Himalayan Honeysuckle: White Flowers With Purplish-Red Bracts

Himalayan Honeysuckle: White Flowers With Purplish-Red Bracts

Himalayan Honeysuckle

Photo Compliments of James Gaither

Leycesteria Formosa, or Himalayan honeysuckle is a quick growing shrub with arching stems that start flowering in June and continue through to September. The chains of flowers are a lovely mix of dark red and white. During the fall the fruit matures to a deep maroon and is quite striking.  This shrub is very easy to grow and is very adaptable to a broad array of garden conditions.

Himalayan honeysuckle is a deciduous shrub with an upright habit. Its hollow stems are round and green and persist into the winter months; shoots are blue-green.  The leaves are simple, opposite, ovate, 5 to 7 inches long, and 1.5 to 4 inches wide.  The base of the leaf is cordate, the margin is entire, or serrate, and they are green above and paler below. During summer and into early autumn Himalayan honeysuckle bears small, hermaphroditic, funnel shaped, white flowers at the tip of each cluster of purplish-red bracts and these are followed by spherical, reddish-purple fruits that will ripen a few at a time. Flowers are 1 to 4 inch pendulous clusters, corolla reddish-white to violet, surrounded by reddish bracts. Fruit is bead-like, glossy green, becoming maroon then purple-black, a single cluster may contain fruit showing the above color range.

How To Make Your Himalayan Honeysuckle Thrive

Himalayan honeysuckle grows and flowers best in full sun to light, or even open shade. It is very adaptable to soil conditions, growing well in moist to well drained sites and tolerating sandy or clay situations. It will tolerate almost any soil conditions; it will be happy at neutral, acid, or alkaline pH levels, in loam, clay, chalk, or sand based soils. Once it is established it needs only occasional watering during dry periods.

General Himalayan Honeysuckle Information

Pests and Diseases

There are no significant pests or diseases.


The easiest method is to take cuttings of half-ripe wood, 3 to 4 inches with a heel.  Cuttings should be started them in July or August in a frame; plant out in spring. If you take cuttings of mature wood, 8 to 10 inches with a heel, you can plant in open ground in October or November.


It is easy to prune; weak and twiggy old growth can be removed in winter. If the shrub becomes too large it can be cut to 12 to 18 inches tall in late winter and allowed to regrow the next season. Two to three years of recovery should be allowed after it has been cut to the ground.

Garden Use

Himalayan honeysuckle is perfect for mixing with perennials or placing in a shrub border.

Quick Facts

  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Plant Height: 6 to 8 feet
  • Plant Width: 6 to 8 feet
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 7a to 9b
  • Flower Color: White
  • Bloom Period: June to September
  • Light Exposure: Full sun, light to open shade
  • Water Requirements: Occasional watering during dry months
  • Seasonal Interest: Mid-summer to late fall the flowers and fruit
  • Attracts: Birds and butterflies
  • Resists: Slug, and snails

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  1. Charlie – you really come up with the “different” in the plant world. Different that is completely new to me.
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