Sweet Breath of Spring (Lonicera fragrantissima) Info
In the Garden
Considered the best smelling of the honeysuckles, Sweet Breath of Spring has a lemony scent that is more complex than the usual and not as overwhelmingly sweet. Its scent can perfume a whole block, and in very early spring, branches with buds on them can be brought in the house to open and spread their perfume. This is one of the only plants that flowers in the late winter/early spring, just before forsythia, but it continues to bloom after forsythia is done. It flowers before it leafs out, so the ivory flowers, although small, are prominent. Flowers are followed by leaves and small red berries that often appear in pairs. This shrub grows quickly, and in the South, where it's evergreen, it can be invasive. Unlike other loniceras, it is not a vine but a loose shrub (thus one of its common names is Standing Honeysuckle). A native of China, it was brought to Europe in 1845 and thence to North America. This plant is also known as Fragrant Honeysuckle, Winter Honeysuckle, January Jasmine, and Pouting Bush (because the flowers face away from each other).
How to Grow Sweet Breath of Spring
Sow seeds in paper towels that have been wet and wrung out. Fold towel up, put in a baggie, and store in fridge for 60 days. Then take out and plant as usual to germinate in 1-4 weeks. Or just plant outside in fall. This plant grows best in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil (no standing water or low spots). It can get 8-10ft/2.5-3m tall and the same wide. After the second year of growth, you can prune it once a year after flowering to make it more rounded, but blooms appear on old growth and this plant looks best without pruning and will get more flowers that way. It is hardy to zone 4 (-30F/-34.4° C). General growing info
Uses in Witchcraft & Magick:
© 2006, 2013 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission