I have a bush honeysuckle (with pink flowers) that just appeared in my yard. It’s pretty, smells nice, and looks great but I hear they’re invasive. Is it possible to manage it in a yard? Or should I kill it off so it doesn’t spread to neighbourhood?
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
There are over 180 honeysuckle species in the genus Lonicera. These include honeysuckles native to North America, Asia, Europe, Russia and India. Sixteen honeysuckle species are found in Ontario, including ten introduced species. The species that are considered invasive in North America, and Ontario in particular, include the Tatarian (Lonicera tatarica), Amur (L. maackii), Morrow (L. morrowii) , Bells (L.× bella) honeysuckles and European Fly Honeysuckle.- Invasive Honeysuckles
The common features of invasive honeysuckle includes simple, opposite leaves, showy flowers and thornless branches. From your description of showy pink flowers I believe you have a Belles Honeysuckle Lonicera x bella. This shrub is considered to be a particularly invasive shrub which adapts well to a variety of habitats and soils.
Controlling this invasive species before it becomes well established is the best way to minimize its negative impact on our native plant. The best time to remove honeysuckles is before fruit develops, which is typically at 3-5 years old. The link Invasive Honeysuckles gives detailed control measures.
If you are interested in planting a honeysuckle bush consider planting one of the following native Honeysuckles: Fly honeysuckle (L. canadensis), Swamp Fly (L. oblongifolia), and Northern Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera).
Diervilla lonicera is not only an Ontario native plant but it also attracts hummingbirds and bees into your garden. It is a fairly easy care plant which can tolerate both full sun and part shade, is adaptable to dry or moist locations and is highly tolerant of urban pollution. It has a life span of about 20 years and has a medium growth rate. As an added bonus Diervilla comes in various leaf colours- Kodiak® Red Diervilla produces deep burgundy leaves in the spring which turn vivid red in the fall. During the summer, leaves have a red edge and clusters of small yellow flowers appear all season. On the other hand, if dark leaves are your thing, then Kodiak Black possesses dark burgundy-black leaves. Imagine the stunning contrast between the dark leaves and the yellow flowers. Lastly, as an alternative to burning bush, Kodiak Orange leaves turn a brilliant orange in the fall.
Diervilla is a native that is both beautiful and easy to grow what more can we ask.