Butterfly bush really earns its name each summer and fall today on Southern Gardening.
Butterfly bush has a loose growing habit that should never be contained by pruning. Known botanically as Buddleja, the flowers are sweetly fragrant clusters of tiny blooms in various shades of white, blue, purple, pink, red, and even yellow. The flowers are displayed on arching graceful stems. Butterflies love these flowers. Plant in the full sun for best flowering as shade will reduce flowering and the plant will become thin and leggy. Butterfly bush is tolerant of really any soil type as long as it’s well drained. Fertilize sparingly, over fertilization can reduce winter hardiness. Butterfly bush tolerates hot, dry weather, but water deeply a couple of times a month during droughty weather. Treat Butterfly bush like a flowering perennial. When new shoots start to appear in the late spring, prune last year’s growth back to about 6 inches from the ground. This will encourage new growth as the flowers are produced on new wood. Deadheading will help side shoots develop larger flower heads. Butterfly bush has few pests, but may get spider mites. Use the hose and give the foliage a hard spray to discourage the pests. Use insecticides with care as you don’t want to harm the butterflies the plant is bringing to your yard. Butterfly bushes are beautiful and easy to grow. They take hot and dry weather and keep the butterflies coming to your garden.
I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.