Butterfly Bush

Butterfly Bush

I’m always trying to grow things that attract butterflies for the magic and mystery they bring to my garden. My earliest  attempt to grow butterfly bush did not succeed. The sucker had the audacity to up and die on me. This spring I found a bunch of them on Lowes’ Down-and-Out-but-Not-Quite-Dead table. I bought this deep purple and a pastel purple (I forget what you call that color). The deep purple is in full, all-day sun and going gangbusters. The pastel purple is in filtered shade and pretty much giving me the raspberry. “You want me to grow? Whatever.” However, this is not the time of year to move it. Our temps this weekend are in the 97 to 99 degree range.

I planted both in such a way that they would have plenty of room around them because I knew the butterfly bush gets  large and rangy. I must admit that the rangy part is less appealing to me because I would like the flower clusters to be closer to each other. So I’ve been vigilant about keeping the spent blooms on this deep purple plant dead-headed and cutting the branches shorter at the same time. My reward has been multiple blooms. I have lots of yellow flowers planted near it — Buttercup and Stella Supreme daylilies — and the contrast has been visually pleasing.

I don’t know how to save seeds from the butterfly bush but I know it has seeds because I’ve seen them listed in a number of mail order catalogs. Knowing my idiot approach to gardening, I’m probably cutting the seeds off when I deadhead. Still, I don’t want to lose this brilliant purple so I’ve poked a few sprigs in my pot of rooting sand. My Dollar General friend convinced me that sand is a better rooting medium than soil. I forget her reasoning — don’t you wish I had a memory — but I tried the sand and found that everything rooted with greater ease. If I can remember to ask her the reason, I’ll add it as a P.S. to this post.

P.S. — My Dollar General friend claims that she roots in sand because “Momma said so.”  My faulty memory conjures up a more involved answer backed by reasoning. Wikihow claims sand is a “compromise” to rooting in water. In other words, your cuttings don’t struggle as much to survive while trying to grow new roots.

10 thoughts on “Butterfly Bush”

  1. Hello my $General friend. Reading your blogs are the highlight of most my days. So blessed our paths have crossed.
    Seeds of the butterfly bush is most likely inside the dead blooms. Mama used to take a paper bag and dead head straight into the bag leaving them there till the next planting time. The seed will have fallen into the bottom of the bag by then and you can see them. Need to use a paper bag so the paper will absorb any moisture. Otherwise they will mold.
    As for using only white sand (builders’ sand or children’s play sand) to root plants in? That ones simple: ‘Cause my mama said too. It works.

    1. Dear Dollar General — I’ll try the paper bag method. I seem to remember you mentioning this once before. Wish I had a memory. ‘Cause I’d nail you on that “Momma said so” answer. You gave me a more involved answer backed by reasoning.

      1. I c it.
        I dunno wut 2 make uv it…
        Yall wanna talk smack 2 each other, just b kerful not to cross a line in2 outright feuding.

        Butterfly bushes (Buddleia sp.) root very easily in any soil… 4 me. Just keep watered. They also come up everywhere from seed in a wet garden, and are considered invasive exotics over a good deal of the East coast states.

        Here in the deep south… I’d rather grow native high bush lantanas, which also root easily, and attract butterflies like crazy.
        http://stonethegardener.tumblr.com/post/9564300869/how-many-orange-butterflies-can-you-see

        I tried clicking yer $general friend’s link, no blog, no garden pics… I wanna see her garden too….

        1. Stone – Evie did cross the line twice in the last dozen years and I divorced her for a year each time. Even her sister, Dorothy, admits that Evie gets mean sometimes. She has all these other wonderful qualities, tho, so I un-divorce her. I don’t think I’ll hafta worry about my Buddleia becoming invasive but I’ll watch for it. We have a lot of dry areas on these 2 acres that we just can’t get water to on a regular enough basis. That’s why the lavendar Buddleia isn’t thriving. I have four solid yellow lantana that spread rather than grow up but they, too, seem to attract butterflies. Not as many as your highbush but that might be okay. Then I’d have to train them to pose for pictures and you admit that yours aren’t trained yet. My Dollar General friend has no blog and no gardens anymore. When she moved, she went into a condo. She had some very pretty roses, buttercups, a grape vine wreath on her chain link fence. Very pretty. And Evie, has steadfastly refused to play in the dirt for years although I’m starting to get her to come around to some limited gardening.

  2. What more reasoning do you need than “Mamma said so”? Mamma, regardless of who’s mamma it is, always has the final word. BTW, it is a beautiful purple and I believe the light purple would be called lavendar. You really need to work on that memory.

  3. Is Stone’s high bush lantana different from the lantana you had me buy for the front of my home? I would love some of those bushes that grew tall instead of just becoming ground covering. Empress of Dirt can you find out for me or Stone can you let me know so I’ll know what to look for when I decide to play in dirt again. Thanks ya’ll.

    1. Evie – Please don’t call me the Empress of Dirt. You gonna get me sued. She already exists and I even have her on my blog roll. I thought you could read, I swear I did. Stone had a link to his blog where he showed you what the highbush lantana looks like — pink and yellow flowers — plus he told you it was the original lantana before they started monkeying with it. It grows wild. I think my neighbor across the street has some sticking through his fence. I could probably root it for you but not until I get some white sand.

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