Common Name: Bush honeysuckle
Hardiness Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 3 to 4 ft
Width: 4 to 6 ft
Bush honeysuckle is a multi-stemmed fast-growing deciduous shrub. It is NOT invasive like some other honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), but it is also not a true honeysuckle. They have a rounded, mounded shape and have a spreading growth habit. The bark is gray-brown and peels into long, narrow strips. Young stems are 4-sided and are reddish in color. New leaves develop in the spring and are dark red and then change to green in the summer. They have an opposite arrangement and are simple with finely serrated margins and pointed tips. In the fall, the leaves turn yellow-orange then red or purple. Clusters of small, non-fragrant, tubular orange or red flowers bloom throughout the summer with most blooms occurring in June and July and then sporadically until the first frost. Small, non-ornamental seed capsules containing seeds mature from July to September.
Where it Grows:
Bush honeysuckle performs best and has the most vibrant fall colors in full sun and cool summer climates. It does tolerate partial shade. It grows in a wide range of soil types including poor, rocky soils and excessively drained and dry soils. This shrub is tolerant of drought and salt. Prune as needed right after flowering.
How it's Used:
This shrub can be used for a small hedge, shrub borders. It can also naturalize woodlands gardens or areas where it can form colonies to help with soil stabilization and erosion control.
The flowers attract hummingbirds, bumblebees, moths, and butterflies.
Where it is Native to:
It is native to the upper Midwest and Northeastern United States and Canada.
Known Varieties and Their Traits:
- Northern bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera) - a Minnesota native whose range extends from Newfoundland to Georgia and west to Saskatchewan and Alabama; hardy to zone 3
- Southern bush honeysuckle (D. sessilifolia) - native to North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama; hardy to zone 4
- ‘Butterfly’ - no variegated foliage; extended bloom period
- ‘First Edition® Cool Splash®’ - variegated foliage; no extended bloom period
No serious disease or pest issues. Leaf spot and powdery mildew may occur.
'Bush Honeysuckle'. University of Minnesota Extension. Found online: https://extension.umn.edu/trees-and-shrubs/bush-honeysuckle
'Diervilla lonicera'. Missouri Botanical Garden. Found online: https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=278946&isprofile=1&basic=bush%20honeysuckle
'Bush-honeysuckle'. The Morton Arboretum. Found online: https://mortonarb.org/plant-and-protect/trees-and-plants/bush-honeysuckle/#overview