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Plantidote of the Day 2010-09-24

twig's picture

DSCF1069

Common name: Butterfly bush or summer lilac

Family: Scrophulariaceae (figwort)

Genus: Buddleia (or Buddleja)

Species: davidii

Originally from Asia, the butterfly bush is a woody perennial that can be grown in all zones, but is happiest in zones 5 to 10. Overall, it's a low-maintenace plant. It does well in full sun and average soil. Small plants need regular watering, but once they're established butterly bushes are drought tolerant – which is why this one is in my Zone 10 backyard.

Butterfly bush lives up to its name. When it blooms, butterflies, hummingbirds and bees can't leave it alone. The fragrant flowers appear on new growth, though, so it does need to be pruned in the spring. Other than that, it's pretty much a no-brainer.

This plant is about 12 feet tall, but there are dozens of cultivars, so different sizes, shapes and colors are available, including white, pink, blue and deeper purple.

Readers, please send me (twig4now@gmail.com) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you.... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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Click on the image for the full-size version. Click here to see the entire series.

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Comments

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

but this poor plant has only this one flower. It should have tons, but it's not getting enough sun where it's planted. When the whole thing is blooming, it is realllllly breathtaking! But thanks for saying that. Next year ...

kerril's picture
Submitted by kerril on

Have you seen them in real life?

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

this shot is from the biggest one, but it's stuck in a dark corner of the yard. I'm thinking of pruning it way back in the spring and moving it so it gets some light. The other two flower like crazy, but only in spring. Do you have any?

kerril's picture
Submitted by kerril on

Haha. My subject disappeared on my last post. I meant to ask if you had seen any of the yellow varieties. They look so nice in catalogues. But I haven't seen them in real life. Those purple ones are super reliable bloomers but I've found require careful pruning. Mine always grew funny ways because I wasn't a very good pruner.

Submitted by lambert on

Back to the no subjects!

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

No way! I didn't know there were yellow ones -- they must be fabulous! Darn, now I want one.

Yes, pruning is not my strong suit either. The local garden center is offering a class in it soon, which is probably worth sitting through. Maybe we can do a 'how to prune' post some day.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

but yes, that expression is priceless!! Like it's trying to figure out what's going on. Aren't we all?

Thanks for that image -- the yellow is sublime! Adding to the wish list right now...

Submitted by lambert on

The construction work is done now, so if this is still happening I need to know.

Incidentally, I can't diagnose or correct anything to do with "the Comment Monster." I need more detail....

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

when I was going back and forth between here and CMail responses. It could have been my fault, though -- I might have forgotten to hit save and closed the page.

Submitted by lambert on

Sometimes I forget and close a tab before saving. Often, at least in FF, I can use "Recently Closed Tabs" to recover the comment, however.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

because mine don't like me and refuse to flower here. i've done everything- food, water, light, fluffy soil... i got one to bloom for the first time this year after five years of trying. and i lurv butterflies and am so sad i can't have more of them here. /pout/

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

I am so not an expert, but when I was writing this I ran across an article about them that said blooms only appear on new growth, something I didn't know.

Mulch Buddleia davidii in the fall, then prune the plants back to the ground in late winter. This perennial will re-emerge from its roots in spring; butterfly bush flowers on new wood (new growth). Pruning tends to improve blooming, giving you incentive to prune it. You essentially want to treat butterfly bush plant as if it were an herbaceous perennial rather than a shrub.

kerril's picture
Submitted by kerril on

There's more the the buddlea than I thought.