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TREES & plants

Bush-honeysuckle

Bush-honeysuckle in flower.

Bush-honeysuckle is a low-growing, fast-growing native shrub providing yellow flowers for several weeks in early summer.  reddish, young stems are 4-sided, contrasting with dark green leaves. This shrub is not a true honeysuckle.

"This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research."   

Botanical name: 
Diervilla lonicera
All Common Names: 
Bush-honeysuckle, Dwarf bushhoneysuckle, bush honeysuckle
Family (English): 
Bush-honeysuckle
Family (Botanic): 
Diervillaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • Foundation
  • Mixed border
Size Range: 
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Early summer
  • Mid summer
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Yellow
Shape or Form: 
  • Mounded
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Thicket-forming
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
More Information: 

Size and Form

A 3 to 5 feet high and wide, mounded shrub forming thickets.

Tree & Plant Care

A full sun to full shade shrub.
Best in well-drained, average soil.
Regular pruning should be done in late winter/early spring.
Tolerant of deer.

Disease, pests and problems

None serious; scale is an occasional problem.

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 9
Native to the upper Midwest and the Northeastern United States.

Bark color and texture 

Gray-brown bark peels into long, narrow strips.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite simple leaves, 2 to 4 inches long with finely toothed margins and pointed tip.
Dark green in summer; red in fall.

Flowers of bush-honeysuckle close-upBush-honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)photo: John Hagstrom

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Tubular yellow flowers, usually in groups of two of three.
Blooms heavily in July and August and then sporadically until frost.
Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Dry capsules; not ornamentally important.