Virtues: Bush honeysuckle is a summer-blooming shrub that grows easily in dry, shaded areas such as underneath trees. Its summer flowers provide food for bumblebees and other pollinators.
Common name: Bush honeysuckle
Botanical name: Diervilla lonicera
Exposure: Part shade or full shade
Season: Summer for flowers; fall for colorful foliage
Flowers: Tubular yellow flowers appear in summer. They look like honeysuckle flowers, hence the common name for this shrub, which is not related to true honeysuckle (Lonicera).
Foliage: Toothed green leaves cover bush honeysuckle from spring through summer. In fall the leaves turn red.
Habit: This is a deciduous shrub with arching or horizontal branches. It grows 2 to 3 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide. It spreads by rhizomes (underground stems) and it can form a large colony over time.
Origins: Diervilla lonicera is native to roughly the eastern half of North America, where it grows in dry woods.
How to grow bush honeysuckle: Site in part shade or full shade, in dry to medium, well-drained soil. More sunlight will encourage better fall foliage color. Because bush honeysuckle can spread to form a thicket, site it where this behavior is not unwelcome, such as on a dry slope or in shade where little else will grow. Drought tolerant. USDA Zones 3–7.
Image by Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org License: CC BY 3.0