Blooming from mid-spring through early fall, the butterfly bush (buddleia) is particularly prized for its ability to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and songbirds. The most popular species originally hails from China, but buddleias are now grown throughout the United States.
Butterfly bushes are valued for their clusters of beautiful, tubular-shaped flowers. The blossoms come in a variety of colors including white, pink, red, blue, purple, orange or yellow flowers produced by different species and cultivars. Adding to their attraction is the fact that they are rich in nectar and often strongly scented.
The taller varieties add the most value to the garden when they are grown as a background shrub or as part of a mixed border, while the dwarf varieties look great as focal plants or as part of a colorful perennial bed. Butterfly bushes prefer to be planted in full sun locations but can tolerate partial shade if needed. They go completely dormant in the winter in colder areas but can remain semi-evergreen in warmer climates.
The butterfly bush is a fairly low maintenance shrub. Once established it can become fairly drought tolerant and needs only to be fed with a plant food, such as Gro-Power Flower 'n' Bloom once in spring and summer. It can be pruned back hard every spring if needed; this will produce a denser and more rounded shrub.
Every garden can use a few--and your birds and butterflies will thank you too!
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