Thursday, 8 March 2018

What to do with a crazy Lonicera?

It's been four months since I bought my Lonicera  and my little tree is growing like crazy. So much so that I'm struggling to keep it under control.

Two months after its first styling it had grown so much that at first glance it was hard to see that it had ever been styled at all.

January 2018 - before pruning

Looking at all that needed to be done I took the lazy way out, and in January I took it along to one of our club's meetings and let another member do the pruning for me. For some reason he decided to change the front (he seems to make a habit of that, having done the same thing with my clip and grow ficus a month later) but didn't make any other drastic changes. After the meeting it looked like this.

January 208 - after second pruning

On the whole it didn't look too bad, but I was a bit concerned by the fact that the first two branches were now pointing towards the back. However I decided to live with that problem for the time being.

By yesterday, when I brought it inside for a haircut. it was extremely overgrown once more:

March 2018 - before pruning

With so many new branches growing in all directions it was a struggle to decide what to keep and I may well have removed a couple of branches I shouldn't have. Fortunately on a tree this vigorous that isn't likely to be a big issue in the long term.

After pruning, I couldn't help feeling it looked a bit unbalanced:

March 2018 - after pruning

The difficulty of keeping this tree under control got me thinking though, and I can't help feeling that in this case less may be more. I'm seriously contemplating going for a windswept tree. Perhaps with a starting point something like this:

Roughly pruned in Photoshop

Before I commit to any major changes, however, I'd love to hear other people's ideas.

You can find more photos and future updates here.


  1. Hi, I don't know the tree very well but would almost suggest rather creating foliage pads with the three separate strongest branches. Remove all branches growing downwards. That would then mean one large canopy at the top leaning towards the right slightly. And the two lower pads each with the left side being left to grow a little bigger than lower right to give balance. Just another idea as I am not personally a fan of the windswept look ;-)

    1. Thanks for your ideas, Michael. At today's meeting one of my club members talked me out of the windswept idea. For now I'm planning to remove the lowest back branch and one other branch at the top and I'll wait to see what develops.