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!
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.
The flowers are pretty, and hang down in clusters.
After the flowers are finished, the plant is adorned with lovely berries.
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!
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! 🙂
The plant still has character in the winter. Look at these stems:
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.
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.
What a lovely plant. The only winter character we have now are the bare branches of our apple trees.
Hi Karen, I bet those branches covered in snow look beautiful! 🙂
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
One of my fave shrubs…
Hi Bridget! I’m just late in figuring these things out! So glad I’m discovering them now, though. So many beautiful plants and trees to learn about! 🙂 Dana