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A blue butterfly plant is true blue
If you’re like me and constantly looking for true blue flowers, you will want to be sure to make a place in your garden for the blue butterfly plant.
I enjoy spring, when greenhouses and garden centers start offering all sorts of new and exciting plants for our Mississippi landscapes and gardens. I’m always on the lookout for blue flowers to include in the landscape.
True blue flowers can be hard to find. I get disappointed each spring reading gardening catalogs, which sometimes stretch color descriptions so much that violet, purple and every variation in between is considered blue.
Blue butterfly plant comes from the tropical regions of east Africa in Kenya and Uganda and is known botanically as Clerodendrum ugandense. Blue butterfly plants have intricate flowers that actually resemble little blue butterflies in flight.
The flowers are arranged in multiples on long, arching branches. Individual flowers are about an inch in diameter, with several pale blue lobes and a single dark blue-violet lobe. I like the way the stamens and pistil arch out and upward, resembling a butterfly’s antennae.
Blue butterfly plant should be planted in the landscape in full sun to partial shade. They need consistent soil moisture during the hot summer months. In the winter months, especially in the coastal region, reduce the frequency of watering to lessen the chances of crown rot problems developing.
This plant will have an open and airy growth habit and will produce flowers on the current season’s growth. This is a good attribute, since blue butterfly plants can become gangly, potentially getting upwards of 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Prune at any time to keep the plant neat and tidy. This will not negatively impact flowering and, in fact, may promote flowering.
Blue butterfly plant is a versatile plant that is at home as a specimen focal point or as a member of the mixed flowering border. This plant will flower from planting to the first frost in the fall.
Though blue butterfly plant is considered tropical, it can tolerate cooler conditions and is root hardy down to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. For most gardens in Mississippi, this plant will return from the roots, like many of our other perennial plants. For the best year-round performance in Mississippi, grow in a large container that can be protected during freezing weather.
Blue butterfly plant is sure to attract interest wherever it is grown. It very easily propagates from stem or root cuttings, making it a perfect plant to share with your gardening neighbors.