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What Is the Red Trumpet Honeysuckle
The Red Trumpet Honeysuckle can also be commonly known as the coral honeysuckle, trumpet honeysuckle, or scarlet honeysuckle. It is a beautiful vining plant with semi-evergreen glossy leaves. It boasts red tubular flowers with a yellow interior and red berries below the blooms. The flowers will bloom in clusters of 2-4. The leaves on the Red Trumpet Honeysuckle are oval to oblong with a blunt or short pointed tip.
A unique characteristic of the Red Trumpet Honeysuckle is its brown paper-like bark. At maturity, it can reach a height of 5 to 15 feet and a width of 3-6 feet. The vines can grow up to 20 feet long.
Due to its attractive nature, it is commonly planted in outdoor areas, around swimming pools, hummingbird gardens, and cottage gardens.
The Red Trumpet Honeysuckle, also known as Lonicera Sempervirens, is native to the United States and mainly popular in the Southern states. It is a vigorously growing plant, but not as invasive as its relative, the Japanese Honeysuckle.
How to Grow the Red Trumpet Honeysuckle
When and Where to Plant Red Trumpet Honeysuckle
The ideal time of year to plant is in Spring or Summer. This will ensure that the weather is warm enough to encourage new growth. Since this is a growing vine, many people will plant along a trellis, arbor, or fence to provide support as the vines begin to grow.
Because it is a rapidly growing plant, it can be easier to contain it within a pot or bottomless container in the ground. This will help you to keep the vines from growing too rapidly as it can potentially take over other plants in the vicinity.
The Red Trumpet Honeysuckle is considered a perennial and is best grown in USDA zones 4-9. The vines of the plant are hardy enough to withstand harsh winter temperatures, but you will most likely notice the rest of the plant die back and grow again in the Spring. The Red Trumpet Honeysuckle is resistant to heat and can survive in very warm climates.
If you plant your Red Trumpet Honeysuckle as a seedling, it will need a large amount of water to encourage growth from the root ball. A good rule of thumb is to liberally water it once per week.
Once the plant reaches maturity, it will not require as much hydration. On average, they require about 1 inch of water per week. If you live in a climate where rain is common, you will not need to water in addition to the rainfall. This is also true if you have a sprinkler system. The sprinkler system will supply more than enough water.
Once you reach the fall and winter months, you can slow down the watering even more and only water as you feel it is needed. If your fall and winter are warmer then you can do a light watering once per week unless you are getting consistent rainfall.
The Red Trumpet Honeysuckle will thrive in well draining soil with a PH of 6.0-8.5. It will tolerate many types of soil as long as they offer proper drainage.
The Red Trumpet Honeysuckle can be grown in clay, loamy, or sandy soil without issue.
When it comes to sunlight, the Red Trumpet Honeysuckle is fairly low-maintenance. It can grow in both full sun and partial shade. It will bloom robustly if in full sun for at least 6 hours per day. If you do not have a location to place it in full sun, you can still expect some blooming when the plant is in mostly shade throughout the day. If it is kept too shaded, it will be more prone to certain diseases if you live in a humid climate as the humidity will be higher than in the sunshine.
Red Trumpet Honeysuckles do not require frequent fertilization unless you notice that the plant is not growing well. This might be a time to consider fertilizing. It is best to fertilize in the spring months if possible as this will give you the best chance at getting a good amount of growth.
To fertilize a Red Trumpet Honeysuckle, you will use a 10-10-10 fertilizer and sprinkle approximately 2 tablespoons around the root area of the vine. If you over fertilize this plant, you can risk the plant not flowering and only rapidly growing more vines.
The Red Trumpet Honeysuckle will bloom from early spring through the summer and into fall. They will be produced in several whorled clusters at the end of the stem. Although not fragrant, the blooms are striking in color against the green leaves.
In warmer climates, the plant will bloom potentially through the entire year if temperatures remain mild.
An easy way to propagate the Red Trumpet Honeysuckle is to dig up the root and cut off a piece of root that is 3-4 inches long. The best time to propagate is in late winter to early spring.
Once the piece of root is removed then you will want to replant it in the new location a few inches under the soil. The new root will need to be kept moist and it will have new growth within 2-4 weeks. You can follow the same watering schedule as you do with your mature plant.
The pruning of Red Trumpet Honeysuckles should be done in late fall to winter. If the plant is fully mature, it can tolerate heavy pruning. It is important to prune back any diseased or dead growth on the plant.
If you want to encourage new shoots to break from the base then you can prune all the way back to 12 inches from the ground. By pruning you will also encourage more flowers to bloom come springtime. Once springtime comes, you can choose the healthiest shoots and then go ahead and prune back the rest again if the plant is growing too rapidly.
Disease and Pests
A large part of the ease of planting and growing a Red Trumpet Honeysuckle is that it is only affected by a very small number of diseases and pests.
Powdery mildew is one of the primary diseases that will affect Red Trumpet Honeysuckle. It can be caused by over one thousand species of fungus. However, it is one of the easiest to identify. It is evident by a powdery white to gray coating on the plant’s foliage.
Powdery mildew will affect plants that are growing in warm temperatures such as 60 to 80 degrees with humidity at 50 to 90 percent. Red Trumpet Honeysuckles that are kept in the shade will retain more humidity, which can increase the chances of powdery mildew. It is important that the plant get adequate sunshine and fresh air in order to prevent it from getting mildew.
It is important to catch powdery mildew early in order to treat the plant properly. If it is not caught early, it can affect the plant systemically and cause the plant to not have new growth the following year.
It is easiest to treat powdery mildew by combining 2 1/12 tablespoons of neem oil with 1 gallon of water. You can then add this mixture to a spray bottle and thoroughly spray the plant every 7 days until the mildew is gone. Once it has been thoroughly treated, you can use this same mixture every 14 days to keep the mildew at bay.
Aphids are another common pest that will affect Red Trumpet Honeysuckles. They are most common on new plant growth.
In appearance they are a grey-green color. The difference between honeysuckle aphids and aphids that infest other plant species is that the honeysuckle aphids are shaped differently. Honeysuckle aphids have a shape similar to a manatee.
The aphids will overwinter as eggs on infested plants. They will typically do so on damaged branches. When new growth begins in the spring months, the eggs will hatch as aphids and begin to feed on the plant. As the aphids continue to feed, you will notice damage to the plant in the form of curled leaves and blooms.
If you notice aphids beginning to feed on your Red Trumpet Honeysuckle, you can spray the plant with soapy water. This is an easy way to remove and kill any aphids that are currently on there. However, this treatment will not always fully treat a severe aphid infestation.
If the aphid infestation is severe, you may need to resort to spraying the plant with an insecticide that is made to treat honeysuckle aphids.
The Red Trumpet Honeysuckle can also be affected by different types of leaf spot. These are usually not a great threat to the life of the plant.
Leaf spot diseases will be evident by yellow to brown patches on leaves throughout the plant. The easiest way to manage leaf spot is by removing the infected leaves and pruning back any branches that have many leaves affected by it.
Attractiveness to Wildlife
Red Trumpet Honeysuckles are known to attract birds, moths, and butterflies. Of the most popular that are attracted to the Red Trumpet Honeysuckle is the hummingbird. People will choose to plant them in order to actually attract hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds are known to be attracted to the plant due to the shape of the flower. Because it is a tubular flower, it can accommodate the long nose of the hummingbird easily. If you are wanting to attract hummingbirds to your garden with these plants, it is important to not use any insecticides or fungicides on the plant that would be toxic to birds and wildlife.
Growing from Seed
Although propagating an already mature plant is the quickest way to grow more Red Trumpet Honeysuckles, some will choose to plant the seeds and start from scratch.
It has been shown that by cooling seeds for a couple of months prior to planting, this will allow the seeds to germinate faster. It is recommended to take the seeds you are wishing to plant and soak them for 24 hours. Following the soak, they need to be placed in a plastic bag with damp soil and put in the refrigerator for a couple of months.
After the cooling period, you can freely plant the seeds after the last threat of a freeze has passed. You will have the most success planting at the first sign of Spring as the plant will be encouraged to have more growth in warmer temperatures.
You can remove the plastic bag from the refrigerator and dig a hole about 1 foot square into the ground. Place the seeds into the soil about 3-4 inches apart and cover with several inches of fresh soil. Water the seeds to keep them moist, but not soggy.
Keep checking the seeds about once a week for new growth and to determine if they need additional water.