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Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

Posted by MRobbins 6b - Brooklyn (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 5, 05 at 20:44

I think Jenny has grown honeysuckle successfully in a container. I'm thinking of growing mine (two "Mandarin") in two 18" diameter, 20" high cedar tubs. Into each tub will go a vertical trellis fanning up from 18" to 36". Each trellis vertical will join at the top to a 36" x 8' rectangular trellis horizontal. Any suggestions about this plan, or the kinds of things I should add to the soil? I have the regular Osmocote, and a nice peat humus, and some vermicompost. The soil in these pots was prepared two years ago to host clematis, which didn't make it.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

My Mandarin just started blooming yesterday for the first time since I bought it 2 years ago:

This plant was originally a 1 gallon that I put into one of those flat-back planters that I believe has a 10" radius from front to back. I potted with some Promix. My goldflame, which was a bigger plant went into a similar but flatback and another goldflame went into a 12" x 12" square planter recently.

The Mandarin is in the white container on the shelf against the partition below:

The containers that you have should be fine. The vines can be cut back each year to contain them if you want. I don't think that Mandarin is as rampant a grower as other honeysuckles. The soil should be fine - honeysuckles are a bit more forgiving than other plants. The only thing that might really get them is if the cultivar is prone to PM.


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

Thanks, Jenny. Hm. Powdery Mildew might be a problem since the trellis will be placed almost right against my deck door, so there will be slightly less air circulation. However, my deck is not enclosed like your terrace, so we're probably on equal footing there. Congratulations on the beautiful blooms on your Mandarin! Do you cut them back every year and then retrain them, or is it OK to leave the stems over winter? I'm not sure whether honeysuckle blooms on old wood or new.


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

I don't think Mandarin is one of the ones that tends to get PM. My goldflame last year was covered in it though (as well as my peony) and the Mandarin sailed through just fine.

I have never cut back the Mandarin. It was pretty slow-growing during 2003 and 2004. The one thing I found with that one was that it would try to leaf out in winter (and the goldflame tried to be an evergreen and I believe these are evergreens in warmer areas), so they will form new vines from existing stems at old leaf nodes. However they bloom on the ends of new growth which is why they can be cut back if you want to do that. You just have to be careful when siting them because since they try to leaf out during extended warm spells in winter, you may find you have to cover the sprouted stems so you don't have the leaves blasted off. I had that happen with a baby Hall's Honeysuckle which grew pretty strongly the first year I had it in 2002 and it never did releaf in 2003. I put some frost cloth on the Mandarin its first late winter when the winds were hitting it and it had already started leafing out. It continued to leaf out nicely during 2004 (but no blooms). This year I kept its stems and didn't cover it (the winter was a bit different too) and it leafed out and grew a nice little network of vines this past spring which it is blooming from right now.


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

OK, I'll keep my eye on that. I think I'll let the vines stay on the trellis without cutting them back, just like you do. Did you add any slow-release fertilizer to your initial soil, and/or do you feed during the season?


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

The past couple years I have been potting with Promix's seed starter/potting mix and don't add anything at planting time but will sprinkle some Osmocote 14-14-14 slow release fertilizer on the surface a couple weeks later and then will mulch. During the growing season I'll give them a shot or two of Ironite or other Iron product and occassional epson salts in water. That's pretty much it.

More and more I have been going for "low maintenance" fertilization tactics because as you know with your situation too... having so much out there to have to fertilize can be a pain after awhile and slow-release seems to be the best solution in that case - sprinkle on and all I need to do for the next couple months is water. I'll usually use some soluable ferts like Miracle Grow/Bloom Booster, Peter's, etc., on the houseplants and windowbox annuals. But the shrubs and perennials get either Osmocote or Hollytone.


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

I have the regular (pink-cap) Osmocote. I could even dig it into the bottom of the pot; I also have some hydrosorb crystals that I could include at the same time. Are your Mandarins heavy drinkers/feeders?


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

What's the ratio on the Osmocote you are using? I know there are a number of different ones out there. I don't think I would call the Mandarin a heavy feeder but it is a heavy drinker - if anything because it forms alot of fine roots. I would also expect that most vines in general need more water because they continually grow more stems and leaves through their growing period and with honeysuckles (which bloom on new growth), their vegetative state tends to be always on-going.


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

The Osmocote I have is the Outdoor-Indoor kind, 18-6-12. So it sounds like the hydrosorb crystals would be a good choice.


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

It's funny but I also have that same Outdoor/Indoor Osmocote (it's 19-6-12) but have never used it - particularly after I found the one I wanted not long after I bought it. I probably should use it for my leafy houseplants (pothos, spider plants, swedish ivy, etc). My workhorse Osmocote is labeled as "Vegetable and Bedding".

The moisture crystals probably would be helpful particularly when our area gets into the extended warm spells. It depends on that soil mix. Only you know how quickly the soil dries. I had a bag of Promix's "Perennial and Bulb" mix which had some fertilizer in it and found that it dries out fairly rapidly and overtly reveals its peaty origins. And this sortof confirmed to me to stick with Promix's bales of regular seed and potting mix that seems to maintain moisture over a more optimum time (at least for me).

Wish you luck with the honeysuckles!


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

I think I'll use a little of the crystals; I mix my own soil, and the composition of the stuff currently in the containers was free-draining and nicely rich when I mixed it two years ago for some clematis (which didn't make it, for some reasons inside and outside my control). I tend to use Fafard products -- topsoil, compost, peat; then some vermiculite, perlite, and sand; and also some nice vermicompost from the Union Square Greenmarket. Mixing my own soil can be wearying, but I feel very satisfied with it at the end -- sort of like baking from scratch.

Another question, if I can: how do you trellis a honeysuckle? From what I can tell, the vines of Mandarin are somewhat tough, and don't look like they twine. Do you need to secure them to your supports with plant ties?


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

Oh the Mandarins will twine. Definitely! I just let a vine gain a bit of length and then slip it behind a strip on the trellis and just guide it and it will do it itself after awhile. They seem to like twining onto themselves too.

You can see the twining below to get an idea which direction they prefer to do it naturally:


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

Aha. So they twine counter-clockwise? My trellis is made of 1/2" bamboo; it looks like your trellis is made of narrower supports. The two Mandarins I bought are pretty big plants, about 3 feet high, wrapped around one of those in-pot trellis miniatures. I guess I'll unwrap them carefully and then tie them to the trellis in a clockwise fashion if possible without damaging them.

Thanks for the picture -- the detail was very helpful.


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

The support that my Mandarin is on actually uses 1/2" width slats (just measured it). It's one of those 4ft tall wooden "fan" trellises. My gold flame is on a 6ft ladder-type trellis that has 3/4" wide slats. If you sortof guide them, they'll wind naturally, particularly if they can get behind the support (mine are sortof tricky since the supports are up against a wall or glass partition).

And if you do try to reverse them, they'll try to revert back to the way they are genetically programmed to twine with the newer growth. It's kinda of wild to watch them do that!


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

How good are they at regrowing stems if you break one? I'm probably going to cause some damage when I remove the Mandarins from their current mini-trellises.

(I'm having such an interesting adventure already with these plants even though I haven't planted them yet! Thanks, Jenny.)


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RE: Honeysuckle -- how large a container?

If they are happy and growing, they can grow new vinelettes out of any one of the leaf nodes below the break. You may end up with 2 vines from the original one. That's how people get bushier plants.


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