Buddleias, known by most home gardeners as butterfly bush, are becoming an
increasingly popular plant in the home landscape, according to
horticulturist Dr. Allen Owings.
|The buddleias, or butterfly bush, is a treat to butterflies, who love its
nectar. Homeowners also like the fragrant bush to use for cut flowers.
These perennials are highly regarded by butterflies as a nectar plant.
"Butterfly bushes are becoming available in an increasing array of
sizes, flower colors and foliage," Owings says, adding, "They can be
used as cut flowers and have fragrant blossoms."
The horticulturist notes that Buddleias are winter hardy in Louisiana
but also can be used for annual color in the landscape if desired.
"The recent resurgence in buddleias at retail garden centers can
partially be attributed to new varieties being released over the past
10 years," Owings says, adding, "Many more new varieties are in the
Sungold and Honeycomb produce golden yellow flowers. Another newer
variety is Royal Red – but the flowers are not truly red – more of a
dark purplish. White, pink, blush and purple (with varying shades of
these colors) constitute the flower color availability in Buddleia
Site selection is somewhat important as it is with many other
ornamental plants. Many people have long thought of Buddleia as a
hardy herbaceous perennial, but it makes a significantly sized shrub.
Height can easily reach 8-10 feet with a 5-6 foot spread. Plants have
an arching type of growth habit.
Select a well-drained soil located in full or partial sun. Consider
the plants’ mature size when spacing between plants. Most people
plant butterfly bushes too close together. Most varieties need at
least 6-8 feet between plants, and most varieties are larger growing
than we realize and may need more space than this. Soil pH should be
in the 6.5-7.0 range. Fertilize at planting with a slow-release
fertilizer, such as StaGreen or Osmocote. Plants coming back numerous
years in the landscape can be fertilized once in the spring when new
growth commences. The main pest problem of Buddleias is spider mites.
Pruning plants back in the spring just prior to new growth will
encourage new growth, maintain a more manageable growth habit and
offer an opportunity to remove dead wood. New growth in the spring
yields the blooms that will start in May and go until first killing
frost. Tip pruning terminal shoots during the season also encourages
continual blooming through the season.
"Buddleias are one landscape plant that is well worth adding to your
landscape," Owings advises, noting that it has continual bloom, is
low maintenance and brings butterflies to the garden.