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Butterfly Bush (Buddleia Shrubs)

Growing Zones: 5-9
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Growing Zones: 5-9
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Growing Zones: 5-9
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The Complete Guide to Butterfly Bushes

The Butterfly Bush, or Buddleia Shrub, is aptly named for its gift in attracting butterflies with its large, cone-shaped flower heads. The shrub also invites more than its share of hummingbirds to the lawn or garden all summer long.

All butterfly bushes add fragrance and interest to your garden with very little maintenance. They can handle a variety of conditions and once established, should thrive with rain water only. The shrubs' height and versatility make them perfect for several spots in your garden. Use butterfly bushes for privacy, where you can bird watch from a window, or just downwind from a seating area to make the most of their fragrance. And be sure to complement the colors of your favorite butterfly bush with a low-growing shrub. For example, pair a Black Knight's violet blooms with your favorite yellow rose.

The Top Butterfly Bush Varieties

Black Knight- Known for its deep purple, fragrant blooms and low maintenance.
Pink Delight- With large, especially fragrant pink blooms that pollinators love and that you and guest will enjoy in cut arrangements.
White Profusion- An unusual form of butterfly bush with aromatic white blooms that grows up to six feet tall.

How and Where To Plant Butterfly Bushes

Butterfly bushes are hardy in zones 5 through 9, and will make it through the winter in cooler climates and in nearly any condition. But if you want to maximize the shrub's blooms, be sure to plant yours in an area of your garden that receives full sun. Consider the height and shade of nearby trees or your home when placing your butterfly bush.

Also consider the mature size of the butterfly bush. The shrubs grow quickly and can reach greater than six feet high and wide by the second growing season. You can plant butterfly bushes in spring or fall. Before planting, make sure the spot you've chosen has plenty of composted matter, and loosen the soil down to about a foot if possible. This will ensure that the soil around the plant's roots can collect, but not retain, moisture. Butterfly bushes need well-draining soil. You can add either acidic or alkaline organic matter for these shrubs, as long as you keep the pH level at about 6.0 to 7.0.

Your planting hole should be at least twice the diameter of the plant's root ball or that of the pot you've purchased. Water your new plant regularly until it's established, up to weekly during the hottest days of summer the first year.

Caring for Butterfly Bushes

Butterfly bushes are easy-care shrubs. It helps to add a little compost each spring, spread in a fine layer over the plant's roots. The best part of caring for a butterfly bush is the easy pruning. You don't have to think about where to cut or how. Simply prune old wood nearly to the ground each spring just before new branches begin emerging. This invigorates the new growth, and you'll see your shrub go from ground to taller than you by early summer.

As long as you are getting rain, an established butterfly bush should need no additional watering. Only water if in a period of drought. Deadheading spent blooms encourages more and longer flowering. Very few pests or problems bother butterfly bushes, and it's best not to spray them if you see signs of bugs such as spider mites because you'll also affect butterfly populations. Spider mites usually show up on the plant only when it is stressed from lack of water. If you plant several shrubs to create privacy or a hedge effect, be sure to allow for the shrubs' full size.

Facts About the Butterfly Bush

The butterfly bush hails from Chile but also is native to China. Horticulturalists continue to search the Himalayan mountains to identify new native varieties of the shrub. The shrub's leaves are also attractive, looking similar to large versions of culinary sage.

You might have heard that butterfly bush is invasive, but that's only a problem in a few select areas of the country. In most regions and with most cultivars, there is no problem with spread of buddleia, and it's even okay to leave some spent seed heads on in fall for birds to enjoy after you've had a full summer of fragrance, color and hummingbird and butterfly sightings.

Everyone Will Appreciate the Vibrant, Sweetly Scented Blooms of the Butterfly Bush!

The Butterfly Bush, also known as the Buddleia Shrub, has been a popular plant for gardeners all over the world due to its ability to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. For more colorful landscapes that are sure to demand the compliments of friends, family and neighbors, the Butterfly Bush is a wonderful choice.

Beautiful, nectar-filled clusters of flowers beckon to butterflies!

The Buddleia Shrub is known for its fragrant blooms. Colorful clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers appear on cone-like heads. These blooms practically call out to our flying friends, requesting that they come in for a landing and enjoy the feast.

A Brief History of the Butterfly Bush

The name, Buddleia comes from the Reverend Adam Buddle, who was an amateur botanist of the seventeenth century. The Butterfly Bush' botanical name was the result of a posthumous honor to Buddle in 1774, which is when this Chilean plant first reached England. Explorers of the Victorian era later found a wide array of Buddleia in China. Today, horticulturists worldwide continue to comb the foothills of the Himalayans for new varieties.

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