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European fly honeysuckle

Flowers of Clavey's dwarf honeysuckle.

European fly honeysuckle is a large, rounded shrub with arching branches and blue-to-gray green foliage. A popular, old-fashioned shrub used for hedges and screening.

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


Botanical name:

Lonicera xylosteum

All Common Names:

European fly honeysuckle

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Screen

Size Range:

  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Occasional drought,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil

Season of Interest:

  • Mid spring,
  • Late spring

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded,
  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:

Size & form

A rounded, spreading shrub with arching branches, reaching 8 to 10 feet high and 10 to 12 feet wide

Tree & Plant Care

Full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil
Old shrubs can be pruned to ground and started over.

Disease, pests, and problems

Honeysuckle aphid, plant bug, leaf spots, mildew

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Deer, black walnut toxicitiy

Native geographic location and habitat

Eastern and Western Siberia

Bark color and texture 

Gray, pubescent stems, pith is brown

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite, broadly elliptical to ovate, 1 to 2 1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide. Rounded base, slightly pubescent
Light gray-green changing to yellow green in fall

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Inconspicuous, whitish yellow flowers borne in pairs

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Dark red berry

Cultivars and related hybrids and their differences 

Clavey's Dwarf honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteoides 'Clavey's Dwarf'): a hybrid of European fly honeysuckle (Lonicera xlosteum)  and Tatarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatartica) reaching 6 feet high and wide.

Compact European fly-honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum 'Compacta'): Similar to species

Location of Lonicera xylosteum (European fly honeysuckle) at the Arboretum