Richard Bogren, Owings, Allen D. | 4/18/2014 12:11:14 AM
News Release Distributed 04/17/14
By Allen Owings
LSU AgCenter horticulturist
HAMMOND, La. – Buddleia, known by most home gardeners as butterfly bush, is becoming an increasingly popular plant in the home landscape. Mostly because this perennial is highly favored by butterflies as a nectar plant.
Butterfly bushes are becoming available in an increasing array of sizes, flower colors, and foliage characteristics. Their recent resurgence at retail garden centers can partially be attributed to new varieties being released over the past 10 years.
Buddleias can be used as cut flowers and have fragrant blossoms. And they are winter hardy in Louisiana, although they can also be used as annuals for color in the landscape if desired.
Buddleia flower colors have traditionally been in shades of white, pink, purple and similar colors. A few light yellows have been available. And newer varieties have added new colors to the palette.
In addition, other buddleia breeding and selection programs have produced plants with such characteristics as larger flowers, improved growth habit, dwarf forms, self-cleaning, bicolored flowers, double flowers, spider mite resistance and improved foliage variegation.
The most striking and best landscape butterfly bush in the large group of Flutterby series buddleias is the Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Pink, which has been selected as a Louisiana Super Plant for spring 2014.
Why was this butterfly bush named a Louisiana Super Plant? Tutti Fruitti is non-invasive, stays small (24-30 inches tall at maturity in the landscape), is continually in flower during the warm seasons of the year, and has been a proven perennial in south Louisiana landscapes for three years.
In addition, Tutti Fruitti plants attract large quantities of butterflies and hummingbirds compared with other butterfly bush varieties.
When you’re ready to plant a buddleia, select a well-drained location in full or partial sun. Soil pH should be in the 6.5-7.0 range. Fertilize at planting with a slow-release fertilizer. Buddleia plants are very drought tolerant once established.
Most people plant butterfly bushes too close together. The Tutti Fruitti variety needs 3 feet between plants. Tip pruning terminal shoots during the season encourages more continual bloom.
Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Pink buddleia is the second Louisiana Super Plant for spring 2014, joining the earlier announced Kauai series torenia (wishbone flower). An additional selection will be announced in early May.
Louisiana Super Plants have a proven track record of several years of university evaluations combined with observations by industry professionals. Home gardeners and professional horticulturists alike can benefit from using Louisiana Super Plants, which are “university tested and industry approved.” You can see more Louisiana Super Plant information here.
You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals at both sites.