Plant of the Month for September, 2014

Diervilla lonicera header
Diervilla lonicera
(dy-er-VIL-uh  luh-NIS-er-a) 

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 colour all summer and gives a good red fall show. For a shade garden, it is a true competitor to hostas.

Diervilla lonicera 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 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. After 3 years in part shade in the author's garden, the plant has not started to sucker.

Life Cycle: shrub

Height: 120 cm (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


Light: full sun to full shade

Soil: well drained

Water: medium to dry, tolerates drought

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3– 7

Propagation: suckers, cuttings, seed

Seedex availability (ORG&HPS annual Seed Exchange): rarely

Requires light or the small seeds should be surface sown. See
Sow @ 20°C. Seed germinates within 3 months.
Robert Pavlis