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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - May 31, 2013

From: Fort Wayne, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Will a Honeysuckle Shrub Damage a House Foundation?
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I'm thinking about buying a honeysuckle bush. I would like to plant it close to my house. Can the roots of this bush cause any damage to the foundation to the house?

ANSWER:

Many honeysuckle shrubs and vines (Lonicera sp.) have shallow and fibrous root systems that will not damage a house foundation if the foundation is structurally sound.

There are three native honeysuckles in Indiana that are shrubs, vines or vine-like shrubs. They all would make great garden companions.

Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle) is noted to have a tap root but it should not be a concern for your foundation. Many people have mentioned that they have never seen hummingbirds in their garden until they planted this honeysuckle. Our website has the following information on this vine:

This beautiful, slender, climbing vine is frequently visited by hummingbirds. Not too aggressive. Good climber or ground cover. The species name refers to its evergreen habit, especially in the South. Coral honeysuckle requires light, good air circulation, and adequate drainage to prevent powdery mildew. Some structural assistance may be necessary to help it begin climbing. Flowers best when given more sun. Tolerates poor drainage for short periods.
This species is named for Adam Lonicer (1528 - 1586), a German botanist noted for his 1557 revised version of Eucharius Rösslin’s herbal. He became professor of Mathematics in 1553 and Doctor of Medicine in 1554, becoming the town physician in Frankfurt-am-Main. His true interest though was herbs and the study of botany.

Here are the three native Indiana honeysuckles:
 
Lonicera canadensis (American fly honeysuckle)

Lonicera dioica (limber honeysuckle)

Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle)

 

From the Image Gallery


Limber honeysuckle
Lonicera dioica

Limber honeysuckle
Lonicera dioica

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

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