A colorful, neat garden is something all of us want. It adds to the beauty of the house, and also contributes to its value. Growing butterfly bushes certainly goes a long way in enhancing the beauty of the garden.
The Butterfly Bush
Buddleia davidii, more commonly known as the butterfly bush, is a plant that bears vibrant flowers from midsummer till frost. As if the large, colorful flower panicles were not enough, the flowers have a sweet fragrance that attracts butterflies in hordes. Despite their beauty, the butterfly bush does not require one to toil too much to make them grow in the garden. However, one should remember that these beautiful perennials can often spread out of their initial area, and may kill plants and other bushes growing around them.
Native to China, where it is known as the summer lilac, the butterfly bush first moved out of its native country in the 1700s, when it was brought to England. These plants come in large varieties, which is why choosing the type seems more confusing to many than growing the plant itself. The plants bear flowers on spikes that range in colors from pink, fuchsia, light blue to lavender. These plants typically grow up to a height of 5 to 6 feet.
Steps for Raising Butterfly Bush
Buddleia davidii comes in a large variety of colors. After the variety has been decided, one can purchase seeds, a plant, or semi-hardwood cuttings. Cultivating the bush from seeds is a challenge. It is better to adopt one of the other two options. Here we are considering growing it from a pre-grown plant. The preferable planting time is spring or fall.
Before sowing the plant, the soil should be cultivated up to a depth of 12 to 15 inches. Composting the soil will ensure better plant growth. Dig holes in the soil that are twice the diameter of the potted plant. Keep the holes at a distance of 5 to 10 feet from each other. Remove the plant from the pot. Plant it in the ground so that it is almost at the same level as it was in the pot. Fill the hole around the plant with soil and press down the soil firmly to remove air pockets. Cover the soil with mulch.
Ideal growing conditions include bright sunlight and moist, well-drained soil. Once the plants are well established, they become quite drought resistant. Until then it is important to water the plants. However, be careful that water does not collect over the soil as this might cause the roots to rot. Even after the plants are well established, they should be watered deeply a few times in the summers if the rainfall is less than an inch per week. The key is to ensure that the soil is well-watered and also well-drained.
Pruning the bush is an important step, as it will flower only on new wood. Despite growing woody stems, these bushes are perennial plants, and die-back every winter. Hence, they should be pruned back to the ground during this time or during early spring. If you have done this, you can watch your bush spring back to life with abundant flowers the following year.
Planting butterfly bushes and growing them is hardly any endeavor compared to the beauty it adds to your flower garden. Now that you know how to grow this beautiful bush, plant it to see butterflies and hummingbirds flock to your garden in hordes.