Discover Diervilla: A Tough Shrub with Striking Beauty
There is a new plant appearing in North Dakota landscapes and it is grabbing a lot of attention. It's diervilla (Diervilla sessilifolia). I've never heard of it before—have you?
Originally considered nothing more than a tough shrub for riverbanks and roadsides, new selections of diervilla are generating excitement across the nation.
Michael Dirr, one of the most respected woody ornamentals experts in the USA, originally dismissed diervilla but now admits he was wrong. Start with First Editions® Cool Splash® (top photo). Dirr states Cool Splash® definitely has the “wow factor!” The creamy white and green variegated leaves are bright, clean and do not burn. Cool Splash® is hardy to Zone 3.
Proven Winners Kodiak™Orange diervilla is just as special but in a much different way. Its orange-red hues glow in fall (bottom photo) and rival the beauty of burning bush. It is hardy to Zone 4.
Diervilla has light yellow flowers that attract bees and butterflies in summer. It is a thick, suckering shrub that grows 3–4 feet high and spreads 4–5 feet wide. Diervilla seems well-suited to grow in masses in low-maintenance, naturalized settings. It is resistant to deer.
Dirr reports diervilla is a “tremendously tough” plant that is tolerant to winds and drought. This sounds great for us in North Dakota!
Cool Splash® can be planted in sun but is often used as an understory plant in partial shade, where its white leaf tones are bright and dramatic. It makes sense to plant Kodiak™Orange in full sun where it develops its optimal fall color.
Diervilla is a tough shrub with striking beauty. Look for these and other hardy selections of diervilla in the future.
Written by Tom Kalb, Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Photos courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc. and Proven Winners. This article was originally published in the NDSU Yard & Garden Report, September 2, 2015.
Source used for this article: Dirr, M.A, 2009. Manual of woody landscape plants. 6th ed. Stipes Publishing: Champaign, IL.