Lonicera hildebrandiana (Giant Burmese Honeysuckle) - This is a quick growing, large evergreen vine that clambers upwards seemingly for as high as there is support available but it does not fasten itself to walls. It has the largest flowers and leaf size of any honeysuckle with bright green juvenile oval leaves maturing to 4-6 inch long glossy, deep green colored leaves. The flowers, first appearing in spring but often lasting to fall, are pleasingly fragrant with 5 to 6 inch long slender curving tubes that expand near the tip with inch wide flaring lobes - flowers start white then turn yellow and finally a dull orange, and are sometimes followed by a dark green, and reportedly edible, berry (never tried it ourselves!).
Plant in full sun to light shade along the coast and, though somewhat drought tolerant once established in coastal gardens, it grows faster and looks much better with regular irrigation. It is cold hardy to short duration temperatures down to about 22 ° F but happiest in near frost-free locations or where temperatures get only a few degrees below freezing for short durations. With age the stems develop a woody structure that is highly sculptural in form, especially if thinned out a bit. This plant emits a pleasant aroma and is attractive to bees, butterflies and birds.
This vine comes from Assam, China South-Central, China Southeast, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam. The name for the genus honors Adam Lonicer, a 16th century German mathematician, physician and botanist. Sir Henry Collett and William Botting Hemsley first published this name in the Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany in 1890 from a collection Collett, a military man with an interest in botany, had made in the Southern Shan State in Burma (Myanmar) in Southeast Asia with the specific epithet honoring Arthur Hedding Hildebrand, a British administrator of this area who also shared an interest in plants. Hildebrand also successfully sent seed of this plant to Kew in 1893 and a seedling first flowered in England at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin in 1898. We have grown this wonderful giant vine since 1983.
Information about Lonicera hildebrandiana displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.