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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Lonicera fragrantissima, My Favorite Plant This Week

On Christmas day, I smelled something lemony sweet as I walked through our front parking strip en route to the car.   How nice to enjoy a floral fragrance on Christmas.  It only took a second to spot the first tiny but powerfully-scented blooms of  Lonicera fragrantissima looking as sweet as they smelled!


"Lonicera fragrantissima forms an arching and somewhat suckering shrub to 8 feet in height, and remains partially evergreen during the winter months.  From late December through March, a steady supply of small, white flowers are produced along the stems to atomize the winter air with spicy, sweet perfume.  If hard winter frosts damage the flowers, they are quickly replaced by densely packed flower buds waiting in line to blossom."    Dan Hinkley,  Winter Ornamentals 
 I've had one of these in my last two gardens  so it's been 24 years that we've been together and I'm still surprised and thrilled every December when they start blooming!

Stolen from Missouri Botanical Garden's website is the following information:

Common Name: fragrant honeysuckle
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Black Walnut
 

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Adapts to wide range of soils, including dry ones, but prefers moist, loamy soils. Prune to shape after flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Winter honeysuckle is a somewhat stiff-branched, deciduous shrub with a bushy, spreading habit. Typically grows 6-10' tall and as wide. Extremely fragrant (lemony), short-tubed, creamy white flowers appear in early spring before the leaves emerge. Flowers are followed by small, somewhat inconspicuous, red berries which mature in late spring to early summer. Oval, dark green foliage sometimes has bluish tinge. Flowers are a harbinger of spring. Budded branches may be cut for an early, fragrant, indoor arrangement.
 
 

For much better images and lots more information about  this  plant, visit Plant Lust here and Dave's Garden here.  To see what's turning the heads of other bloggers this week, go to Danger Garden here. For delightful winter fragrance, that breathes the promise of spring, add this shrub to your garden!  Do find a place where it's summer-dull foliage will blend in or train a small summer flowering vine up it's branches to give it some summer interest.
 
How about you?  What's your favorite plant this week?

23 comments:

  1. This honeysuckle sounds like a great plant, I wonder if it's easy to propagate from cuttings? (Hint, hint). I don't currently have a favorite, it's all such a mess. I haven't really been out to assess the garden since before the big freeze.

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    1. Very easy to propagate from cuttings but even easier to get one from your friend Peter who has to get rid of one of his because it's in too much shade now.

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  2. I love lonicera as well.I have lonicera caprifolium and it has leaves till now!!!. Yours is so sweety!

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    1. There are so many wonderful members of the lonicera family!

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  3. I love this plant! One especially warm Janurary three pipevine swallowtails eclosed. They spent a week nectoring on the lonicera. There was nothing else blooming for them to eat. I also find it to be a very easy to grow shrub; graceful, evergreen, and drought toleralnt as well.

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    1. And doesn't mind severe pruning. Your swallowtail story is very sweet!

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  4. Winter fragrance tends to be dominated by Daphne and Sarcococca, this Lonicera would make a fine addition to the two. A fragrant winter garden, now that's a good idea!

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    1. This one usually starts blooming before my Daphnes and Sarcocca, even beats the Chimonanthus praecox! Love the fragrances of winter!

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  5. I am very interested in this plant. I love anything that blooms in winter. Thanks for the info.




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  6. I am very interested in this plant. I love anything that blooms in winter. Thanks for the info.




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  7. Do you think that it would do ok in very high heat and sunshine here in Lewiston, up on a hill with No shade?

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    1. It should be fine but will probably need additional water in the summer until it's established.

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    2. Thanks! I have been looking for something to put along the side of the house that can stand the sun and gets tall enough for some shade on the house! I am a complete gardening ignoramus! Funny that we grew up in the Exact same environment and my dear friend Peter knows the gardening there and we didn't grow anything except rhubarb that we transplanted from 7 Pastures. Grew like Crazy there... lol doesn't do so good without a Ton of water here... so um.. I'm growing star thistle mostly!

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    3. Oh wow, did more looking at photos and this is just what I have been Looking for! I'm Excited! My nephew works in a nursery in Richland so he should be able to hook me up! Thanks So much Peter! I am so glad I was so intrigued with the smell of flowers in winter! Hugs!

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  8. I could almost smell that first bloom! This is a good one Peter thanks for the intro...

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  9. I love this shrub, mine is not yet in bloom. My other favourites for winter fragrance are Chimonanthus praecox and Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill'. One of the bonuses of winter is the delicious scents in the garden.
    Chloris

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    1. I agree, the fragrances of winter are delightful and very powerful.

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  10. My God, it's hardy in zone 4! How did I never hear of this shrub? I must add this to the list of shrubs I have to find room for.

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    1. It's a great shrub which is a delight this time of year. It's a little dull for the other three seasons.

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  11. My favorite plant this week is whatever hasn't gone dormant and still has a bit of color. :o) Your honeysuckle sounds divine. I grow a low hedge of sweetbox that is highly fragrant in late winter. But until that blooms, I have a giant pile of zilch going on in the garden. Boo!

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    1. Ah yes, the famous giant pile forming Zilch, an interesting and minimalist sort of plant. Sweetbox has a glorious fragrance, ours start blooming here in January or February.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.