Lonicera xylosteum
Weedy and Potentially Invasive: Do Not Plant

Common Name: dwarf honeysuckle 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Native Range: Europe, Caucasus, Siberia, China
Zone: 4 to 6
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Yellowish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Black Walnut
This plant has been found to be weedy and potentially invasive and should not be planted in Midwestern gardens.


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 3 where it is easily grown in humusy, organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. This shrub thrives in full sun locations in cool summer climates, but prefers some part afternoon shade near the southern edge of its growing range. It is not recommended for growing south of USDA Zone 6. Plants have some drought tolerance one established. Prune as needed immediately after flowering. Propagate by rooted stem cuttings. Tolerant of poor soils, disturbed growing conditions, urban pollution and winter salt spray.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lonicera xylosteum, commonly called European fly honeysuckle, is a mounding, rapid-growing, deciduous shrub that matures on arching, hollow, pubescent, brown stems to 6-10’ tall with a slightly wider spread to 10-12’ wide. It is native to most of Europe east through certain parts of temperate Asia (Caucasus, Turkey, Siberia, China). It has escaped gardens and naturalized throughout much of the northeastern quarter of the continental U.S. from New England to Minnesota south to Kansas and Virginia plus the Pacific Northwest. Pubescent, short-stalked, broad-elliptic to ovate or obovate leaves (to 2 1/ 2” long) emerge silver-green in early spring, but mature to gray-green or blue-green. Leaves retain good green color late into fall (no fall color other than a few purple tinges). Yellowish-white flowers (to 5/8” long) borne in pairs bloom in late spring (May-early June). Flowers are often tinged with red. Flowers are followed by dark red berries which ripen in July-August. Berries lack ornamental attractiveness.

Genus name honors Adam Lonitzer (1528-1586), German botanist, the author of an herbal (Kreuterbuch) many times reprinted between 1557 and 1783.

Specific epithet probably comes from the Greek word xylon meaning wood in possible reference to the plant’s woody stems.

Flowers of most species of honeysuckle are pollinated by bumblebees, but the flowers of this species are pollinated by flies, hence the common name.


No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew and leaf spot may occur, particularly in hot and humid summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Watch for honeysuckle aphids and scale.


Generally a dense, vigorous low maintenance shrub for cool summer climates. Group or mass in informal areas. Foundations. Borders. Hedge. Screen. Woodland gardens. Slopes or banks.