Honeysuckle Leaves Turning Yellow

Honeysuckle Leaves Turning Yellow

Yellowing of honeysuckle leaves is a sign that the plant is suffering stress caused by an environmental factor. The first step to recovery is correctly identifying the source of the leaf discoloration.

The most common causes of honeysuckle leaf yellowing are chlorosis, canker disease, leaf blight, underwatering, leaf scorch, scale insects and insufficient light.

In this article, we will discuss the different causes of yellowing honeysuckle leaves and how to remedy each one.

Why are my honeysuckle leaves turning yellow?


Chlorosis is the yellowing of leaves on a plant, often caused by a nutrient deficiency. The most likely culprit in this situation is a lack of nitrogen. Plants need nitrogen for growth and a lack of this element causes a yellowing of leaves on the honeysuckle vine. The leaves will look faded and spotted, and then turn yellow and wilt. The longer the chlorosis is left unchecked, the more deficient the plant becomes, resulting in stunted growth and die-back.

The symptoms of chlorosis mirror a lot of those seen in underwatering, so if you know that you are diligent in watering your plant yet it still has these symptoms, then chlorosis is the likely cause.

Treat nitrogen deficiency by sticking to a feeding schedule. Use fertilizer that is organic and slow-release so that the vine does not get too much nitrogen either. The rate at which the plant receives nitrogen should be just right.

Canker disease

Canker disease is caused by a fungus which can affect honeysuckle. It causes the leaves of the plant to turn yellow and brown. You may also see black spots appear on the leaves before they finally wilt and fall off. If left untreated, canker disease will spread to other parts of the vine and the plant will die. You can control the disease by cutting off the affected parts of the vine.

Leaf blight

Leaf blight, caused by the fungus Insolibasidium deformans, is a disease that affects honeysuckle vines. If your plant has this disease you will notice curling and crinkling of young leaves in the spring. The leaves will turn yellow and brown, with brown lesions and yellow edges. There will also be spore-producing structures on the underside of the leaf, called basidia. If your plant is healthy, leaf blight does not really pose a huge threat to its overall well-being.

You can control leaf blight by cutting off and destroying the infected leaves and branches of the vine. Remove any fallen debris from the soil around the plant as well, since it might be carrying the fungus. You can apply fungicide with copper and mancozeb every spring to prevent severe cases of leaf blight.

Leaf scorch

Leaf scorch is another cause of yellowing honeysuckle leaves. It happens when the plant is exposed to too much sun. Certain mineral deficiencies can also cause leaf scorch, as can salt and boron toxicities.

Symptoms of leaf scorch include yellowing and browning of the leaves along their tips and margins. The leaves may curl up and drop early. However, leaf scorch does not mean your plant is going to die, especially if it is relatively healthy to begin with. As long as you keep the plant in good living conditions, it should be able to control or prevent leaf scorch.

Scale insects

Scale insect infestations can be hard to detect, but one of the most telling signs is the yellowing of your honeysuckle leaves. These pests can also leave white rings when you rub the bark or foliage. Other symptoms of scale insect infestation include die-back, premature leaf drop, and mold buildup caused by the honeydew that the scale insects secrete.

Scale insects suck the sap from the tissue of the leaves, which weakens the plant and makes it susceptible to all kinds of pathogens.

You can prevent scale insect infestation by making sure you do not over-fertilize, and by avoiding any damage to the plant to keep it healthy. Give the plant water when it needs it and make sure it gets enough sunlight.

To control a scale insect infestation, cut off any infested parts of the plant and treat it with neem oil or insecticidal soap. Try not to use chemical insecticides unless the infestations have become too severe and are affecting the plant’s overall health.


Another cause of yellowing honeysuckle leaves is drought. The natural habitat of honeysuckle is woodlands, which have soil rich in organic material. They are constantly surrounded by decomposing leaves that retain soil moisture very well. They also make the soil porous, so that any excess water is able to drain away easily.

Honeysuckle planted too close to a wall or fence can suffer from drought because the structure keeps rain or moisture of any kind from reaching the plant’s soil.

If the soil that you use is too sandy and stony, it may not retain moisture very well because it drains too quickly. As mentioned above, honeysuckle likes its soil to be moisture retentive, but not to the point that the soil is soggy, as soggy soil causes plant roots to rot.

If the base of the honeysuckle is in the sun, this can also dry out the soil. Keep the base of the plant in the shade to keep the roots cool and able to retain moisture. The vines are fine being kept in the sun, as this encourages flowering.

Protect your honeysuckle from drought by watering it regularly in the warmer months. Soak the plant’s roots generously once a week to encourage them to establish; this will help the plant even more against drought in the future. Simulate the honeysuckle’s natural habitat by adding an inch of mulch around the base of the plant. This will help conserve the moisture in the soil and add nutrients to help the plant recover.

Insufficient light

Honeysuckle likes its roots to be in the shade but its vines in the sun. Sunlight helps promote flowering, and being a vine makes it easy for the plant to seek out light sources by literally growing toward them. If you place the entire plant in the shade, the plant will not die, but it can cause the leaves to turn yellow and drop off.

Place the plant in an area where its base can get shade while the rest of the plant gets ample sunlight so that it can bloom properly.


Honeysuckle leaves turn yellow when there is an environmental factor negatively affecting the plant and causing it stress. You need to be able to identify the precise reason your honeysuckle’s leaves are turning yellow in order to solve the problem.

The most common causes of honeysuckle leaf yellowing are chlorosis, canker disease, leaf blight, underwatering, leaf scorch, scale insects and insufficient light.

Image: istockphoto.com / krblokhin