Bonkers over Buddleia

December 22nd, 2005

Buddleia with ButterflyI have 3 buddleias, also known as the Butterfly Bush, in my backyard and they’re really nice. I don’t find them that attractive, and they get somewhat overgrown, but they attract butterflies like mad. At some times of the day it’s not uncommon to find 4 or 5 large butterflies on a single plant, and the small ones are too numerous to count.

The picture above is of a white buddleia I bought last year at Lowes for $2.50 on fall clearance. These plants are absolutely ugly when potted and so I’ve found that nurseries that stock them typically have them left over at the end of the year. I normally wouldn’t have bought white, Buddleia’s come in many colors, Nanho Blue (which is lavender), Black Knight (which is dark purple), as well as yellows, shades of red, and even a bi-color variety. However white was all they had left and I couldn’t pass up the deal.

Buddleia, not in bloom, but tallThis summer the plant grew to atleast 8 feet tall, as you can see from the not-quite-fully-grown picture on the right. A $2.50 two gallon plant grew to over 8 feet tall during the first growing season I owned it, I call that a steal. It got so big in fact that it has now been moved to more roomy pastures. Overall Buddleias can quickly grow into huge bushes or hedges. An 8 ft diameter planting area is a good idea for one you want to reach it’s full size. They only bloom and and leaf out on new growth, so most people cut them down to the ground each winter. However I have seen people let them develop trunks and allow the flowers and foliage to start higher up, and I think this method of growing them looks pleasing. I also like how this method would let you plant a smaller accent plant around it’s base, because left to it’s own devices a buddleia will drape the ground around it preventing anything else from growing.

One more side bonus of buddleias is that they attract beneficial insects like bees by the bucketload as well, insects like bees help keep the bad bugs away.

Plant your butterfly bushes in full sun, with plenty of water, and nice rich soil. They are hardy to zone 5, though some varieties claim hardiness to zone 4.

6 Responses to “Bonkers over Buddleia”

  1. Mike  Says:

    Love your write-ups, hope to hear from you more. My mother gave us a purple butterfly bush as a house-warming gift (one of many plants from her collection)–am looking forward to the display this summer!

  2. John  Says:

    I agree that these butterfly bushes are not too pretty but as far as attracting butterflies goes, you can’t really go wrong. Butterflies flock to them like crazy.

  3. Jessica Damiano  Says:

    I absolutely love buddleia. I just ordered a bi-color bush that has two-toned blooms in orange and purple. If you’re not crazy about butterfly bushes you might like these new ones. I found mine at park seed, but they’re also available at wayside and elsewhere. Just stumbled upon your blog today and look forward to reading more of your back posts.

  4. M Michelfelder  Says:

    I was planning to order 6 bi-color buddleias this late winter. Now, after receiving about 5 mail-order catalogs, I’m stumped! SpringHill has a one with fat panicles they call (excuse the spelling)’Kadiloscope’ bi-color. Its more lavender with orange centers. Wayside has a clumpy-panicle bi-color one, and it looks nothing like SpringHills! One is a davadii, the other is a B x globosa (maybe), I think. So I switched my interest over to the Yellow. Wayside has that in its catalog, but the panicles look really short. Well, I’m confused. Some of these mail-order catalogs are from Pluto! They make up names for well-known cultivars and that’s a bummer. I finally referred to and learned a bit more about buddleia. I called them, too, and was treated very nicely, indeed. I’m going to keep up my quest, and can be contacted at my e-mail address if anyone has any answers to my jumbled questions about Buddleia.

  5. Administrator  Says:

    I would go for a variety, not all the same. They get quite large.

    Specifically there is one with silver foliage out there that’d look nice offset off the others (or near red foliaged plants/trees.

  6. Jill  Says:

    Have you heard of anyone in Anchorage, Alaska having success with these plants?

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