Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Lonicera Fragrantissima

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Lonicera fragrantissima (06/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Lonicera fragrantissima (06/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Winter to early spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 2m

Eventual Spread: 3m

Hardiness: 4a – 9a

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Lonicera fragrantissima is a semi-evergreen winter flowering shrub with a rounded habit. Its mid blue/ green leaves are ovate with entire margins, up to 8cm long and 3.5cm broad. Its cream fragrant flowers are two lipped, up to 1cm long and appear before the spring leaves appear. Its fruit is a dull red berry which is up to 1cm across, these mature in early summer.

Lonicera fragrantissima, commonly known as Sweetest Honeysuckle, Winter Honeysuckle, Fragrant Honeysuckle or Sweet Breath of Spring, is native to eastern China. In its native habitat it grows in open forests and scrub. Robert Fortune introduced this shrub into the England in 1845.

The etymological root of the binomial name Lonicera was derived from the German naturalist, Adam Lonicer. Fragrantissima is derived from the Latin fragrantia meaning ‘perfume’.

The landscape architect may find Lonicera fragrantissima useful as a fragrant medium sized shrub. It may be grown as a formal or informal hedge. This shrub is drought tolerant once established.

Ecologically, Lonicera fragrantissima flowers are attractive to winter pollinating insects. Its berries are attractive to some birds and mammals.

Lonicera fragrantissima Flower (06/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Lonicera fragrantissima Flower (06/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Lonicera fragrantissima prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Lonicera fragrantissima  requires little maintenance. Pruning should be carried out after flowering in late spring.

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