Naturally honeysuckles are ancient, long-grown plants and the native honeysuckle that you will find scrambling through hedgerows and in scrubby woods is also called the woodbine. They have a most distinctive flower.
To most gardeners honeysuckle is represented by a handful of scented climbers, but in fact it is a much larger genus. As well as the better-known climbers there are also many shrubby species. These generally have the same shape of flower as the climbers but they are usually much smaller and not scented. There are some scented shrubs including the winter-flowering ones which are well worth growing.
Not all the climbers are scented and it is worth checking before you buy if fragrance is important to you. The climbing varieties are all self-supporting and tightly twine up their host whether it is a pole or another plant. Their twisting stems grip so tightly that they can stunt the growth of any trees they grow up, so choose a mature tree rather than a young one to grow them up.
The stems can become a tangled mass and eventually it may be necessary to prune out some of the older and dead wood, but generally in an informal position, at least, they can be left to their own devices.
The climbers will grow in full sun but are better if the base is in shade. They also do best if the soil has plenty of humus in it so that it retains moisture. A combination of dry soil and hot sun encourages greenfly to feed on them producing stunted growth and sticky honeydew everywhere.