Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
One plant that really enjoys the cooling fall temperatures is butterfly bush today on Southern Gardening.
Butterfly bush is a great selection for our Mississippi gardens and landscapes because it tolerates our hot and humid summers including the inevitable droughty spells. Typically butterfly bush can be a rather large plant in the landscape; it’s not unusual for some of the species selections to be bigger than six foot tall and wide by the end of summer. And there’s nothing wrong with that as I’ve grown big and beautiful butterfly bushes in my landscapes as we have moved around the country. But I’ve got to let you in on a newer trend to hit the gardening market; dwarf compact growing butterfly bushes like the Flutterby Petite with dense branching and flowering all summer long. These plants are perfect for ground cover use, small gardens, and containers. And I never thought butterfly bushes could be used as a thriller plant in a combination container. Colors include fuchsia-pink Tutti Frutti, Pink and purple-blue Blue Heaven. My wife and I are currently growing a Tutti Frutti in a large container and have not pruned at all, not even deadheading, and this plant is still flowering in November. A special treat is the scented foliage.
One last thing to remember for next spring, butterfly bushes are one of the last plants to wake up. I get quite a few calls each spring with homeowners asking if their butterfly bushes are dead. My advice is to wait. I haven’t lost a patient yet. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.