Beautiful Buddleias

    • Attract birds to your yard with bird feeders. Delightful gold finches will be happy to visit your thistle feeders, and rufous-sided tohees will visit seed feeders.
    • Turn in cover crops now and you will be ready to plant your summer garden in two or three weeks.
    • Plant summer-flowering bulbs now. Glads, dahlias, callas, cannas and lilies will bloom this summer if planted soon.
    • Fertilize established roses now and begin spraying them for insect and disease problems. Neem oil is a very effective, natural spray that works against both insects and diseases.
    • Tomatoes and peppers can be set out now, but be ready to cover them if cold weather returns.

Bring butterflies to your garden with Buddleias

Buddleias, commonly known as butterfly bushes, are fine shrubs for the garden. They can be used in the flower border or as the focal point for a large area. They are hardy and easy to grow. During their long flowering period, buddleias bear large, dense panicles of delicately fragrant flowers in stunning colors.

These eye-catching plants really do attract butterflies. When the blossoms are open, you can be sure that butterflies will be abundant. Monarchs, swallowtails, fritillaries and many other nectar drinkers are attracted to the fragrant flower clusters. Hummingbirds also visit buddleias, so plant them where you can enjoy them up close.

Buddleias can be used in many different ways. Dwarf types, growing 3 to 4 feet tall and wide, are perfect for patio containers and small planting areas. Compact varieties, growing to 6 feet tall, are nice in the perennial or mixed border, for small gardens or for large containers. Larger types, which grow 8 to 12 feet tall, do best in the background or as part of a tall shrub border. Also called summer lilac, the larger shrubs can be used for a colorful hedge.

These are very forgiving plants. They take almost any well-drained soil, and can stand considerable drought. Although they flower best in full sun, they will also bloom in light or filtered shade.

Buddleia davidii and its cultivars are large, wide-spreading, open shrubs. They work best as background shrubs. The flowers come in long clusters at the ends of the branches beginning in June and continuing into the fall. Colors range from the true pink of ‘Pink Delight’ to wine-purple of ‘Royal Red’ and dark purple of ‘Black Knight.’

If these shrubs are too big for your yard, consider the ‘Nanho’ varieties. These versatile buddleias grow to half the height of the species with smaller leaves and flower clusters. Some special varieties have been developed including ‘Lochinch’ which has lavender flowers and silvery gray leaves. It looks nice with pastel flowers such as asters and summer phlox. ‘Empire Blue’ has deep violet-blue blooms on plants that reach 5 feet tall.

The new Buzzâ„¢ hybrids are true dwarfs at only 4 feet tall. They cover themselves with spikes of fragrant flowers in lavender, magenta, purple or white. Feed and water container plants regularly, and deadhead faded flowers to prolong the flowering season.

Buddleias bloom on new growth so they can be pruned to control size and shape without affecting the flowering. They can be pruned down to 12 to18-inch stubs from which they will grow many new arching branches, that will have larger flowers than if they had not been pruned. Deadheading during the flowering season will induce maximum flowering.

Butterfly bushes are a little unruly-looking so they may not have a place in a formal garden. But given sunshine and room to grow, they are a wonderful addition to the yard.

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