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Plant Profile: Himalayan Honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa)

Leycesteria formosa Himalayan honeysuckleAlso called Himalaya nutmeg, flowering nutmeg, and pheasant berry, this deciduous thicket-forming shrub is a member of the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae) and native to woodlands in the Himalaya and southwestern China. The bamboo-like stems are upright, hallow, and sea green. They carry six inch long leaves that are dark green, tapered and ovate with wavy margins. In summer and early autumn delicate flowers attractive to humming birds are produced in four inch long pendulous terminal racemes. The flowers are small white and funnel-shaped but are mostly hidden by the claret-red bracts that subtend them. Red-purple berries beloved by birds follow later in autumn. Plants are considered invasive in Australia but have not been a problem in England or the  US. 
Type: Deciduous flowering shrub

Outstanding Feature: Flower, berries

Form: Round

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: Small delicate white flowers hidden by claret-red bracts in pendulous racemes in late summer and early autumn

Size: 6-8’ H x 6-8’ W

Light: Light shade

Soil: Average, moist, well-drained

Care: To encourage new growth that produces flowers cut out two-year-old stems after flowering back to a strong sideshoot or closed to the ground.

Hardiness: Zones 8-10

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Fresh seed in cold frames as soon as they ripen in late autumn; softwood cuttings in summer