Content Detail

Bush-honeysuckle is a low-growing, fast-growing native shrub providing yellow flowers for several weeks in early summer. Reddish young stems are four-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.

  • Family (English) Bush-honeysuckle
  • Family (botanic) Diervillaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Low-growing shrub (under 3 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 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Mounded, Multi-stemmed, Thicket-forming
  • Growth rate Fast

Native geographic location and habitat:

C-Value: 9. It is 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:

It has opposite simple leaves, 2 to 4 inches long with finely toothed margins and pointed tips. Leaves are dark green in the summer and red in the fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

This plant has tubular yellow flowers, usually in groups of two or three. It blooms heavily in July and August and then sporadically until frost and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The fruit is a dry capsule which is not ornamentally important.

Plant care:

Bush-honeysuckle is tolerant of full sun to full shade. It does best in well-drained, average soils. Regular pruning should be done in late winter/early spring. Pruning the suckers will keep the shrub within bounds.

Disease, pests and problems:

No serious pests or diseases are noted. Scale is an  occasional problem. Deer tolerant. 


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift