Diervilla lonicera

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Robert Pavlis

This plant won’t win an award for its flowers, but it is a very versatile plant that grows well in sun, part shade, full shade, moist or very dry. It has a nice light green color all summer and gives a good red fall show. For a shade garden, it is a true competitor to hostas.

Diervilla lonicera;photo by Robert Pavlis
Diervilla lonicera;photo by Robert Pavlis

For an uncommon plant, Diervilla lonicera sure has a lot of common names including bush honeysuckle, low bush honeysuckle, northern bush honeysuckle dwarf bush honeysuckle, and yellow flowered upright honeysuckle. It is an Ontario native that is not very common in either the wild or the garden.

The small yellow flowers are protogynous, where the pistil matures before the pollen, and plants are self-sterile. It is host to the Fawn Sphinx Moth.

Diervilla lonicera;photo by Robert Pavlis
Diervilla lonicera;photo by Robert Pavlis

In full sun the plant grows and spreads quickly with suckers. In full shade it is a much slower growing shrub, but it seems happy in full shade under sugar maples. The species suckers even in shade, but a named cultivar grown from seed (Butterfly) suckers much less.

Microbe Science for Gardeners Book, by Robert Pavlis

Diervilla lonicera

(dy-er-VIL-uh  luh-NIS-er-a)

Life Cycle: shrub

Height: 120 cm (3 ft)

Bloom Time: mid-summer

Natural Range: Eastern North America

Habitat: dry rocky open woodland areas

Synonyms:  Diervilla diervilla, Diervilla lonicera var. hypolmalaca, Diervilla trifida,Diervilla canadensis, Lonicera diervilla

Cultivation of Diervilla lonicera:

Light: full sun to full shade

Soil: well drained

Water: medium to dry, tolerates drought

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3– 7

Propagation: suckers, cuttings, seed

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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

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