Content Detail

Southern bush-honeysuckle is a vigorous, 3 to 5 feet high, spreading shrub with rich green foliage that turns purplish in the fall. The 2 to 3 inch diameter sulfur-yellow flowers appear in mid-summer. The suckering nature of the plant can form colonies making it ideal as a mass planting or used to stabilize a slope.

  • Family (English) bush-honeysuckle
  • Family (botanic) Diervillaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale 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 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances clay soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Mounded, Thicket-forming
  • Growth rate Moderate, Slow

Size and form:

Southern bush-honeysuckle is a low growing, mounded shrub reaching 3 to 5 feet high and spreading by suckers up to 5 feet wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to the southeastern United States. Forms thickets along stream banks and sides of mountains in North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

Attracts birds and butterflies:

Flowers attract butterflies. 

Bark color and texture:

Southern bush-honeysuckle has gray-brown twiggy stems.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

This shrub has opposite, 2 to 3 inch long, oblong, glossy dark green foliage. There is minimal reddish-purple fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

It produces sulfur-yellow 1/2  inch long flowers in 2 to 3 inch diameter clusters at ends of branches.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The many seeded capsule is two-chambered.

Plant Care:

Southern bush-honeysuckle grows well in part shade to full sun and, although it is adaptable to a wide range of soil pH, it prefers moist, well-drained soils. It does not tolerate heavy, wet soils. This shrub should be pruned in spring to control size. It is thicket-forming along stream banks and slopes.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

There aren’t any serious problems. It is drought and wind tolerant and deer resistant.

Butterfly™ southern bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla sessifolia ‘Butterfly’):

This cultivar grows 3 to 5 feet high and produces deep yellow flowers. The glossy, dark green foliage turns purple in fall.

Cool Splash™ southern bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla sessifolia ‘LPDC Podaras’):

This 2 to 4 feet high and wide cultivar has creamy-white and green variegated foliage.

Related Hybrid

Hybrid bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla x splendens):

A cross between Diervilla sessilifolia and Diervilla lonicera. A medium-sized, rounded shrub reaching 5 to 6 feet high and 4 to 5 feet wide with sulphur-yellow flowers in summer.


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