Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - April 26, 2009

From: Westerville, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Care of Northern honeysuckle bush
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a honeysuckle bush, I have had it for about year to two years. I would like to know if I should cut the brown parts off. There are some vines that do not look good, but some of the branches have green growing on them. I just would like to know how to better care for my bush, if I should trim it up or what. Please help, before my husband gets to it.

ANSWER:

We are assuming that you have Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle), which is native to Ohio. It is deciduous,  forms thickets by suckerinig, and is short-lived. You can follow the link above and learn more about it, including the fact that it is a low water use plant, and needs shade (less than 2 hours of sun daily) or part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun) to thrive. Without more information about possible insect infestation or other environmental problems, we can't say what is causing the browning of some of the branches. However, most woody plants will benefit from some trimming up. Any vine that is detracting from the appearance by looking brown or straggly can be clipped off, right at the ground, if you wish. Dead ends can easily be pruned off below the dead area. Most woody plants will come back fuller and more vigorous after a good pruning. For further information and pictures, see this Connecticut Botanical Society website Diervilla lonicera.

 

From the Image Gallery


Northern bush honeysuckle
Diervilla lonicera

Northern bush honeysuckle
Diervilla lonicera

More Shrubs Questions

Native holly (ilex) for Austin area
May 28, 2006 - Hi--my brother and his family live in Austin, TX--their german shepard "Holly" just died (she was 13)--I was throwing around the idea of sending them a holly plant of some sort to have in honor of H...
view the full question and answer

Powdery mildew hits Rock Rose in Round Rock Texas
May 05, 2011 - My beautiful Rock Roses have gotten spots of white fuzzy "fur" on their leaves in the past month. This is not something they have ever had before and I'm worried its some kind of disease. Is it so...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back a Rhododendron in Maryland
June 17, 2015 - I have a planting of six shrubs across the front of my house (alternating azalea & rhododendron). All have died except for one huge rhody & a small azalea next to it. Can I cut the huge rhody back to ...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant Plants for Newton Square, PA
August 25, 2014 - I'm looking for highly deer resistant plants native to PA. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Lantanas
August 06, 2008 - Here at work we have 4 beautiful yellow Santanas(should I say had), the leaves have started to turn brown and no longer blooming. Appears to have a fungus or disease. Please help!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.