Information About Butterfly Bush
Butterfly Bush Container Growing – How To Grow Buddleia In A Pot
By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Can I grow a butterfly bush in a container? The answer is yes, you can - with caveats. Growing a butterfly bush in a pot is very possible if you can provide this vigorous shrub with a very large pot. If this sounds like something you?d like to try, click here for more info.
My Butterfly Bush Looks Dead – How To Revive A Butterfly Bush
By Liz Baessler
Butterfly bushes should be able to survive winter in USDA zones 5 through 10. Sometimes they have a harder time coming back, however. Find out what to do if your butterfly bush is not coming back in the spring in this article and how to revive it.
Butterfly Bush Diseases – Treating Diseases Of Butterfly Bush
By Liz Baessler
Butterfly bush is a relatively trouble free plant to have in the garden. That being said, there are a few buddleia diseases you ought to look out for if you want your plant to be as healthy as it can be. Click this article to learn more about butterfly bush disease problems.
Butterfly Bush Varieties: Kinds Of Butterfly Bushes To Grow
By Teo Spengler
Attractive garden plants in cold, medium and warm zones, there are butterfly bush varieties that would work well in nearly any region. For more information on different kinds of butterfly bushes, click on the following article.
BUTTERFLY BUSH CARE
Butterfly bush are easy to grow, but you do need to know a bit about their preferences and requirements to achieve maximum success.
- Butterfly bush need full sun. When we say full sun, we mean it – butterfly bush require a minimum of 8 hours of bright sunlight. Even in warm climates, plant them where they get no fewer than 6 hours of sun.
Butterfly bush need perfect drainage. Their roots are sensitive to rotting, and if they spend any amount of time in wet soil, they can be set back or even die. Most of the time, if you lose a butterfly bush after winter, it wasn’t due to low temperatures or snow or ice – it was because the plant sat in cold, wet soil in fall or spring.
Butterfly bush can grow in clay soil, but require a few special accommodations. Because they need good drainage and dislike cold wet conditions, there are a few tips that will increase your success with butterfly bush if you have clay soil:
- Never amend the soil. Don’t add top soil, potting soil, compost or anything at planting time. Plant directly into your natural soil. This is true for all shrubs, but is even more important with butterfly bush, as amending any soil, and particularly clay soil, can cause drainage problems.
Plant “high” – instead of positioning the plant even with the ground level like you would other plants, dig a slightly shallower hole (yep, that means less work!) and position it so that the base of the plant is a bit higher than the ground. This creates a small “hill” that encourages water to drain away from the plant rather than settle around it.
But do prune your butterfly bush. Left unpruned, large butterfly bushes can become “second story” plants: their flowers form way up at the top so you can’t enjoy them unless you have a second story window. The warmer your climate, the more you should cut back your butterfly bush each spring. Even dwarf varieties like our Lo & Behold ® series still need pruning – you’ll just be cutting back less than you would on a variety that reaches 8’ tall.
Be patient. Butterfly bushes tend to be one of the later plants to leaf out in spring. Even if everything else in your landscape is turning green, that doesn’t mean you’ve lost your butterfly bush. Many people recommend waiting til as late as Father’s Day (the third Sunday in June) to be certain their butterfly bush perished. It can be very surprising to see how quickly a butterfly bush can recover, even if it takes that long to come back! Learn more about this phenomenon in our article, Plants that Push the Snooze Button on Spring.
Don’t overwater. Particularly if you have clay soil, watch watering carefully. If you have an irrigation system, be sure it’s not inundating your butterfly bush. Signs of overwatering include weak stems, fewer flowers, and dieback.
Avoid fall planting. Because butterfly bush may get a bit of winter damage in cold climates, it’s best to give them as long a time as possible to get established before they face the challenges of the cold, wet season. In USDA zones 5 and 6 especially, keep butterfly bush planting time to spring through mid-summer so the plants have ample opportunity to develop a good root system to sustain them through winter.
Every well dressed garden needs a bit of jewelry. Butterflies are jewels in the garden. They add an extra layer of delight. Sun reflects and sparkles on iridescent, colorful wings as they flutter above garden plants. Their flight is a glittery dance. Invite butterflies in and encourage them to stay.
Send butterflies a loud and clear invitation by planting butterfly-friendly flowers in your garden. Ask them to become long-term residents by providing food and shelter for them.
“Turn your garden into a butterfly factory,” said Kristen Gilpin, curator of BioWorks Butterfly Garden near Tampa, Florida.
Butterflies have four stages of life. Adults lay eggs on host plants. Eggs become caterpillars and eventually morph into pupa surrounded by a cocoon. To create a butterfly factory in your garden, meet the needs of the butterfly during each stage of life.
Adult butterflies feed on nectar. Treat them like the extra special guests they are by planting flowers with a tubular shape.
“Tubular flowers hold more nectar and hold it more deeply,” said Gilpin, “Color isn’t terribly important. Planting a wide variety of flowers is.”
Planting flowers that will bloom at different times will provide a steady stream of food to butterflies in your garden. They like big flower heads or grouping of flowers. Butterflies flock to favorites like Coneflower, Monarda Bee Balm and Butterfly Bush They love Solidago and Aster.
“Butterflies also need shelter. Shrubs and tall grasses are good shelters,” said Gilpin.
Different butterflies are attracted to different flowers. Monarchs will only feed on Asclepias Butterfly Weed or Milkweed. Painted lady butterflies thrive on hollyhock and thistle. Eastern Black Swallowtail loves Rudbeckia Black Eyed Susan and Buttonbush.
Once the adults are comfortable, they lay their eggs on leaves. The eggs become caterpillars. The caterpillars eat plants in order to grow into the pupa stage.
“Garden for you and your butterflies at the same time,“ said Gilpin.
Plants please us with their beauty while pleasing caterpillars by being their dinner. A butterfly gardener embraces dual purpose in garden plants. Gilpin said a good approach is to grow extra, knowing your caterpillars will chow down on certain plants. Accept a few holes in leaves for the pleasure of having butterflies.
She suggests carefully moving caterpillars from plants you use and highly desire to those you grow specifically for the caterpillars.
“If you like dill but not fennel, grow dill next to fennel and transfer the caterpillars to the fennel,” said Gilpin.
Caterpillars love some of our favorite foods. They love herbs as much as the finest French chef.
“Parsley, dill, fennel and mint are all good caterpillar food,” said Gilpin.
Dill and fennel’s feathery foliage and spicy fragrance has great ornamental appeal and works well mixed with flowers in your borders. It’s pretty for us and practical for butterflies. Mixing herbs in with flowers creates a good environment where butterflies are likely to lay their eggs. Butterflies will search out and lay eggs on plants that will feed their young.
White butterflies are drawn to cabbage, kale, and collard and mustard greens. Gilpin said to grow greens next to your cabbages and move caterpillars from the cabbage for your family to kale or greens you grow for the caterpillars.
You wouldn’t invite friends over without preparing a snack or meal for them. You’d provide a nice place for overnight guests to rest. If you do the same for butterflies in your garden, they’ll reward you daily with their engaging flight and beauty.
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How to Prune a Butterfly Bush
Last Updated: March 29, 2019 Approved
This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.
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As the name might suggest, butterflies absolutely love Butterfly Bush for its showy, fragrant, nectar-rich flowers--and so will you! The flowers of this tall bush make a gorgeous addition to any garden. However, to keep these bushes blooming beautifully, you will need to know how to prune them properly. Scroll down to Step 1 to learn how you can properly prune your Butterfly Bush.