavenly especially in the evenings when we go to visit the garden and take in the beauty of the of the flowers.
Japanese Honeysuckle is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Negative melody On Aug 30, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

It's terribly invasive and impossible to get rid of, and I'd never actually plant any on purpose, but this plant does have it's uses.

It is necessary shelter for all sorts of birds and small mamals. It's berries provide food...and it's one of the few things that stays green all winter.

I love to gather an armload and bring the scent into the house....and like others, still take a quick nip of the nectar when I pass by some blooms.

Neutral Thaumaturgist On Aug 19, 2003, Thaumaturgist from Rockledge, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

The most interesting part of this invasive, fragrant and
pretty flower is how it changes color, right in front of your eyes almost, from white to yellow as it goes from a
bud stage to a fully open flower.

It is a perennial spreading, trailing or climbing woody
vine that spreads by seeds, underground rhizomes, and
aboveground runners to create dense tangled thickets.
It spreads rapidly and outcompetes native vegetation
by vigorous above- and below-ground competition.

Once established, the vine may literally engulf small
trees and shrubs, which collapse under the weight, and
few plants survive beneath its dense canopy.

It has hardly any natural enemies in North America.

The name Honeysuckle comes from Old English words, HONI
and SUCAN referring to the pleasure of sucking the

A common name for Honeysuckle is Woodbine. This refers
to the plant's twining growth habit. It can climb to
great heights.

Linnaeus named this plant Lonicera japonica in honor of
Adam Lonitzer(Lonicerus), a German botanist and
naturalist (1528-1586).

But nature has endowed this invasive vine with beautiful

The flowers have white-colored bud.

And they gradually change to cream to light yellow to
yellow to finally yellow-orange during the course of the
complete bloomng process.

And they are highly fragrant with an overwhelming sweet

Negative Greenknee On Mar 1, 2003, Greenknee from Chantilly, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is an introduced plant, and here in the Mid-Atlantic states it is a pest. Birds scatter the seeds, and it creeps into, on, and over any plants, esp. shrubs, fencerows and shaded areas. It is very hard to eradicate - I spend a good portion of every year just keeping it at bay, but never defeating it. I have given up on fencerows, as the roots are impossible to get at, and they break off below ground, and resprout stronger than ever in days. Last fall I hauled a pickup load of roots away from one 2,000 s/f groundcover area. I first mowed it to the ground, after Hostas and Convallaria were dormant. The Ivy area and the Vinca areas will regrow, but it is a real pain to seperate the good roots from the bad. A couple of weeks work, just to keep it under moderate control.

Negative FranG On Sep 29, 2002, FranG from Brighton, MA wrote:

It's on the invasives plants lists in the Northeast as it takes the place of other plants and leads to loss of diversity.

Positive ohmysweetpjs On Sep 28, 2002, ohmysweetpjs from Brookeville, MD wrote:

Even though it may be invasive, I grew up wishing to have some in my backyard. Now that I'm 17 and we've moved, I discovered that we have TONS after going out and buying some. It sweeps in and out of the white prairie roses and is very pretty with splashes of yellow here and there and it's crisp green foliage. I consider it a definate plus, especially when the Japanses beetles devour the roses, the honeysuckles are still standing there indestructable and smelling a little bit like tangerine scented heaven.

Negative Terry On Aug 31, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A pest in this part of the country, it tends to smother out the native plants. Learning how to "drink" the "honey" is a rite of passage for most kids, but I wouldn't intentionally plant it in my garden.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 16, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

The vine's sweet-scented flower attracts bugs, bees, hummingbirds and even kids. Children have long delighted in picking the delicate white and yellow flowers. They carefully pull the flower apart and hold the stem to their mouth for a golden lick of nectar.

Neutral jody On Aug 31, 2001, jody from MD &, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Flowers spring to late summer, berries autumn. Foliage evergreen, leaves sometimes lobed. Fragrant tubular white flowers with soft purple staining. Blue to black berries.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Bessemer, Alabama
Irvington, Alabama
Midland City, Alabama
Salem, Alabama
Morrilton, Arkansas
Peel, Arkansas
Elk Grove, California
San Diego, California
Berthoud, Colorado
Loveland, Colorado
Brookfield, Connecticut
Bartow, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Decatur, Georgia
Hinesville, Georgia
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Mackinaw, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Macy, Indiana
Lawrence, Kansas
Ottawa, Kansas
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Benton, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Melbourne, Kentucky
Taylorsville, Kentucky
New Orleans, Louisiana
Violet, Louisiana
Brookeville, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Avon, Massachusetts
Milton, Massachusetts
Springfield, Massachusetts
Marietta, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Marshall, Missouri
Perryville, Missouri
Henderson, Nevada
Roswell, New Mexico
Himrod, New York
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Jay, Oklahoma
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Greencastle, Pennsylvania
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Washington, Pennsylvania
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Clarksville, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Cleveland, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Huntsville, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
Palmyra, Virginia
Woodbridge, Virginia
Bremerton, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Charleston, West Virginia
Falling Waters, West Virginia

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