Buddleia adds color, attracts butterflies to landscapes

(06/14/16) HAMMOND, La. – Known to most home gardeners as butterfly bush, buddleia is a popular perennial landscape plant that is highly regarded by butterflies as a nectar plant.

Butterfly bush is available in an increasing array of sizes, flower colors and foliage, said LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings.

Buddleia is winter hardy in Louisiana, but it also can be used as a colorful annual in the landscape, Owings said. Flowers come in varying shades of white, pink, blush and purple. With its fragrant blossoms, buddleia can be brought into the home as cut flowers.

New varieties that perform well in Louisiana include Miss Molly, Miss Ruby, Blue Heaven and the dwarf Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Pink, which is an LSU AgCenter Louisiana Super Plant. “There are many more,” Owings said.

Many people have long thought of buddleia as a hardy herbaceous perennial with soft stems that die back in winter, but it makes a significantly sized shrub, he said. Older varieties can reach heights of 5 to 6 feet with an equal spread. New, smaller-growing varieties work well mixed in with annual bedding plants and ornamental grasses.

When planting buddleia, select a well-drained location in full or partial sun, Owings said. Consider the mature size when spacing between plants. “Most people plant butterfly bushes too close together,” he said. Larger varieties need 5 to 6 feet between plants while the newer dwarf plants can be spaced 3 feet apart.

Fertilize buddleia at planting with a slow-release fertilizer, Owings said. Older plants that come back year after year can be fertilized once in spring or early summer.

“Buddleia is landscape plant that is well worth adding to your landscape,” Owings said. “It has continual bloom, is low maintenance and brings butterflies to the garden.”

FlutterbyPetiteTuittiFruittiPinkButterflyBushBuddl.jpg thumbnail

Flutterby Petite Tuitti Fruitti Pink butterfly bush buddleia at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station. Photo by Allen Owings.

6/15/2016 4:19:48 PM
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