Thanks I bet you had never heard of Diervilla until now. I certainly hadn't! It's one of those 'invisible plants', oft used in landscaping schemes. Verges, kerbs, the type of borders you don't look twice at. However, it turns out that it's one of the most bee friendly plants you'll find. But, it took a change of colour to get itself noticed! Introducing Diervilla 'Honeybee'.
Diervilla 'Honeybee' also says what it does on the tin! Yes, it attracts bees, and they love it! The 'Bush Honeysuckle', as it's so called, is one of the most nectar-rich plants a gardener can grow.
How was this plant created?
As with many new plants, it is a keen eye and a chance moment that led to it being found. Nurseryman William de Bruijn had been growing the mostly unremarkable looking Diervilla rivularis for many years on his nursery. But, one day, it was as if somebody has mislaid their torch amongst the plants. He spotted 2 different mutations, one with marbled green and gold foliage, and another with completely GOLDEN foliage. It was all a bit crazy!
William had to remove the stems to propagate them. Mutations do not always come 'true', and may change back to the original coloured plant in some cases. The marbled stem was different to 'fix' in this way, and kept turning back to green. It was a disappointment for William.
However, the gold bullion stem was a-ok! It rooted well, and the new growth was golden. He had - literally - hit the jackpot with this plant!
Having a golden-leaved plant wouldn't be the smoothest journey though, yellow-leaved plants weren't not favoured much in Europe, certainly not as much as in some US markets. However, this plant had a secret weapon. It was a bee magnet!
What’s different about this plant?
The golden foliage of Diervilla 'Honeybee' sets it apart from all others in that family. The colour offers an extension to the plant display in your garden. Those plants with coloured foliage are blooming good value, as they give interest even when the flowers are not present! The rich sweet nectar of 'Honeybee' is welcomed by gardeners too. Not only if conservation of bees, butterflies and beneficial insects important to the environment, but it also helps your own back garden eco-system, improving crops of fruit and vegetables, and gives you more flowers for longer!
Where can you plant Diervilla 'Honeybee'?
Incredibly versatile, Diervilla can be grown in any well-drained soil. Ideally, provide a sunny border, but it'll enjoy some shade too. Diervilla 'Honeybee' is low growing, and works well as a border shrub, perhaps flanking a pathway. Somewhere you want to bring the bees and butterflies for sure - they will soon be buzzing about!
Where can you buy this plant?
Plants are available in garden centres across Europe, or by mail order from here in the UK or here in the USA.
How to grow Diervilla 'Honeybee':
Flowering time: May to June
Location: Borders, patio pots
Soil: Any well-drained soil
Hardy: Survives down to -15C!
Care: Prune after flowering, just to keep shape and tidy up!
Size: 90cm (36”) high x 120cm (48”) in spread
Plant of the Month is sponsored by Plantipp, a company based in The Netherlands who handle the introduction of new plants into Europe (with Concept Plants doing the same job in North America). Diervilla 'Honeybee' was selected by William de Bruijn of Heesters.
It can actually be quite easy to spot new plants, as nature often does the breeding work for you! Natural variation is referred to as a ‘sport’, or you may find a new hybrid has appeared in your garden by itself. To hunt down these new plants, it’s all about noticing differences. Make sure you take time out to get to know the plants in your garden, and if any seem different to the norm, let me know!
See every Plant of the Month here.