Buddleia The Colorful Butterfly Bush

close up of Buddleia flower

The buddleias or butterfly bush, are popular plants in the North, coming originally from Asia.

Although generally classed as rather coarse shrubs, they are now widely planted because of their pleasing color range. One factor that has made them undesirable until recently in restricted spaces was their rampant growth.

I have found only one kind dependably hardly, as far as top wood is concerned, and that is Buddleia alternifolia, fountain butterfly bush. It is a large scale shrub, with small leaves and fragrant, delicate, lilac flowers early in the season.

Through hybridizing there are now many new varieties which are more restricted growth habit.

However, many of the older species still have great value where it is desirable to fill large areas in a short time.

Even if the plants are removed later, little loss is felt, since they are inexpensive and produce quick results.

Buddleia Varieties

Fascinating, makes a neat, well-proportioned bush, five to six feet in height, with huge clusters, as much as 18 inches in length, of a soft, cattleya orchid or pink.

Purple Prince is another outstanding innovation, in a healthy-growing plant to five feet, that bears imperial-purple flowers, with golden eyes that are fully twice as wide at the base as other kinds. This plant gives a very striking effect, and the spikes are delightful in bouquets.

Fortune, growing to about five feet, is of ideal shape, and bears its lilac spikes, with orange eyes, in riotous profusion. Also, instead of being flat, as in most spots, the spikes are round and in bloom at one time.

Buddleia Dwarfs

The dwarfest I have tried is White Profusion. It grows only three feet in height and about as wide, with a lavish display of short-stemmed sprays, identical to the white variety Peace.

In my opinion, this is a gem. Absent is every suggestion of coarseness, so objectionable to many in the older kinds.

The deep-green, healthy foliage makes a perfect foil for its flowers, borne constantly until frost, if the old spikes are kept cut off.

What is more, it is almost certain that in the relatively near future we shall have other colors in this dwarf type.

Butterfly Bush Care

Buddleias seem to succeed in most any soil. With a mound of soil placed around the base of the plants, or a mulch of leaves, they will winter successfully over a wide area.

After sharp frosts have ended growth, the tops can be cut hack to a foot or more; in areas of dependably heavy snowfall. the tops may be left to catch the snow.

Butterfly bushes grow easily from seed. which they bear in abundance, but most of it should be removed to have continuous bloom.

A few seed sprays will furnish all the seedlings you will need. Moreover, if started early inside, many bloom the first year.

Image: bencrowe

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