Honeysuckle Seeds And Cuttings: Tips For Propagating Honeysuckle Plants

By: Mary Ellen Ellis

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.

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Propagating himalayan honeysuckle cuttings

Question from K-J Johanson

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I have been given a cutting of this plant and wonder how to best plant it. it is about 6 cm long with four pairs of leaves on it and I think softwood. I was thinking of removing all but the top pairs of leaves, make a diagonal cut over the base and plant it with the three leaf nodes under ground.

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  • Posted: Sat. 12th June 2010 18:09

Re: Propagating himalayan honeysuckle cuttings

Hi K-J,
For your softwood cutting, cut it the end so the cutting is no more than 5cm long. Remove the soft tip since this is most susceptible to rot and scorch. This also makes for a bushier cutting and it redistributes growth hormones that naturally occur in the plant. Remove the lowest pair of leaves . If the remaining leaves are large, you can cut them in half to reduce moisture loss. Best place to insert softwood cuttings is in a warm, protected environment such as a propagator. Bottom heating will speed rooting. Use a dibber or pencil to make a hole in the compost so you don't tear delicate tissue when inserting the plant. In my experience with cuttings, the number of nodes underground is not related to rooting success. Keep moist but not waterlogged. These are generally easy to propogate. Good luck and let me know how you get on.
Kathy C

Re: Re: Propagating himalayan honeysuckle cuttings

I'll trim the two leaves that are left as they are rather big and remove the top. I have potted it already and it is standing outside in the garden. I think I probably just stuck it into the soil but I am living in hope. I thought the amount of nodes would have a positive impact on the survival rate but you live and learn. When I have something more to report I'll get back to you.

Re: Re: Re: Propagating himalayan honeysuckle cuttings

Glad to help. Should have mentioned before that if you have an account with Shoot, you can add this to you list of 'Plants I Have' and not only will you get monthly care advice for your honeysuckle, you can also get loads of excellent information on how to take all sorts of cuttings. I have found it most useful because all I need to know is right at my fingertips - has saved me so much time since I don't have to search books/internet for advice - it is all right here!
Kathy C

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.

How to Root Honeysuckle

Related Articles

Honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.) are a smart choice when you need quick coverage from a highly perfumed, vigorous growing, climbing or shrubby plant. Honeysuckles make your landscape come alive with their vibrant color and ambrosial, mildly erotic scent that attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies throughout summer. You can start your honeysuckles indoors in early spring by propagating, or rooting them, by planting a healthy stem from a hardy, well-producing plant in a fertile growing medium.

Mix together 1 gallon of sphagnum peat moss, 1/2 gallon of coarse perlite, 1/2 gallon of coarse vermiculite and 1 tablespoon of dry, controlled-release 10-10-10 fertilizer in a bucket using a garden fork. Propagating mixes such as this work well for transplanting, germinating and rooting plants because they are sterile and the components have a relatively uniform shape, texture and weight.

Pour 1/2 gallon of propagation mix in a 1/2 gallon pot and water until it drains. The growing medium should be moist but not wet. Place the remaining mix in a sealable container and store in a cool dry place until ready to use.

Wipe the blades of the garden shears with a lint-free cloth moistened with isopropyl alcohol.

Cut a hardy honeysuckle stem just above a pair of healthy leaves with the shears. Make a second cut halfway between the next lower leaf joint on the stem. The growing tip -- that portion of stem inserted in the propagating mix -- should be between 2 inches and 6 inches long. This cut is referred to as a double-eye cutting, as the two opposing leaves resemble the ovoid shapes of a pair of eyes.

Lightly moisten the bottom 1/4 inch of the honeysuckle cutting and dip it in IBA rooting hormone powder. Shake the excess hormone powder from the cutting.

Dig a small hole in the propagation mix with a small garden trowel deep enough so the cutting can support itself without falling over. A good measure to go by is digging one-fourth as deep as the cutting is long. For example, if the cutting is 8 inches long, dig a 2-inch-deep hole in the mix.

Insert the cutting in the pot and backfill the hole with the mix, tamping it down gently. Cover the honeysuckle and the pot with a plastic bag, securing it with a rubber band near the bottom of the pot.

Place the plant in a room with a temperature between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The honeysuckle will take root in approximately four to six weeks, after which you can transplant it outside. Gently tug on the stem to feel for root resistance, ensuring the roots have started to form.

Common Questions About Growing Honeysuckle

How do I keep honeysuckle blooming?

Keep your honeysuckle blooming by making sure the plant is in a spot that gets full sun. Honeysuckle will still grow, but will not bloom as much, in shady spots. Full sun means 6 or more hours of sunlight each day.

Why isn’t my honeysuckle blooming very much?

If your plant is young, it may just not have reached its full bloom potential yet – note that honeysuckle may take up to 3 years before it puts on a great show.

Does honeysuckle come back every year?

Honeysuckle is a perennial plant, meaning it will come back each year. With proper care, you should be able to enjoy your honeysuckle for many years. Some varieties can live an average of 20 years.

How long does it take to grow honeysuckle?

Honeysuckle is a fast-growing plant that will likely bloom during its first growing season. However, it could take up to 3 years for optimal blooming.

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