I am based in London, UK.

I have recently acquired a late Dutch Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum 'Serotina').

However, after a few weeks, the leaves have started going slightly purple - I want to take good care of this plant, so I would like to know how to solve this problem.

As Can be seen in the image below, it seems to be the leaves right at the ends of the stems of the plant.

Leaves turning purply/brown

The instructions given to me with the plant suggested it would need considerable watering - I took this to heart, so I watered the plant well to begin with. Since then, it has been quite rainy and the soil has remained damp, so I can't see there being an issue with too little water.

The stems at the ends of some of the plant are also purple-ish in places, as can be seen in the image below:

New growth stems are also slightly purple

What could be causing this discolouration, and how do I deal with it?

Edit: additional photos

The plant is attached to a pole, north facing, but it gets sunlight ( garden is south facing ). There are canes and seashells on the ground to stop the local cats from digging the fresh soil up.

Attached to a pole, north facing

Here is a close up of the stem going into the ground:

Close up of bottom of stem

  • Have you kept it well watered? Are you in London UK? and how long has it been planted - it would be good to see the bottom end of the plant, where its in the ground, assuming it is in the ground and not a pot...
    – Bamboo
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 18:12
  • Yes, London UK. It was planted 3 weeks ago. In the ground. Will get some photos of the bottom in a moment. Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 18:23
  • Edited answer now has additional photos Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


Water shortage, I'd say; I, too, live in London, and only last Friday I had to run the sprinkler on the garden for an hour for some new planting because it was pretty dry. New plants need frequent and sufficient water, enough water to penetrate a rootball that goes down a good six inches below the soil - it will be some weeks before the plant puts out roots in other directions to seek its own water, so at the moment, its roots are still pot shaped. Its also been quite windy and that, too, dries the soil out.

Give it a couple of watering canfuls of water, applied directly at the base, or leave the hose trickling there for half an hour. We have not had enough rain to penetrate down six inches in the last week, so if the rootball was already dry, it will still be dry...

There is one other possibility, but it depends where the plant was when you bought it - if it was under cover, then cold nights might have damaged the newer leaves, but give it some water anyway - if its cold damage, it will recover.

Its hard to tell from the images, but it looks as if you've tied the plant tightly to that post, and the string you've used is tight against the post too - honeysuckle is a twining plant, and it needs to be able to wrap its stems round a support in order to climb. It doesn't look as if it can do that; if you want it growing up that post, perhaps wrap it in relatively loosely fixed clematis mesh instead, though honeysuckle does get very large - it will cover a 6 x 6 trellis section in fairly sort order. This particular variety (one of the more lovely ones in my estimation, by the way) ultimately gets 4-8 metres high by 1-1.5 wide.

  • 1
    My first reaction was "what's the problem here, that looks OK to me" - and these picture of new growth seem consistent with that: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/… commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/… This thing is tough as old boots, it will grow pretty much anywhere.
    – alephzero
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 19:36
  • The topsoil has not been moist a few times - I watered thoroughly then (whole can). Do you think this might still not be enough water? Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 19:41
  • @alephzero - do we have evidence that those are pictures of healthy plants? Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 19:43
  • 1
    Just water it - its not going to do it any harm...
    – Bamboo
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 19:48
  • Are you sure? I read some articles that suggest overwatering can also be bad, which got me worried... Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 19:50

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