Lonicera Fragrantissima, Winter Honeysuckle: Fragrant Harbinger Of Spring

Lonicera Fragrantissima

Photo Compliments of Anita Gould

Lonicera fragrantissima or winter honeysuckle is a somewhat stiff-branched, deciduous shrub with a bushy, spreading habit; typically reaching a height of 6 to 10 feet and a similar width.  Popularity for this plant is based on the extremely fragrant (lemony), short-tubed, creamy white flowers that 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 (4 inches in length and 2 inches in width) sometimes have bluish tinge.  Budded branches may be cut and make a stunning early, fragrant, indoor arrangement.

How To Make Lonicera Fragrantissima or Winter Honeysuckle Thrive

Winter honeysuckle is easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade.  It is capable of adapting to wide range of soils, including dry ones, but prefers moist, loamy soils.

Prune to control shape should be done after flowering.

General Lonicera Fragrantissima or Winter Honeysuckle Information

Pests and Diseases

There are no serious insect or disease problems.  If stressed this plant will have some susceptibility to leaf spot, blight, and powdery mildew; potential insect pests in these stressed conditions include aphids, scale, sawfly, whitefly, plant hoppers, flea beetles, and webworm.


You can easily propagate by either semi-hardwood or hardwood cuttings

Garden Uses

Lonicera fragrantissima or winter honeysuckle makes a wonderful informal hedge, screen, or background plant in a shrub border.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Caprifoliaceae
  • Common Name: Winter honeysuckle
  • Type: Deciduous shrub
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 4 to 8
  • Height: 6 to 10 feet
  • Spread: 6 to 10 feet
  • Bloom Time: March to April
  • Bloom Description: Creamy white
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Water: Dry to medium
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Attracts: Birds
  • Tolerates: Deer, drought, erosion, clay soil, dry soil, black walnut

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  1. I love how they smell

  2. I have a weakness for sweet-smelling shrubs, and this is a plant I have thought about for a while. I don’t see it in garden centers here, and I wonder if our summers may be too hot and humid.
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  3. I’d love to smell it! 🙂
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