Character in the garden with Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle)

Leycesteria formosa

Leycesteria formosa

Having something interesting to look at in the garden during the winter is something that most gardeners set out to achieve.  One plant that gives character to a garden throughout the summer and winter is the Leycesteria formosa, also known as Himalayan Honeysuckle or pheasant berry.  I hadn’t heard of, or taken notice of this lovely plant before seeing it in my friend Susan’s garden.  It’s funny what happens sometimes when you compliment someone’s garden … they just might share some of it with you!

A young Leycestria formosa plant

A young Leycestria formosa plant

When I first planted the Leycestria formosa, it appeared to be just a stem with some roots.  I was not sure how it was going to survive. Not only did it grow, but it has done well in my very windy garden.

Leycesteria formosa supported

Leycesteria formosa supported

The flowers are pretty, and hang down in clusters.

a cluster of drooping flowers

a cluster of drooping flowers

Still young Leycesteria formosa

Still young Leycesteria formosa

After the flowers are finished, the plant is adorned with lovely berries.

Berries late in season of Leycesteria formosa

Berries of Leycesteria formosa late in the season

While walking through a park in Dublin this past July, I noticed some mature Leycesteria formosa plants. They were beautiful and nearly as tall as me!

Mature plants in the park

Mature plants in the park

Close up in the park

Close up in the park

At the time, I was still unsure of the name so I appreciated the tag. For this post I’ve typed the name what feels like a hundred times so hopefully now I will remember it! 🙂

ID tag

ID tag

The plant still has character in the winter.  Look at these stems:

Close up of the stems

Close up of the stems

Winter garden

Winter garden

They remind me of bamboo.  The stems are hollow and can grow as tall as 6 feet (1.8 meter) in one season.  The plant grows in moist, fertile soil.  As for maintenance, it should be cut back to the ground in the spring.

Late summer garden

Late summer garden

The Leycesteria formosa is on the left in the full garden photo above.  I’m really happy with it and how it changes throughout the seasons.

Are there any plants that you like to share?  I was able to share some of my strawberry plants recently.  What a great feeling, especially knowing that they are appreciated. A special thank you goes to Susan who has shared so much of her garden with me!

I hope your garden has lots of winter character.
Dana

6 thoughts on “Character in the garden with Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle)

  1. Ha ha 🙂 flattery will get you everywhere! Glad it’s doing so well with you! I’ve started underplanting mine in the last couple of years with Hellebores. I just adore the colour combination of the green stems of the pheasant berry and that dark red/almost purple colour of the Hellebores. Even when not underplanted, the shrub has the most beautiful vase shape when it’s a little older. And i have seen birds (can’t remember which variety) zoning in on the berries. Isn’t it wonderful when something is both lovely and useful?!

    • Hi there Susan! I love how you’ve described the leycesteria formosa as having a vase shape – so true and so lovely! My Hellebores are not blooming at the moment (the only ones not, it seems). Oddly, they bloomed all summer. I really must feature your garden in one of my posts!!! One of these days 🙂 Thanks for visiting, my friend. Dana

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