Plant of the Month: Lonicera korolkowii ‘Floribunda’

Lonicera korolkowii ‘Floribunda’

BLUE VELVET honeysuckle

When you can combine pollinator attraction and ungulate resistance, this Plant Select® shrub is always a winner. The Blue Velvet honeysuckle gets even better than that, though!

It’s umbrella arching form spreads beautifully in the garden and creates a lovely background filler and focal point that engages throughout the season. In early spring the pinkish, purplish flowers are plentiful and very fragrant. These give way to blue-green foliage in summer and starting in late summer the red berries develop and can become quite plentiful. Bees, butterflies and birds are all attracted to this gem in the garden. There is no fall color to speak of, but the lovely form of the shrub itself makes up for that.

The original blue leaf honeysuckle is native to the central Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan mountains which means it adapts well to high arid conditions in the western US. It is very pest resistant and extremely drought tolerant once established making it one of just a handful of mid-sized trees that stand out so buoyantly in the xeric garden.

Blue Velvet prefers full sun to part shade, with a wide range of pH soil, and a wide USDA zone (3-8). It mature height is 12’ and is a moderate grower so you’ll see it fill out in the garden in fairly short order. It’s going to get at least as wide as it is tall and has an irregular, arching form to its branching.

While not listed as noxious in any states, it is important to note that this honeysuckle can escape the garden readily after birds eat and drop the seeds. It should be used with caution, especially in the Northeastern US.

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