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Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty'

Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty'

Lonicera × purpusii 'Winter Beauty'

For sweet winter scent, it's hard to beat Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty'. Seek it out in the Formal Garden and in the borders by the lake - we've planted it in large groups for maximum impact!

Vital statistics

Common name
Winter honeysuckle
Family
Caprifoliaceae
Height & spread
2m (6ft 6in) high by 2.4m (8ft) wide
Form
Deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub
Soil
Well-drained soil
Aspect
Full sun or partial shade
Hardiness
Fully hardy in the British Isles

Lonicera

Cultivated largely for their often fragrant flowers, the honeysuckle genus, Lonicera, contains about 180 species of deciduous and evergreen climbers and shrubs. Widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere, they grow in varied habitats from woodlands to rocky places.

Lonicera was named for Adam Lonitzer (1528-1586) a German botanist and famously the author of Kreuterbuch, a German herbal reprinted many times between 1557 and 1783.

Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty'

Lonicera × purpusii is a cross between two Chinese honeysuckles L. fragrantissima and L. standishii, both of which were collected by Robert Fortune on an expedition to China sponsored by the Horticultural Society in 1845.

It was named after the brothers Carl Albert Purpus (1853-1941) and Joseph Anton Purpus (1860-1932), famous German plant collectors. The cultivar 'Winter Beauty' was selected as a very free-flowering seedling raised by Hilliers Nursery foreman Alf Alford from a back cross to L. standishii made in 1966.

Lonicera × purpusii 'Winter Beauty' is a rounded deciduous or sometimes semi-evergreen shrub with colourful red-purple young shoots and dark green leaves.

During winter and early spring it produces clusters of very fragrant, creamy, white flowers 2cm (3/4in) long with almost translucent yellow anthers. Despite the mass of flowers, berries are rarely produced.

Suitable for all but the smallest of gardens, Lonicera × purpusii 'Winter Beauty' provides both colour and a wonderfully sweet scent over a two month period, at a time of year when many trees and shrubs are dormant.

Cultivation

  • Lonicera × purpusii 'Winter Beauty' will grow in any well-drained fertile soil in sun or partial shade, though it will flower more profusely in the sun. The arching habit of the stems means that specimens may become unruly if left unpruned.
  • Prune in late spring after flowering, as flowers are produced on second-year wood. Cut dead, old or weak stems back to the base of the plant to encourage shoots to grow from the base. To keep a balanced shape, shorten one-third of the remaining branches by cutting them back to fresh upright shoots. Old and neglected shrubs usually respond well to pruning and can easily be renovated by pruning back to a low framework in winter or early spring. Plants can also be fan trained when planted by a wall or fence.
  • Honeysuckles are relatively untroubled by pests and diseases, though aphids may be a problem.

Propagation

AGM

The RHS Woody Plant Committee awarded Lonicera × purpusii 'Winter Beauty' an Award of Garden Merit and described it as a:

'Strong-growing, rounded, medium-sized deciduous shrub with ovate leaves and small, sweetly scented cream flowers 15mm wide, on the bare branches.'

Related links

Related links

Find cultivation information on Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty' and thousands of other plants with the RHS Plant Selector.

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