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Lonicera fragrantissima

Common Name(s):
Winter honeysuckle

Drought tolerant; background or screening plant; rapid growth; can be severely pruned to control size.

Easy to grow, winter honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima, thrives in well-drained soil and full sun. This large deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub is best for the middle or back of the border. Typically it grows to 8 feet high and wide but may reach 12 to 15 feet high and wide. Leaves look like other honeysuckle leaves but are wider and more rounded. Small, white flowers start in January and continue through March. Fragrance is consistent with a hint of lemon. Winter honeysuckle can fit in today’s smaller landscapes when used as a cutback shrub. Because it blooms early on growth from last year, it can be cut back close to the ground right after flowering and allowed to grow and flower the next winter. In addition to being a great ornamental, it is an excellent winter nectar source for honey bees. However, it is listed on many invasive plant registries and watch lists with the recommendation to avoid planting in the Southeast.

Play Value: Wildlife Enhancement

Notes: Lemon scented fragrance

Seed: Berry 


6-12 ft.
Opposite, simple, dull blue-green to dark green leaves; 1 to 3 in. long; non-showy fall color
0.5 in. creamy white flowers tinged with pink or red in winter; lemon scent
Sun to partial shade; prefers moist, well-drained soil
Medium to coarse
Wide spreading, irregular mounded; tangled mass of slender branches
6-8 ft.
play, playground, deciduous, fragrant, children’s garden

NCCES plant id: 1662

Lonicera fragrantissima Lonicera fragrantissima habit
Photo by Leonora Enking, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Lonicera fragrantissima Lonicera fragrantissima blooms
Photo by AnneTanne, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Lonicera fragrantissima Lonicera fragrantissima winter habit
Photo by Leonora Enking, CC-BY-SA-2.0