Growing honeysuckle from cuttings

Honeysuckle Seeds And Cuttings: Tips For Propagating Honeysuckle Plants

Propagating honeysuckle can be done in several ways. To expand the reach of this pretty, shade-creating vine in your garden, follow these tips and guidelines.

Why Honeysuckle Propagation?

There are types of honeysuckle vines that are invasive and in some regions grow out of control, creating a real problem. If you have ever battled this fast-moving vine, you might wonder why anyone would want to propagate it.

The non-invasive honeysuckle is a desirable garden plant for pretty flowers, a lovely scent, and for creating shade as it climbs trellises, walls, and other structures. Although honeysuckle grows quickly, you may want to propagate in your garden to give it a boost and to let it reach more spaces or create more shade.

How to Propagate Honeysuckles

There are several ways to propagate this vine, from using honeysuckle seeds to cuttings, and a strategy called layering. Choose your technique based on time, resources, and where you want your new vines to grow:

Layering. Layering is a good option if you simply want to branch out from your existing honeysuckle vines. Take a vine and bend it toward the ground. Where the vine touches the ground, scratch the side facing the earth with a knife. Bury that part of the vine in a hole in the ground that you have dug and to which you have added potting soil. A new root will grow in that spot. It’s best to do layering in the spring.

Cuttings. Taking honeysuckle cuttings to replant is another way you can propagate a vine. Make cuttings early in the morning when there is plenty of sap in the vine, and it is best to do it in late spring or early summer. Cut off about six inches (15 cm.) from the end of a two-year old vine. Cut it carefully on an angle and avoid crushing the vine. Remove the lower sets of leaves and plant the cutting in potting soil. Within a few weeks, the roots should be long enough to replant.

Seeds. You can also propagate honeysuckle by seed, either saving seeds from your own vine or buying them. The seeds need to be cold to germinate, so you can sow them in the fall or start them indoors, mixing seeds and compost together and refrigerating for about 12 weeks.

For both cuttings and propagating honeysuckle by layering, you can use rooting hormone to stimulate new root growth. Find the powder at your local nursery and dip the layering vine or new cutting in it before planting in soil.

Honeysuckle Vine Propagation Methods

Honeysuckle vine propagation is an easy way to attract bees and hummingbirds to the garden while adding a vibrant, fragrant and versatile living showpiece. Honeysuckle is most often used along a trellis, deck or rail, but can be used as groundcover or a freestanding shrub as well. It is easy to grow and tolerates a variety of adverse growing conditions. Once established, it requires little maintenance and is nearly indestructible.


The most common methods of growing honeysuckle are by root cuttings or by layering. Both of these techniques utilize green “soft wood” areas of new growth on an existing plant. Spring is the best time to start outdoor propagation, but new plants can be rooted indoors any time suitable growing stock is available.

1. Cuttings

  • Cut green tips four to six inches in length for rooting.
  • Choose pieces with four or more nodes.
  • Remove the leaves from the bottom pair of nodes.
  • Gently scrape the stem near the cut end and apply rooting hormone.
  • Plant the cutting in a container of quality potting soil or other growing media.
  • Water well, and seal the pot in a ziplock bag. This will maintain a humid atmosphere around the plant.
  • Place the pot in an area with moderate light.

The cutting will root and have visible growth in 25 to 80 days. Be sure to gradually “harden off” the young plant before transplanting it outdoors. It will need some time to adjust to the changing growing conditions.

Rooting can be done in water as well.

  • Cut the tip and remove the lower set of leaves as before.
  • Place the cutting in a vase, bottle, or glass of water.
  • Change the water every other day to prevent root rot.
  • After a couple of weeks, roots should be visible. When they are about one inch long, the cutting can be planted.

2. Layering

Propagation by layering honeysuckle vine is probably the most foolproof method available.

  • Take a stem of new growth on the plant. Bend it to the ground, and pin it down.
  • Allow six to nine inches at the tip to point upward in a “U” shape.
  • Gently abrade the stem at the ground level.
  • Apply rooting hormone, and cover the stem with soil.

Where it has been buried, the stem will grow new roots. When these are large and strong enough to sustain the new plant, it can be cut free from the parent and transplanted. If started in the spring, it should be mature enough for transplanting by the growing season’s end.

3. Planting

Honeysuckle is a very forgiving plant. It is tolerant of many soil types, and grows well in full sun or partial shade. For best results, prepare a site with good drainage. If a trellis or arbor will be used to support the honeysuckle, position and anchor it before planting.

  • Leave six to eight inches between the plant and its support to allow for growth.
  • When securing the vine to the structure, use a stretchy material looped in a figure “eight” to prevent the stem from being strangled or chafed against the support.
  • At the beginning of the growing season, and again after the bloom, apply a balanced fertilizer 10-10-10.
  • Take care not to over-fertilize the plant.

How to Propagate Honeysuckle Vines

Honeysuckle plants are excellent vines you can grow in your garden or even your home. They don’t require much care and they can survive in numerous conditions so they are ideal for beginner gardeners or those who don’t want to spend much time taking care of their plants.

If you want to propagate your Honeysuckle vines you can do that using several techniques. However, keep in mind that the easiest way to get a Honeysuckle vine for your garden is to buy one at a garden center. These are typically sold in 1 gallon pots so they are large enough to survive in your garden without much help. All you need to do is to plant them in your garden. Alternatively, you may also grow them as potted plants on your patio or even indoors.

If you do want to propagate your Honeysuckle vines keep in mind that you need to do it gently but it doesn’t require much work on your part. All you need to do is to follow a few simple steps and you will end up with new Honeysuckle vines in no time.

How to Take Cuttings

One of the easiest ways to propagate your Honeysuckle vines is through cuttings. The best time to take cuttings is in the spring, when the new growth starts to appear. However, keep in mind that you can basically do it whenever you spot the new green growth. The new growth can be started indoors any time of the year so you are not limited to propagating your Honeysuckle vines in the spring.

To take a cutting, carefully cut a length of softwood growth from the end of one or more of the vines. The softwood growth is easily recognizable for its green color. When taking a cutting, make sure to include the leaves. You need to get a cutting with at least few sets of leaves.

Once you have the cutting, make sure to strip the leaves from the end of the cutting. The end is the one that is nearest the cut end. After you have done this you should have one or two leaf nodes bare but also at least one or two sets of leaves that are left on the vine.

Propagating Your Vine

You can proceed after this in several ways. One popular method is to dip the cutting in a rooting hormone. This will encourage the root growth. Dip the cutting in the hormone and then place it in potting soil or another rooting medium. Make sure that the soil or the medium is damp but not completely wet.

Another option is to simply place the cutting in a vase filled with water. If you choose this method you will need to wait until the cutting develops the roots in a natural way. Make sure to change the water regularly to prevent rot and other potential problems.

The roots should appear in one to two weeks. Wait until you have several strong roots that are about an inch or more long. This is when your cutting is ready to be planted. After the new roots are strong enough you can plant your cutting in a similar way like the first method.

Keep in mind that you can plant your Honeysuckle vine in a pot and leave it there or you can wait until it grows a little and then re-plant it in your garden. If you choose to grow it as a vine don’t forget to install a supporting structure such as a trellis or an arbor so your vine can climb.

Also, remember that you can also start your Honeysuckle vine from seeds. Starting directly from seeds is not difficult. Simply sow seeds directly in the ground. You can do this in early spring or in the fall. Both seasons are ok and produce strong and healthy vines.

Photo credit: Monkeystyle3000 Pam’s Pink Honeysuckle via photopin (license)

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