Georgia bush-honeysuckle

Flowers of Georgia bush-honeysuckle, cultivar 'Morton' (Summer Stars).

Georgia bush-honeysuckle also called mountain bush-honeysuckle is a fast growing, eastern U.S. native found in the southern Appalachian Mountains in moist wooded areas and woodland edges. The mounding habit and arching stems produce small clusters of yellow trumpet blooms in July and August. New growth emerges with a  bronze-red foliage, which later turns green then to a lovely red in the fall.  Adapts to most soils and is drought tolerant when established.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Diervilla rivularis

All Common Names:

Georgia bush-honeysuckle, Georgia bush honeysuckle, mountain bush honeysuckle, hairy bush-honeysuckle, riverbank bush honeysuckle

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Alkaline soil,
  • Dry soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Season of Interest:

  • Late spring,
  • Early summer,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Yellow

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded,
  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Slow,
  • Moderate

More Information:

Size & form

A low growing, mounded shrub reaching 3 to 4 feet high and wide. 

Tree & Plant Care

Grows well in part shade to full sun. Found along wood edges.
Adaptable to wide range of soil pH but prefers soils with organic matter to retain moisture.
Does not tolerate wet soils but tolerant of dry soil once established.
Plants tend to sucker.
Benefits with a light layer of mulch to retain moisture.
Prune unwanted suckers.

Disease, pests, and problems

None serious.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Drought, deer resistant

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to eastern U.S..
Found along roadsides and moist wooded areas in southern Appalachian Mountains.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Bark color and texture 

Gray-brown twiggy stems.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite, 2 to 3 inch long, oblong leaves , pubescent on both top and bottom.
New foliage is a bronzy-red turning dark green and yellow-red in autumn.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Lemon-yellow, 1-inch long panicle (cymes) appear in late spring to mid-summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Dehiscent fruit capsule; not ornamentally important.

Cultivars and their differences 

Kodiak® Georgia bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla rivularis 'SMNDRSF') : A series of tough growing, 3 to 4 feet high and wide shrubs for sun or shade. Foliage is dark burgundy to red.

Summer Stars Georgia bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla rivularis 'Morton'): A Chicagoland Grows™ Introduction, compact habit reaching 3 to 4 feet high and wide. Dark green foliage, lemon-yellow summer flowers, wine red fall color.


Location of Diervilla rivularis (Georgia bush-honeysuckle) at the Arboretum