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Fragrant Honeysuckle- Lonicera fragrantissima, is a very early blooming shrub that was brought to this country during colonial times. As the name implies, it is quite pleasantly fragrant which has led to its common names, Sweet Breath of Spring and Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate. Fragrant Honeysuckle was planted at farm doorways and gate posts since colonial times for its powerful pleasant lemony fragrance as a reminder that spring was soon to come. Let’s face it, pleasant smells were cherished on a thawing farm after a long winter.
A low chill requirement allows it to bloom readily on warm winter days. Winter days as in December to March in the south and February to April in the north.
Fragrant Honeysuckle is stiffly upright in form. When left alone it forms a broad vase like form. It can grow to 10′ high and 10′ wide. That said, It responds well to pruning and can be trimmed to fit whatever landscape it is in. It will actually look much nicer if kept trimmed and have more blooms. Trim any time in summer after bloom. Fall trimming will remove flower buds.
This is a tough shrub that is tolerant of Black Walnut Trees. It also appears to be deer resistant.
Hardy in zones 4 to 8.
The bloom time is especially good for honeybees. This will bloom even before Dandelions and give foraging bees a nectar source on their first flights in spring. If planted near the hive, Bees will work it on warm winter days.
This is a good pollinator friendly plant with shallow accessible flowers for those earliest of early pollinators. Fragrant Honeysuckle is easy to care for, resistant to abuse and beautiful at a time of year when the world is drab and grey. What a pleasure to catch a whiff of the Sweet Breath of Spring on a warm late winter day, maybe even while the snow still lays upon the thawing ground.
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