Himalayan honeysuckle pruning puzzle

Seattle, WA

I've read that Lonicera formosa blooms on new wood. I've been experimenting for the last few years to try keeping it both nice-looking in the winter (right in front of the house) and flowering in season.

Last year, I cut all the canes short and let it grow up from there. The flowers were late and fairly sparse - from the tips of the new canes. This year, I cut all but 6-8 strong canes to the base. The old canes began flowering profusely in early June, on short new twigs along the cane. The tall new canes (both from the base and from the sides of the long old canes) have nothing.

I'll probably just leave 6-8 of this year's canes on and cut the old ones and see how it goes. But why aren't they blooming on the new canes as I understood they should?

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

It might depend when you pruned the canes as some plants need to be cut back as soon as the flowers are over, then the plant immediately starts to regrow new stems / side shoots AND has time to harden the new wood so the winter cold or resting period it wont be killed off easily, by the time the flowering months come around, the NEW wood from last year has had time to form floweing buds.

If say you pruned the stems late summer, there is not enough time for the new growth to mature enough to regrow, get enough energy to form flowering buds so what you have seen is the older wood every time giving more flowers.
There is the other train of thought, being that IF you prune TOO hard then that is at the cost of new flowers, and for outdoor grown plants they should only really be pruned when the plants have gone out of control, but you begin by thinning out all the OLD wood that has stopped flowering or are just bare branches.
The most important thing however is to give a leaf mould mulch every autumn or spring, this helps keep the roots cool, prevents the top soil drying out too fast and offers protection from really hot sun on the roots.

Keeping in mind that the local /historical name for honeysuckle (Lonicera) was called Woodbine, because it was a natural woodland plant and bind because it naturally grew up / over Binding to the tree's at the clearings in woodlands, Most wild Lonicera's give off a beautiful perfume though most of the new breeders have lost the heavenly smell we used to recognise from Honeysuckle. Remembering there are some types of the family that are shrubs and not climbers but the pruning is the same for all.
Hope this is a little help for you and you can continue to enjoy your plants.
Good luck Weenel.

Barbourville, KY(Zone 7a)

Leycesteria formosa? It should be cut back hard in late winter or very early spring.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

OK, Lonicera and Leycesteria are 2 completely different plants all together, so what is the question, is it Honeysuckle / Lonicera or a shrub that looks like bamboo with flowers, as in Leycesteria, as both require different treatment at pruning and environment (planting position) .

Barbourville, KY(Zone 7a)

As far as I know, there is no such thing as Lonicera formosa. Leycesteria formosa is commonly known as Himalayan Honeysuckle so I made the assumption that it was the plant referenced.
What say you beaq?

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Thanks for clearing that up poisondartfrog, I was baffled when I read the resulting reply from yourself. now I understand the mix-up, just the name wrong at the start, easy done and glad it's sorted, as others may have wondered too.
Best Regards. WeeNel.

Seattle, WA

Derps! Sorry, Leycesteria. Pretend I said that.

Yes, pruning Himalayan honeysuckle hard in February/March in Seattle provided late, sparse bloom, whereas leaving old canes provided early, thick bloom on new little spurs. New large canes don't have anything yet, though they are showing signs of making flowers. Was wondering if anyone had a hypothesis as to why.

Thank you and sorry for the confusion.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Confusion, what confusion beaq, I've now forgotten what normal is !!!! so confusion is good so long as we know were confused, ha, ha, ha. Have a great gardening year.
Best regards. WeeNel.

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