Varieties of butterfly bush

Beautiful Buddlejas

Sophie Thomson

SOPHIE THOMSON: Plants have to be tough to survive in my garden, with temperatures regularly visiting the high 30’s and often overstaying their welcome into the 40’s. This is no place for anything delicate, so, if like me, you want beautiful plants that are tough as old boots – meet theBuddlejas.

Buddlejasare members of the figwort family and hail from the temperate regions of Asia, Africa and South America. They’ll tolerate a wide variety of soil types, as long as it’s well drained and for me, one of their greatest qualities is their ability to handle salinity. We use a saline bore to irrigate, so they’re perfectly suited to my garden.

Now their common name is the Butterfly Bush and that’s because these beautiful flowers are filled with nectar. They have a really sweet, honey-like scent and that attracts butterflies and honey-eating birds. They’re just beautiful. Now I have 15 different varieties in my garden and I’d like to share with you my top 3Buddlejas.

Number 3 isBuddleja lindleyana. It comes from eastern Asia and grows to about 3 and a half metres high with purple tubular flowers and sage-green leaves.

Coming in at number 2 is this beautifulBuddlejaxweyeriana. It’s a large variety which gets to about 4 metres high by the same wide and instead of the usual cone-shaped flowers, it has interesting flowerheads which are like clusters of grapes. It comes in a vibrant gold colour and a delicate creamy-white which has a flush of lavender in bud.

And over here is my number one favourite. It’s beautifulBuddleja’Buzz Purple.’ MostBuddlejasbecome tall shrubs and get too big for many gardens, but the ‘Buzz’ series is quite compact and dwarf and only grows between one and one and half metres high. Now it comes in a range of colours. There’s this beautiful purple, a lavender colour, a white and a cerise pink and all of them repeat flower really well, attract the birds and the butterflies and they’re a delight in the garden.

Hopefully I’ve got you keen to grow your ownBuddlejas, so later, I’m going to show you how to plant and care for them.

Sophie Thomson

SOPHIE THOMSON: Earlier on, I shared with you my obsession forBuddlejas, so now I’m going to show you how easy they are to care for and plant them.

The one I’m going to plant is this beautiful ‘Buzz’ Series. It’s got magenta pink flowers and it’s a lovely compact plant – only gets to about one, one and a half metres high. Now if your soil is reasonable, you don’t actually need to do any soil preparation – simply bung them in….dig a hole and plant them. Looking beautiful. Now obviously, the last step is to water them in.

It’s a really good idea to deadhead yourBuddlejas. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, in the eastern states,Buddlejascan actually become a garden escapee and become an environmental weed, so by deadheading, you’re preventing that from happening. Now here, it’s way too dry for that to happen, but what I find is by deadheading, I actually encourage a lot more flowering and I extend my season by months.

When you deadhead, rather than pinch it off with your fingers – they don’t break that well – it’s better to use a pair of secateurs and just go to a ‘V’ – you’ll see there’s new shoots coming already. By cutting that out, I’ll have new flowers very shortly.

Now it’s really important at the end of the season that you give them a good hard haircut, otherwise they get leggy and look dreadful, so I’m going to cut this one back here to about a half to a third – right down to here. Now always prune just above some leaf growth, some new growth coming out and what that will encourage is a mass of new growth.

Now it might look rather radical cause I’ve reduced it to a third of its height, but come spring, it’ll be back looking fantastic.

So whatever the colour, size or form, these tough-as-boots bird and butterfly magnets could be a great addition to your garden.

Butterfly Bush Care and Maintenance

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Butterfly bush (Buddleja/Buddleia) is a genus of hardy flowering plants that produce appealing fragrant flower heads known for attracting butterflies and other insects. Despite being considered invasive by many ecologists, their striking appearance has helped them maintain their popularity in ornamental gardening.

Butterfly Bush

Types and Varieties of Butterfly Bush

1. ‘Black Knight’

Produces relatively shorter, and one of the darkest shades of flowerheads, with the plants growing up to 15 feet in height

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

2. ‘Purple Haze’

Short bushy plants of 3-4 feet, these are suitable for hedges, ground covers, and indoor planting

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

3. ‘Miss Molly’

Comparatively non-invasive in nature, making it more suitable for ornamental gardening

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

4. ‘Blue Heaven’

With its stunning blue flowers and silver foliage, this is one of the most attractive varieties, growing around 2-3 feet

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

5. ‘Purple Prince’

Produces orange-blue flowers later in summer, suitable for landscaping, growing up to around 12 feet when mature

Hardiness Zone: 4b

6. ‘Orange Sceptre’

Drought-tolerant and ever-flowering, this variety grows up to 6-7 feet but has a relatively slow growth rate.

Hardiness Zone: 8 to 11

7. ‘Kaleidoscope’/ ‘Rainbow’/ ‘Bi-color Butterfly Bush’

The first butterfly bush variety to produce multi-colored blossoms of lavender, yellow, and orange, it is quite tolerant of drought and heat

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

8. ‘Pugster Blue’

A dwarf variety (2-3 feet), it has a compact appearance with sturdy branches that can survive cold weathers better than most other short varieties; considered non-invasive

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

9. ‘Blue Chip’

A miniature, non-invasive butterfly bush, it is a hardy plant with a fast growth rate

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

10. Buddleia × Weyeriana ‘Honeycomb’

A taller variety, growing up to 12 feet, it is one of the butterfly bushes less tolerant to winter

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

11. ‘Evil Ways’

Striking plants with golden leaves and dark gorgeous flowerheads.

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

12. ‘Miss Violet’

Another non-invasive option like all the ‘miss’ varieties, suitable for garden borders, it produces closely-packed thin, long flowerheads

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

13. ‘Petite Snow’

Grows fast, attaining heights of around 4-6 feet at maturity, the compact tiny white flowers are perfect for cuttings

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

14.‘Lavender Veil’

Hardy plants with high watering needs; produces attractive thick lavender flowers

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 10

15. ‘White Profusion’

Growing around 8 feet tall, producing long pure white flowerheads, these look good when planted with bright colored flowers

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

16. ‘Asian Moon Butterfly Bush’

Growing around 5-7 feet in both height and width, it is a good choice for mixed borders due to its non-invasive, hardy nature

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

17. ‘Nanho Blue’

Can reach up to 10-12 feet in height, mauve flowers are suitable for cuttings

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

18. ‘Golden Glow’

With striking yellow-orange fragrant flowers, these 5-6 feet high plants are suitable for large gardens but do not survive in wet, cold conditions

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

19. ‘CranRazz’

Eight-inch flowerheads blooming around fall-summer, these plants are relatively shorter (5-6 feet), and suitable for growing in containers

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

20. ‘Magenta Munchkin’

Growing about 2-3 feet in height, and 4 feet in width, a good option for borders

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 10

21.‘Royal Red’

Growing around 6 feet high, its branches tend to spread around, giving the plant a fuller appearance

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

22. ‘Peacock’

A relatively new variety, 4-5 feet high when mature, it is ideal for mixed borders and small gardens, also suitable to be grown in containers

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

23. ‘Pink Delight’

Dense shrubs suitable for hedges, these grow about 8 feet high, with bubblegum pink flowers

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

24. ‘Dark Dynasty’

Dense, 2-3 feet tall shrubs with a somewhat rounded appearance, suitable for mixed garden hedges, flowers suitable for cuttings

Hardiness Zone: 4b

25. ‘Miss Ruby’

One of the shorter varieties (4-5 feet), these are are non-invasive, with the flowers being suitable for cutting

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

26. ‘Blueberry Cobbler’

Around 4-6 feet tall, the non-invasive variety with a rapid growth rate, it is suitable for sunny locations in gardens

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

27. ‘Adonis Blue’

An English butterfly bush variety, it grows around 4 feet high and 5 feet wide, producing dark blue flowerheads

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

28. ‘Yellow Buddleia’

Fast-growing plants, reaching up to 8 feet in height, producing bright yellow flowers

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

29. ‘Tutti Frutti’

A small variety, it works well as ground cover, blooming around late summer

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

30. Orange Ball Butterfly Bush (Buddleja globosa)

Another popular species of Buddleja, it produces orange ball-shaped flower clusters

Hardiness Zone: 5-9

31. ‘Buzz Sky Blue’ (dwarf variety)

Rather short, bushy plants growing about 4-5 feet tall, these are suitable for small gardens and indoor planting

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

32. Wooly Butterfly Bush (Buddleja marrubiifolia)

Yet another species in the genus, it produces globule-shaped flowerheads, about ½ inch in diameter, with the plant growing up to 5 feet

Hardiness Zone: 7

Points to Consider Before Introducing Butterfly Bush

As mentioned above, they appear in invasive plant lists in many states of US, so check with the authorities before picking any variety. The seedless or sterile types like ‘Miss Ruby’, ‘Asian Moon’, and ‘Blue Chip’ are often preferred for this reason.

Another thing worth knowing is that despite their name, they are not beneficial to butterflies in any way apart from offering their sweet nectar. None of the butterfly bushes serve even as a secondary host plant for any caterpillar.

Butterfly Bush Plant Picture

Despite being perennials, most cultivars die in winter, especially in the Northern regions, with the roots growing fresh stems again the next season. So, they are not suitable if you want a low-maintenance evergreen garden.

How to Grow, and Take Care of a Butterfly Bush Plant

Generally hardy in nature, they do not take too much hard work and can get established in almost any type of well-drained soil. These plants have a fibrous root system, instead of a taproot, which means the roots get their nutrients from the upper layers of soil.

How to Plant

  1. Prepare the soil by loosening it, and apply some compost
  2. Dig a hole that is twice as deep and wide as the root ball of the plant
  3. Remove the plant from the container it came in, and gently ruffle the roots to free them up a little, and put the plant in the hole (the crown should be on the same level with the soil surface)
  4. When transplanting multiple plants in a row, keep them 5-10 feet apart from each other; dwarf varieties may be planted a little closer together
  5. Water thoroughly to help the plant get settled

Where to plant them: Any sunny spot in your garden that remains reasonably dry throughout the year

Best time to plant: Spring, or fall (just before the frost)

When do they bloom: From summer to autumn

It is possible to start a butterfly bush from branch cuttings, but it is more common to get a small plant from nursery so you can be sure that it will not turn invasive. Propagating from seeds is often avoided for the same reason.

Transplanting

Other Care Requirements

Watering

During the first growing season, make sure to keep the soil around the roots thoroughly moist, but not waterlogged. You don’t have to water it every day, especially during the rainy season. Just water well when the soil seems dry.

Once established, all the varieties are pretty tolerant to draught, and will only need watering during particularly long dry spells. Check your plant for signs like wilted leaves as it indicates a need for water.

Sunlight

Although it can survive and grow in partial shade, it does best in full sun, producing fuller, vibrant flowers. If you are growing your butterfly bush in a pot, keep it at a spot that receives a lot of direct sunlight.

Butterfly Bush Care

Fertilization

They do not require constant fertilization. In fact, some gardeners find that fertilizing too much may actually affect the leaves and flower production. If you amend the soil properly with compost before planting, further application of 2-3 inch of compost around the plant roots just once every spring will be enough. In addition to feeding the plant, compost also helps the soil hold moisture for longer by enhancing the organic matter in it.

Avoid fertilizing for about two months before the beginning of frost to prepare the plant for winter. It makes sure there are no new growths that can get damaged by the cold when the plant goes dormant.

Mulching

When done once every spring, it helps with weed control. In northern climates, applying about a 6-inch mulch layer can help the roots survive the harsh winter.

Pruning and Deadheading

Though quite low-maintenance otherwise, these plants do need an annual trimming and regular deadheading (snipping off any browning flower clusters in fall to encourage more flower-growth, and prevent self-seeding in fertile varieties).

In warmer climates, prune the plant once early in spring to remove any broken or winter-damaged branches.

In northern regions, butterfly bushes die back to the ground in winter, so wait till late in spring to make sure if it is dead. If it does not come back, trim it down to just around 6 inches from the ground. Make sure not to prune at the beginning of winter, as at that time, the stems become hollow, and pruning makes water accumulate within the branches, eventually freezing them from the inside.

Butterfly Bush in Ornamental Gardening: Uses and Benefits

Though some varieties can grow up to 12 feet in height, there are plenty of dwarf butterfly bush varieties that stay within 3-4 feet, producing equally attractive, and fragrant flowers. Most of these are also sterile, solving the weed problem to some extent.

They are quite valuable in ornamental gardening as apart from butterflies, insects and birds like ladybugs and hummingbirds also like these plants. Moreover, they are all deer resistant.

Though they can be planted with other sun-tolerant flowering plants, make sure to keep a 4-5 feet open space around the butterfly bush to permit yourself get close enough to the plant to deadhead them. Overcrowding the area might make it difficult to handle any self-seeding variety. Echinacea or coneflowers seem to do well with butterfly bushes as they have similar natural requirements and the two compliment each other.

Butterfly Bush Problems and Diseases

Problems related to soil quality

Root rot can be a common problem if the plant is made to sit in flooded conditions for long, while too much acidity in the soil can lead to iron deficiency, causing the leaves to turn yellow, with green veins. Avoiding the first problem can be as simple as keeping the soil well-drained, as its fibrous roots already make it less susceptible to root rot compare to deep rooted plants, as long as the soil is maintained properly. The second issue with iron deficiency may need balancing the soil pH with lime and fertilizer.

Fungal, bacterial conditions and bugs

Despite having a good resistance against most bugs, the plant can be susceptible to conditions like downy mildew (fungal disease), and spider mites. Aphids, wasps, and flies may also infest a butterfly bush.

In most cases, keeping a good distance between two plants to keep them from becoming overcrowded, and spraying their leaves with water, and sometimes a liquid insecticide can help get rid of such problems. Though some people find it particularly difficult to get rid of aphids, which might only go away when the plant regrows after a death spell in winter.

Can Butterfly Bush be Poisonous for Pets

According to the University of California, butterfly bush is non-toxic for humans, while the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) shows no evidence of it being poisonous to dogs, cats, and other pets. However, like many other plants, ingesting the flowers and leaves might cause a little stomachache in pets.

by gMandy | Updated : November 10, 2018

I love Buddlejas or butterfly bushes and I should warn you that once you start to grow these, you will probably want to grow more, and more. These wonderful flowering shrubs produce colourful, mostly cone shaped heads of flowers with a sweet honey-like perfume, which attracts butterflies and honey-eating birds. Most are sun-loving, evergreen shrubs which flower for many months in summer and autumn, and different varieties range in size from 1-5m high. They tolerate all soil conditions including heavy clay provided there is good drainage, and are hardy and drought tolerant once established. They do require full sun to flower at their best and although they are dry tolerant, aim to give them a good deep watering every one to two weeks during extended dry periods for the best flowering.

Buddlejas are very quick growing and require hard pruning after flowering to keep the plants compact and lush. Most varieties do best when pruned back to one third to one half of their original size after flowering. Plants that are not regularly pruned hard tend to end up woody, leggy and straggly. Dead heading their flowering cones during the growing season also encourages a longer flowering period. I grow over 20 varieties of Buddlejas at Sophie’s Patch and here are the main ones to look out for.

• Buddleja davidii cultivars are the most common varieties available. The larger varieties grow to 5m high with an upright bushy habit with flower colours from pure white, through pink and mauve to purple. Cultivar names include ‘Pink delight’ with delightful mid pink dense flower cones, ‘Black Knight’ with dark violet blue flowers and ‘Royal Red’ with burgundy red flowers. There are also some medium sized forms which grow to 3m high with smaller foliage called B. davidii ‘Nanho Blue’ and ‘Nanho Purple’. Their slender spikes of purplish blue or purple flower spikes appear for several months. Dead heading spent flowers will extend their flowering season however it appears more effective with these two ‘Nanho’ forms. These have long been favourites as their size is more appropriate for smaller gardens, however in recent years there have been more dwarf varieties released.

The dwarf cultivar range I have grown is sold under the cultivar name ‘Buzz’ and while they promise to only grow 1m high, I find they are more like 1.5+ m high. They smother themselves with flowers and being smaller are easier to dead head the old flowers, stimulating more flowers and a longer flowering period.

• Buddleja x weyeriana is also looking stunning in my garden at the moment. Instead of having cone-shaped heads of flowers, its flower spikes have globe shaped bunches of flowers along them, in cream or orange-yellow. Its flowers are still scented and a hit with the birds and butterflies, however it has a larger more arching habit.

Buddleja weyerena cream

• Buddleja lindleyana has light purple flowers borne in graceful drooping sprays which are more elegant than the dense conical flower heads of the B. davidii types. Its foliage is sage green and the bush grows to 3.5 m high.

• Buddleja salvifolia, also known as South African sagewood. It forms a large spreading shrub at least 3 m high and wide and smothers itself with huge clusters of smoky-lilac fragrant flowers on the tips of pendant branches in late winter and spring. The foliage is felted and grey-green, sage-like, as its name suggests. Flowering in winter, it will not attract butterflies however the honey eating birds love it.

• Buddleja ‘Spring Promise’ which starts flowering in late winter and continues on through spring, with very slender spikes of pure white flowers. The scent of these flowers is exquisite and is reminiscent of freesias. I have it planted on the path to my front door and I love it every time I walk past. Unfortunately I don’t find it very hardy and it gets tall and leggy and doesn’t respond well to pruning. So I find I need to replace it every couple of years but I still think it is worth growing, just for its scent.

• Buddleja crispa known as the Himalayan butterfly is another spring flowering variety. It forms a spreading shrub to 4m with large, heart shaped, downy silver foliage which is very attractive and makes the plant worth growing for its foliage alone. I grow it against a stone wall facing North-West, where many other plants have failed and it loves the hot baking situation. It flowers in spring and early summer with soft lilac pink flowers on short spikes and although not as visually stunning as some of the other flowers, it certainly warrants a place for its foliage. Unlike most of the other varieties I grow, it is deciduous however as it flowers on new growth, it likes to be pruned hard in winter.

• Buddleja alternifolia also flowers in spring with tiny mauve-pink fragrant flowers that are clustered along its slender weeping stems, giving it the common name ‘Fountain Buddleja’. It is a deciduous shrub with small foliage but as it grows it creates a stunning arching plant.

One word of caution which always makes me smile as I look at my plants, they are prone to caterpillar damage. Funny about that, on a plant grown to attract butterflies!? It reminds me of a story which a friend who works in a garden center tells, about how in years gone by he sold a lady a swan plant, renown to attract monarch butterflies. Within a few weeks she was back saying it was being attacked by caterpillars and wanted a product to kill the caterpillars with!? Rest assured when it comes to Buddlejas, the caterpillar damage is less noticeable on older plants.

Buddleja x weyeriana ‘Golden Glow’

Butterfly Bush White Profusion

Planting Instructions for Butterfly Bushes:

  1. Open the box immediately, protect from cold, and water each potted plant. Some of your butterfly bush plants may have new green growth and some may not. If you see no leaves, don’t worry; this is normal. The roots in the pot are healthy and ready to grow in your garden.
  2. Plant as soon as you can. If your weather cooperates (above freezing), begin planting as soon as possible. If not, keep your butterfly bushes where they get some sun through a window, and keep them moist, not soggy.
  3. As you set out your potted butterfly bushes, dig to loosen the soil around and below the actual spot, and then set the rooted plant at the same level if was growing in the pot.
  4. Plant your butterfly bushes about 4-6′ apart, depending on the variety.
  5. When you remove the plant from the pot, do not pull on the leaves or stems. Squeeze the pot a little and the roots and soil will slide out for you.
  6. Water well after planting, and continue to water at least every two weeks, depending on rainfall.

All About Butterfly Bushes

Butterfly Bush is easy and quick to grow

Butterfly bushes are popular and hardy from Zone 5 south to Zone 9. In the colder zones, they die to the ground each year like a perennial plants, but in more southern regions, they are somewhat evergreen. In the warmer states, butterfly bushes often grow to 10 or 12 ft. high, and require pruning to keep them shapely. They’re happy in almost any soil and prefer moist ground, but will also do well in dryer spots. They need plenty of sun, but will be fine with some shade in the warmer areas. All this tells you that this plant is a tough one, and should be easy to grow in your garden. A well-grown specimen can be a magnificent “fountain” of flowers, since the stems with heavy flower clusters tend to arch in all directions.

The colors and named varieties.

You’ll find pink, white, blue, and some very beautiful new bi-colors. Buddleia “Bicolor” created a sensation when it burst on the scene. It is one of the first with bi-colored blooms, often developing long clusters that range from bluish to raspberry to bright orange as you look from the tip to the base of the flower spike.

Some botanists think the basic white butterfly bush has the most potent lure for insects. That’s “White Profusion” with it’s very heavy flower heads shown on the right.

A butterfly bush with pink, blue and white flowers on the same plant? Hmmm.

If you’ve ever heard about this magical butterfly bush, I think I know why. During the 1990’s a very well know perennial nursery, which shall remain nameless, began selling “a butterfly bush with three colors on the same plant.” The offer was such a successful bonanza for them, they repeated it over and over in ad after ad. And hundreds of thousands of gardeners bought. Well, what they got was really three small seedlings of three different plants grouped into one pot—one white, one blue and one pink. It all worked well, since butterfly bushes grow so easily and quickly, it really did look like one leafy bush as it grew. But once the “bush” was up and blooming with all the colors, if you looked closely near the ground, you’d see three little trunks, not just one. The effect was definitely one handsome bush with blooms in all three colors, but it was simply three different bushes planted very close together.

New butterfly bushes to come?

The genus Buddleia (or Buddleja to be correct) is a group of several wild species that are cultivated and hybridized for the plants we enjoy. Most are from China, but some have been imported from South America as well. The most popular is B. davidii, which was brought into England’s Kew Gardens in the 1880’s, and is the parent of all the well-known butterfly bushes. However, according to “The Butterfly Website”, some naturalists are still seeking out unknown species of Buddleia on the slopes of the Himalayas.

Don’t confuse the butterfly bush with butterfly weed.

Some people mistakenly call another famous butterfly attracting plant “butterfly bush”, but that’s incorrect. “Butterfly weed” is the common name of our famous flame-orange milkweed native wildflower, Asclepias tuberosa. Learn more about butterfly weed “

Buddleja davidii ‘White Profusion’

Suggestions for planting low maintenance border please Hello, I recently had my garden extended by a piece of land measuring 34 metres by 14 metres, and my son purchased 23 Phormiums from you in last August on my behalf. I was delighted with the service I received, and the plants appear to be thriving well especially considering the dreadful weather we have suffered this winter. We also bought Rootgrow from you to assist with their development ,and also for use when we moved mature Acers and other shrubs. I still need more shrubs or other types of plants and would appreciate some advice as to what to use. Along one of the 14 metre lengths there is a “hedge” of bamboo plants, and adjacent to these on the return (long) length there is a small rise of earth, tapering down to ground level, with a specimen black bamboo at the end of the mound. There is also a mature acer, which we had to move, situated at the edge of the dividing path (between the lawn) on the field side of the garden. Would it be possible for you to suggest the names of suitable plants which I could purchase from you and which would compliment the existing ones. I am in my eighties and therefore need a very low maintenance garden. I would also like to introduce a little colour if possible. My garden is very exposed and is on quite a windy site. I look forward to your reply.

Marian Burgess

2010-02-15 2010-02-16

Crocus Helpdesk

Help with Actaea simplex and Buddleja davidii please Hello, I recently ordered some really lovely plants from you, all of them are doing really well in my garden, but, I have just noticed that the Actaea simplex ‘Pink Spike’ is now not looking too good. Today I noticed that the 3 large leaves on the plant now have a brown crusty edging to them and they are no longer look very healthy, would you know why this may have happened? I have watered it the same as all of my other plants, so I’m very unsure why this has happened. Could it be overwatering, as the soil where it is planted is quite heavy? Any ideas? Also I’ve got a Buddleja davidii ‘Royal Red’, which is suffering from yellowing leaves, and falling off the plant. I don’t think Buddlejas suffer from chlorosis, but could this be a result of overwatering too? If you can help me that would be fantastic and much appreciated, Kindest regards, Nick

Gleaming Gem

2009-09-03

Hello Nick, The Actaea likes a moist soil, so it is unlikely to be suffering from too much water unless it is really boggy. They are herbaceous perennials though, so it will be starting to die back now, and I suspect this is it,-simply a part of their normal life cycle. The leaves will continue to deteriorate in autumn and disappear altogether in winter. I have added some notes to your order about your concerns, so if the plant fails to put on lots of new, lush growth in spring then please get back to us and we will happily replace it. As for the Buddleja, they also start to lose their leaves at this time of the year, but although they can be watered freely in summer, they prefer a drier soils when not actively growing, so you should cut back now. I hope this helps. Helen

2009-09-04

Crocus Helpdesk

Summer flowering tree Hello, I am looking for a tree that can grow as tall as 8ft-10ft and flowers for most of the summer, or even one that flowers in the winter. I am looking to add a large tree with colourful flowers to my garden – I do love the Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossii’ but it only flowers from May to June I believe. Can you recommend at suitable tree? Regards Laura

LAURA BLIZARD

2009-07-05

Hello Laura, Even a miniature tree will get taller than 8-10ft, so I suspect you may be looking for a shrub, which are generally more compact. The ones that will flower for months on end throughout summer are either Buddlejas or Lavatera. I’m afraid I don’t know of any trees (no matter what size) that will match them.

2009-07-08

Crocus Helpdesk

Rabbit proof shrubs Dear Sirs We are planning to plant a 30mt long border with flowering shrubs and have assorted colours of Rhododendrons in mind. Our main concern is that the shrubs must be rabbit proof as the border is adjacent to woods and a large grassed area. Also, where possible we would like to have ‘flowers’ on the shrubs throughout the summer. Would you be able to provide a picking list of suitable shrubs? Thank you for your prompt attention Andy

Clark, Andy (buying)

2009-06-15

Hello there, These are really troublesome pests, and there are no effective deterrents available (apart from getting a guard dog) which will be any help to you. They tend to prefer leaves and soft stems rather than flowers and woody stems, and they seem to prefer feeding in exposed positions and often nibble plants at the edge of borders. This habit can be used to the gardener’s advantage by planting more valuable subjects in the centre of beds. In winter, when food is scarce, deciduous plants at the edge of beds will not interest rabbits, and will help protect winter flowers in the centre. Below is a list of flowering shrubs which they usually tend to leave alone. Buddleia davidii, Ceanothus Cistus Cotoneaster dammeri Deutzia Hebe Hypericum Hydrangea Mahonia aquifolium Potentilla fructicosa Rhododendron spp. I hope this helps. Helen Plant Doctor

2009-06-17

Crocus Helpdesk

Butterfly Bush Varieties: Kinds Of Butterfly Bushes To Grow

Of the hundreds of kinds of butterfly bushes in the world, most butterfly bush varieties available in commerce are variations of Buddleia davidii. These shrubs grow to 20 feet tall. They are amazingly tough, hardy to minus 20 degrees F. (-28 C.), yet tolerant of far warmer climates. This makes them attractive garden plants in cold, medium and warm zones, so there are butterfly bush varieties that would work well in nearly any region. For more information on different kinds of butterfly bushes, read on.

Types of Butterfly Bushes for Cool Climates

If you live somewhere that gets winter frost and temperatures get into “minus” territory, you can still plant selected butterfly bush types. Although butterfly bushes are evergreen in warmer climes, in cool areas they die back in fall, then regrow rapidly in spring.

Pick from among the cold-hardy types of butterfly bushes according to the height that pleases you. You can also choose different butterfly bushes by flower color; blossom hues range from dark purple through pink to white. For example, the very darkest butterfly bush flowers are found on the variety ‘Black Night,’ an open-structured shrub that grows to 15 feet tall.

For maroon blossoms on a compact shrub, consider ‘Royal Red.’ It doesn’t grow past 6 feet. If butterfly bush types with purple flowers intrigue you, look for ‘Purple Ice Delight,’ a dense shrub that gets 8 feet high and offers dark flowers with touches of pink. For more pink, look at Pink Delight, offering bright pink blossoms on its 8-foot stems.

Some hybrid butterfly bush varieties offer gold flowers. Try ‘Sungold’ (Buddleia x weyeriana). It also tops out at about 8 feet high, but its branches fill with myriad pom-pom blossoms of deep gold.

Butterfly Bush Varieties for Warmer Regions

Some butterfly bushes grow well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. In these zones, the different butterfly bushes are evergreen and retain their leaves all winter long.

Consider ‘Lochinich’ for its lovely silver-backed leaves and pale lavender flowers. If fragrance is important to you, consider Buddleia asiatica. This tall shrub grows to 15 feet and offers white flowers with a scent so sweet and powerful that you can smell it from across the yard. Or choose ‘Himalayan’ butterfly bush with its soft, gray, velvety foliage. The tiny lilac flowers wink at you with orange eyes.

If you want a butterfly bush with large, white flowers, go for White Profusion that grows up to zone 10. Its white flower clusters are enormous and the bush itself rises to 10 feet. For short or dwarf bushes, try dwarf shrub ‘Ellen’s Blue’ that only grows to four feet tall, or ‘Summer Beauty,” about the same size but offering rose-pink flower clusters.

Noninvasive Butterfly Bush Types

Better yet, put Mother Nature before your personal preferences. Butterfly bush is an invasive species that has escaped cultivation in many states because of the numerous seeds grown by the plants. It is illegal to buy or sell these shrubs in some states, like Oregon.

Growers are helping out by developing and offering for sale butterfly bush types that are sterile. These are non-invasive types of butterfly bushes that you can plant in your garden with good conscience. Try the sterile, blue-flowered cultivar ‘Blue-Chip.’

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