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Lonicera fragrantissima

Lonicera fragrantissima



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Lonicera


The fragrantissima Lonicera is a shrub with deciduous leaves of medium size, does not exceed 2.5-3 meters in height, originating in China and East Asia. It has long thin stems, slightly arched, densely branched; the new branches are dark purple; the leaves are oval, 4-5 cm long, dark green, slightly cuoiose and opaque.
In January-February it produces numerous white or cream flowers, very fragrant, which bloom pendulous below the branches, often in groups of three or four and which give this variety its name. In spring the flowers are followed by berries, in groups of 2-3, similar to olives, of green color, they become reddish in summer. These plants lose their leaves very late, so that in places with mild winters they can behave like evergreens; the leaves fall in December-January, before flowering.
There fragrantissima lonicera It is a non-climbing shrub, but with a rather loose habit and with branches, reddish, arched and elegant. At maturity it can reach 3 meters in height and about 2 in width.
It is a semisempreverde, as the foliage is deciduous only where the temperatures drop below -5 ° C. The single leaves are oval, coriaceous, acute and with toothed margins, of dark green color, but glaucous on the inferior page. The flowers, among the first in the gardens, appear in the South already in December, while in the Center and in the North they must usually wait until February-March. They are brought to 2 to 2 in the leaf axils, creamy-white in color, with an intense perfume: fresh, sweet and fruity, similar in some ways to that of jasmine. These are followed, already towards the end of spring, by soft, oblong berries, about 6-8 mm in diameter, red or salmon, with translucent skin; they are very appreciated by the fauna, but toxic for the human beings.
It is native to China and came to Europe in 1845 thanks to Robert Fortune.

Lonicera


The genus Lonicera includes about 180 species from all over the northern hemisphere, but especially from the wooded and mountainous areas of central and eastern Asia.
They have always been very popular for their climbing or shrubby habit, for the beautiful flowering and in particular for the renowned perfume, with warm and enveloping notes.
Among these species there are many hidden and almost unknown treasures to the general public, but which would be worth re-evaluating and inserting more into our green spaces. In particular, the fragrantissima lonicera should be valued and made more popular: it is in fact a shrub with a beautiful bearing and arched branches, capable of being a point of interest at any time of the year. The peculiarity that makes it truly precious is the flowering during the cold season, when the rest of the garden is still sleeping: the corollas are neither large nor showy, but their abundance makes the whole really pleasant. Moreover, when they open, especially in the hottest days, towards evening, they release into the air a sweet aroma, with hints of honey, perceptible even from a distance and capable, even alone, of reviving the day.
Much loved by bees, it is nevertheless a great attraction for small birds, which happily feed on its scarlet fruits, which appear more in the season.

Exposure



Regarding the exposure of the Lonicera fragrantissima it is advisable to place in a sunny place, or even in partial shade; the lonicere do not fear the winter cold and the summer heat. It is good to check that the place chosen for the cultivation of the plant is exposed to direct sunlight for at least a few hours a day.
For a compact and balanced development it is advisable to prune branches that are too developed or lacking vigor, after flowering, in spring or autumn, remembering that these plants bloom on old wood, and therefore it is advisable to remove portions of young branches.
There fragrantissima lonicera manages to grow rather well in all light conditions; the ideal positioning is however in partial shade, perhaps where it is well lit during the morning hours and more sheltered in the warm ones. This will allow us to have fast growth and abundant flower production. Clearly in our country this location will be particularly recommended in the southern regions, given that the heat and the low humidity could cause dehydration and leaf burns. As we go up the peninsula we can afford more daring exposures.




















































Watering and irrigation



Fragrantissima Lonicera plants can also withstand periods of drought and are satisfied with the rains. In the summer season it is good to intervene with greater regularity, supplying water when the soil has dried, in order to guarantee the right water supply to the plant. In autumn, bury a well-ripened organic fertilizer at the foot of the plant, or spread a slow release granular fertilizer on the ground.
Even in the planting phase it is good to place at the bottom of the manure or fertilizer that will allow the plant to develop at its best.
This shrub always likes to have roots in a rather cool environment. It is therefore important to dedicate oneself assiduously to irrigation, especially in the months following the planting. When it is completely liberated, especially if the ground has the right composition and the positioning is optimal, our intervention can also become superfluous and we will only worry in case of prolonged drought.
However, water stagnations should be avoided, as they could cause root rot to occur.

Ground


The fragrantissima Lonicera plants prefer rich, loose and well-drained soils, but develop without problems in any condition, even in very dry and clayey soils. They are afraid of water stagnation, therefore it is advisable to place them after adding to the soil of the river sand.
When these plants are planted, it is advisable to prepare a mixture consisting of earth, peat, sand and organic substance, so as to provide all the nourishment necessary for the correct development of the plant.
The ideal soil must be deep, well worked and rich in organic matter. It grows very well when there is a good presence of clay or silicon, but it also tolerates poor and draining substrates (if well positioned).
To obtain an ideal mixture (even for those who want to keep it in a large container), 7 parts of garden soil, 3 parts of peat and 2 parts of sand must be mixed. Then we also incorporate some mature manure and some handful of roasted cornunghia.


Multiplication


The multiplication of fragrantissima Lonicera occurs by seed, at the beginning of autumn, or by cutting, after flowering.
The easiest way to get new seedlings is undoubtedly the cutting. Proceed in mid-summer, taking jets that are partially lignified, at least 10 cm long. They are cut close to a node and inserted into a light compost, of peat and perlite (or sand), always kept slightly moist, in a warm but shaded place. It can also be operated in spring, with herbaceous jets.
An excellent alternative, with a high percentage of rooting, is also the offshoot. It is in fact easy to bend the long branches and, after having engraved the bark, insert them underground. Once the rooting has taken place, we will be able to cut upstream and move the new specimen to its home.

Pests and diseases



Generally this plant, quite rustic, does not seem to be attacked by pests or diseases. In certain situations, however, these plants can be affected by powdery mildew, aphids and lead pain, which, if left untreated, can cause serious damage. Another problem to pay attention to is the possible formation of water stagnations, which could cause the onset of fungal diseases, which would also lead to heavy consequences for the health of the plant.
These are hardy shrubs. Occasionally they may be attacked by aphids, which, in addition to weakening the plant, soil the leaves with their honeydew production. We work with natural pyrethrum-based products and remove any residues with potassium soap.
Powdery mildew appears quite frequently, particularly at the end of spring and early autumn, due to the combination of heat and humidity. We prevent with sulfur and perform careful pruning to promote better aeration.

Cultivation and climate of the Lonicera


It is, like all honeysuckles, a very adaptable and tolerant plant, capable of giving great satisfaction to the most experienced gardener as well as the beginner. In order to give the best of oneself, of course, it would be necessary to place it in an environment that is as similar as possible to that of provenance, ie a wooded and fresh environment.
Climate
It is a very rustic shrub: it is able to withstand even -30 ° C without suffering damage: it is therefore very suitable for all Italian regions, including the alpine areas.
However, it must be pointed out that, in that case, to obtain an abundant flowering, and perhaps quite early, it is advisable to insert the specimen in a context sheltered from the winds, perhaps protected by a wall.
Some problems may arise due to excessive heat. In addition to a correct exposure in that case, the care of the substrate will be extremely important, as it must always be able to remain fresh and slightly damp.

Planting


The ideal period for this processing is undoubtedly the late autumn, before the frosts. We dig a deep and wide hole at least twice the earth bread and we prepare on the bottom a thick draining layer based on gravel and then one of manure. Insert the plant and compact it well with the soil, enriched and made very soft. Let us water abundantly.


Lonicera pruning


Pruning is not strictly necessary. During the first few years it is advisable to intervene as little as possible to allow the specimen to reach its final size quickly. Afterwards it will be possible to intervene after the end of flowering by shortening the branches produced in previous years by about 1/3. In autumn or late winter it is instead possible to work to eliminate damaged, sick or dead branches, possibly stimulating a renewal in older specimens.

THE FRAGRANT LONICERA IN BRIEF

Family, genus, species
Caprifoliaceae, gen. Lonicera, sp. fragrantissima
Type of plant Flowering shrub, semi-persistent foliage
Height and width at maturity 3x2 m
Growth Average fast
Culture Simple and non-binding
Flower color White, cream, pink
Rusticitа Very rustic, up to -30 ° C
Ground Rich, deep, fresh; tolerates limestone and poor soils
Exposure Half shade; also tolerates full sun and light and medium shade
Soil moisture Always slightly damp
Propagation Cutting, offshoot
use Free hedge, isolated shrub, mixed borders, vase

























THE CALENDAR OF L. FRAGRANTISSIMA

Flowering
December (South), February-March (Center-North)
Berries production From June
Pruning Late March-early April / rejuvenation also November
Composting October-June
Planting October-November

Fertilization and cultural care


It is an undemanding plant that requires limited maintenance. To stimulate development and keep the soil always airy and vital, it is useful to spread a good amount of manure or compost along with slow release granular fertilizer for flowering shrubs at the foot of the specimens, in which nitrogen and potassium are balanced . In this way we will stimulate both vegetative growth and bud production. A second administration of granules can be performed in late summer.


Lonicera variety



The fragrantissima lonicera is available both in the type species and in some interesting cultivars. Over the years, moreover, various interspecific hybrids have been created, also to be taken into consideration.
The cultivar that is most easily found on the market is undoubtedly the "Spring Purple" which combines the beautiful white winter flowers with new bright purple jets. The foliage is dark green with purple reflections.
Very similar is the Lonicera standishii: it has more pointed leaves and flowers slightly later, around March, with pale pink petals.
An interesting hybrid is the lonicera x purpusii, obtained by crossing precisely with the standishii: more compact, with leaves up to 10 cm long and creamy-white flowers, in groups of two or four.


Lonicera fragrantissima: Uses and combinations


Given the small size and the upright posture, this lonicera can also be inserted in spaces or gardens of limited dimensions. The ideal is to use it as an isolated specimen or for the creation of free hedges, in combination also with other winter flowering essences (for example forsythia, jasminum nudiflorum, calicanto, chaenomeles japonica), ideal for reviving open spaces in the coldest months.
Using a large (but especially deep) vessel it is even possible to grow it on a balcony or terrace.