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.