Horticultural Heirloom: Kintzley’s Ghost®Honeysuckle

Lonicera reticulata Plant Select

This stunning ornamental vine caught the eye of Scott Skogerboe (Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery) in 2001 while driving down a side street in old town Fort Collins, CO. At first glance it looked like a silver dollar eucalyptus because it was covered abundantly with silver-dollar sized white disks. He slammed on his brakes in order to get a closer look. Fascinated and curious, he went to the door and an elderly gentleman answered and told the tale of this unusual beauty. He said it was a family heirloom. In the 1880’s, the man’s grandfather, William “Ped” Kintzley, had worked in the greenhouses at Iowa State University (then college) and found this unusual form. He propagated it himself, and over the years, gave plants as gifts to members of the Kintzley family throughout the country.

The vine was discovered to be an improved selection of the species. Although the showy, tubular yellow flowers aren’t fragrant, they cover the vine in June. Each flower is surrounded by a large perfectly circular pure white bract. Amazingly, this bract holds its color throughout the summer into the fall before eventually fading. Other than to the Kintzley family, this plant is new to the world of horticulture, and it is sure to be a winner.

View the plant profile here.

Kintzley’s Ghost® Honeysuckle (Lonicera reticulata, L. prolifera)

Perennial vine
Height: 8-12′
Width: 3-6′
Blooms: Flowers in June, showy bracts through fall
Sun: Full sun to partial shade
Soil moisture: Moderate to dry
Hardiness: USDA zones 4-8
Culture: Garden loam

31 responses to “Horticultural Heirloom: Kintzley’s Ghost®Honeysuckle”

  1. Karen Capillupo says:

    Am interested in ordering ghost honeysuckle now or for spring planting in Spokane, Wa.

  2. Karen Capillupo says:

    I checked all of the recommended websites. Only one recognized the Kintzley’s ghost lonicera a and it was out of stock. Help!

    • Pat Hayward says:

      Let us know where you’re located – it should be available next spring, but might be in limited quantities.

      • Bevin says:

        Hi Pat – I am in Denver and would love to add Kintzley’s Ghost to my garden this spring. Any idea where I can get it? Thank you for your help.

        • Pat Hayward says:

          Unfortunately fewer growers are producing it than in years’ past, but I do know that Fort Collins Wholesale and Little Valley WHolesale Nurseries are producing it, so hopefully you’ll be able to find it at some of our member garden centers listed in the “WHere to Buy” section of this site. Call around before heading out, though.

        • Anonymous Gardener says:

          I just saw some for sale today at Fort Collins Nursery.

  3. Kristen says:

    I just bought one at THE TREE FARM in Longmont last weekend. 29 dollars. Quart pot.

  4. […] ‘Kinztley’s Ghost’ honeysuckle, ‘Pawnee Buttes’ sandcherry, moon carrot”—lacy silvery-blue foliage topped by flat clusters […]

    • linda sparks says:

      i brought a plant home with me to wisconsin 2 years ago from ft. collins, CO., and this plant is my show piece! no one here has ever seen such an interesting plant. so now, i know of 2 healthy plants in appleton, wisconsin, thanks to ross shrigley from plant select!!

  5. Sharon Wink says:

    Kinsley’s Ghost was originally found on the grave of Emmet Kinsley in Ames, Iowa. Emmet’s father, William or “Ped” was a horticulturist working to develop apple trees with the agricultural college in Ames. A relative did bring a planting of Kinsley’s Ghost to Fort Collins years ago. I remember meeting “Ped” as a child when visiting other Iowa relatives. He was a gracious man with red hair – that’s where my mom got the red/auburn in her hair. You see, “Ped” Kinsley was my great-grandfather. P.S. We have two Kinsley’s Ghost plants in our backyard.

    • Ben Bertrand says:

      I first encountered this plant at the Jordan Water Conservatory here in Salt Lake City, Utah in July 2019. I absolutely love it! But I cannot find it anywhere. And I’m originally from Iowa, so this plant is all the more special to me. Looks like I’ll have to head to Colorado.

  6. Stephanie Bartis says:

    i’m interested in ordering one of these. Do you have any available?

  7. Sharon Wink says:

    William “Ped” Kintzley was my great-grandfather. He worked for or with the agricultural college in Ames, Iowa developing apple trees. The story we know is that one of his sons, Emmet, died at a young age and the plant, Kintzley’s Ghost was found on Emmet’s grave. As a young girl, (I am now over 80) I met “Ped”. He was a gracious man with red hair. My mom had beautiful auburn hair, certainly a gift from her grandfather. As an family heirloom we have the diploma of Agnes Kintzley from Pocahontas County Iowa certifying that she could teach in the Iowa Public Schools. It is dated March 1,1900. Another interesting Kintzley relative made a living selling rattlesnake venom he milked from snakes in the Fort Collins area. Who knows, maybe he transported the first Kintzley’s Ghost west. We have two Kintzley’s Ghost plant in our backyard and our daughters have cuttings growing at their homes.

  8. Jim says:

    Try High Country Gardens.

  9. Barbara says:

    I want this plant sooo badly, I’m tempted to pay outrageous online prices, but I’m not sure whether it would survive in a good-sized container, and what time of year to plant it (Zone 4b).

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      Must be planted in a very large container to survive these unpredictable winters. Kintzley’s Ghost are honestly worth the high price.

  10. Siiri Cressey says:

    There is one of these outside my cousin’s house. It’s been there since at least the 1940’s. I can send a picture if you want it.

  11. Frank kinder says:

    Does it have any fruit?

  12. Lidia Gray says:

    I found a Kintzley Ghost Honeysuckle in a Garden City Ks. nursery probably 15 years ago. It was the only one there so I bought it and planted it where it’s happily been growing since. I feel lucky I found it and had the good sense to buy it. I love it!

  13. Kenneth Hayes says:

    I have one growing in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, zone 4. It’s a joy.

  14. Betsy Dunbar says:

    I have one growing happily in western Colorado…..it’s gorgeous and showy……..and north-facing.

  15. We have had ours for ten to fifteen years, purchased at the Iowa Arboretum Auction when it was first reintroduced to the market. Since then we have been offering it in our Nursery here in Iowa. It is a great plant and lives up to any hype you may here about it. We actually dug ours up five years ago to move to our current location and it is doing great.

  16. Renee Ozer says:

    Got mine from High Country Gardens. Moved, leaving a happy one behind in the Old North End of Colorado Springs, and ordered another this spring from High Country Gardens (quantities limited to one). Planted this one facing north, and it’s very happy. Signed up to get notified when they’re again available.

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