Dwarf Bush honeysuckle is a Wisconsin native landscape plant noted for its shrubby form, spreading habit, yellow trumpet-shaped flowers, and brilliant fall color. New foliage emerges in unusual tints of coppery green and bronze. The growth of new stems appears with a crimson tint. The complexity of colors is especially appealing when the Bush honeysuckle flowers. Small greenish-yellow buds appear in early June and open later in the month drawing in pollinators from far and wide. You may also know this as Northern Bushhoneysuckle.
Dwarf Bush honeysuckle is a low-growing, suckering shrub that is tolerant of a wide variety of soil types. This even includes sandy soils where the water table is high such as dunes near riverbanks or beaches. It can be grown in full sun but does best in light shade. In fall, its dark bronzy-green leaves turn into a brilliant display of orange, red, and bronze. This small, mound-shaped shrub will spread to form thickets over time, making it a good choice for massing, hedges, or shrub borders. Thanks to its vigorous root system and suckering habit, it is great for erosion control on slopes. This plant adapts well to urban conditions which makes it an excellent choice for foundation planting or along walls, fences, and walkways.
It should be noted that Dwarf Bush honeysuckle is not true honeysuckle. One way to distinguish between the native bush honeysuckle, and the invasive honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) Is by looking at the stems. Native bush honeysuckle have solid stems while the invasive honeysuckles, such as the Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) have hollow stems.
In early summer, pairs and trios of yellow, tube-like flowers provide a feast for nectar-seeking insects as well as hummingbirds. The floral banquet benefits butterflies, green sweat bees, leafcutter bees, and hummingbird moths, but the most important pollinators are bumblebees. Visitors include the Rusty-patched Bumblebee (Bombus affinis), Golden Sweat bee (Augochlorella aurata), Yellow-banded Bumblebee (Bombus terricola), Half-black Bumblebee (Bombus vagans), Orange-tipped Wood-digger bee (Anthophora terminalis), Megachile inermis, Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius), and Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme). It is a host plant for the Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis), Laurel Sphinx (Sphinx kalmiae), and Diervilla Clearwing (Hemaris aethra).
During winter, deer and moose are known to browse twigs and stems. In most cases, this will encourage branching and flushes of new growth. Thickets of the Dwarf Bush honeysuckle provide a nice, sturdy shelter for ground-nesting birds such as Killdeer, Timberdoodle, and Wilson’s snipe. Sharp-tailed Grouse also consume the buds and find cover within the shrub.
The fruit capsules persist to early winter and are desirable to many songbirds and other low-foraging critters.
This tough North American native is drought tolerant and adapts well to urban conditions. This allows Dwarf Bush honeysuckle to be planted in a plethora of locations. It performs best in full sun to part shade. We recommend watering well to establish new plantings. No follow-up care should be needed. However, if necessary, plantings may be renewed by cutting to the ground every few years in early spring.
If the plant is happy where it is, it will grow 1-2 feet a year. It’ll top out around 3-4 feet tall but will continue to sucker and grow laterally.
Dwarf Bush honeysuckle has no serious insect or disease problems. Common ornamental diseases such as Leaf Spot and Powdery Mildew may occur, but these issues are hardly worth mentioning.
The genus name Diervilla honors a French surgeon, botanist, and traveler by the name of Dr. Dière de Dièreville. He observed the plant with great interest in his travels to North America in 1699. Upon his return to France in 1700 he introduced the shrub to European culture, with the bush honeysuckle genus eventually being named in memory of him by French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort.
The specific epithet lonicera comes from its resemblance to true honeysuckle.
The name Honeysuckle also refers to the sweet-tasting nectar that must be sucked from their tiny, tubular flowers.
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Essentially we are a wholesale grower that welcomes the general public. Johnson’s Nursery provides Retail sales and Landscape design/build services from our Menomonee Falls headquarters. Our wholesale clientele of municipalities, landscape contractors, garden centers, and other nurseries can arrange to pick up material either in Menomonee Falls or our Jackson, WI Farm holding yards.
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These are rough guidelines and may speak generically to our broad customer mix. Not all possible situations are covered. How plants act may be unique to the conditions presented by your landscape. Your landscape should be inspected by a trained professional.