Monday, January 17, 2011

The Butterfly Bush..............

 Butterfly Bush
Buddleia davidii

I have borrowed this information from the Ohio State University on line plant files, so our northern readers can share in the "Plant Discovery". This very cool plant will work all the way to zone this zone it will die back to the ground each year, but it will almost always come back. Full sun in Ohio and full sun in Texas mean two different things, in Texas give this beauty some afternoon protection from the blistering sun.
This is a specimen plant and not your row plants such as hollies or box woods give this baby a place of her own, in the middle of a island bed or the height item in a perennial bed. So..... what do you get with this plant....well, for one thing Colorful blooms of deep purple or lilac (and white, pink, or yellow) Fragrance (smells good), and attracts butterflies and humming birds (those tiny birds that defy imagination).

Well I apologize for the brevity of this blog, but I am experiencing the absolute worst virus infestation I have ever had on my main desktop. I lay awake at night thinking of dastardly things to do to those scurrilous dogs that develop these computer viruses.Of course being  the even tempered , kind and gentle soul that I am nothing shall ever cover of those ruminations, but "boy howdy" they should get their just deserts some day.


Information from Ohio State University  (Thank You Very Much)
  • Form
    • medium-sized to large-sized shrub
    • maturing at about 8' tall by 8' wide or even larger (if never pruned) in its southern range, but often dying back close to the ground in most Winters in its northern range (and often achieving a 5' tall by 5' wide status by season's end)
    • upright rounded (but very open) growth habit
    • rapid growth rate
  • Culture
    • full sun to partial sun
    • performs best in full sun in moist, well-drained, fertile soils, but is very adaptable to poor soils, dry soils, and soils of various pH, and is tolerant of heat, drought, and high humidity
    • propagated by seeds or rooted stem cuttings
    • Logania Family, with few diseases or pests of ornamental significance
    • abundantly available in container form
    • in northern climates and even in many southern climates, it looks and performs best if pruned back hard in early Spring for rejuvenation and vigor (it blooms on new wood), and also to lightly shear the vigorous new growth in mid-June (before the initial flowers emerge), to promote a more dense and compact form at flowering, instead of the open and gangly growth habit that will be evident by season's end
  • Foliage
    • emerging late in Spring and maturing to medium green, gray-green, or dark green (depending upon cultivar); glabrous above, but white-tomentose beneath
    • leaves are opposite, ovate to lanceolate, serrated, with a short petiole and acuminate apex
    • fall color is green and holding late, then either abscising or remaining as semi-persistent green or brown foliage into the Winter
  • Flowers
    • purple, light blue, lavender, reddish-lavendar, pink, white, or golden-yellow miniature flowers with orange throats occur densely along a cylindrical to narrow pyramidal, often nodding inflorescence at each stem tip, generally about 6" to 10" long
    • fragrant blooms occur heavily from July through August, and continue abundantly until frost if deadheading occurs (or sporadically if deadheading does not occur), and attracting many bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds
  • Fruits
    • compound fruiting stalk of two-valved capsules is not ornamental, but is a good Winter identification feature
    • best to dead-head the immature fruiting stalks throughout the Summer, to promote continuous flowering and prevent self-sowing
  • ID Summary
    • foliage emerges late and has a silvery-white underside below the gray green, medium-green, or dark green uppersides of the lanceolate opposite leaves, with white tomentose stems that are sparsely branched, herbaceous to semi-woody, and give rise to elongated, narrow-pyramidal, slightly drooping, long inflorescences that are fragrant, generally in the cooler color range (with orange centers to the miniature flowers), and bloom all Summer and in early Autumn, attracting many bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies
  • Function
    • specimen flowering shrub that doubles as a butterfly/hummingbird attractant, often found in group plantings in island beds, at foundations, or at borders
  • Texture
    • medium-bold in foliage/flower and when bare
    • open density in foliage/flower and when bare
  • Assets
    • inflorescences are fragrant, attract many butterflies and hummingbirds, and occur from July until frost
    • vigorous growth responds well to early Spring rejuvenation pruning
    • flowering occurs on new wood (the current season's growth)
    • tolerant of heat, humidity, drought, and average or poor soils
  • Liabilities
    • dies nearly to the ground almost every Winter in its northern range, needing annual pruning to remove the dead wood
    • marginally root-hardy in severe zone 5 Winters
    • may self-sow in exposed soils, especially in its southern range
  • Habitat
    • zones 5 to 9
    • native to China

    • Buddleia is named after Reverend Adam Buddle of the 17th century.
    • davidii is named after Armand David, who discovered the shrub in China.
  • Purpose
    • Butterfly Bush is the best Summer-long flowering shrub that is noted for both its showy fragrant inflorescences and their subsequent wildlife attraction.
  • Summary
    • Buddleia davidii is known as a profuse Summer-flowering shrub whose fragrant flowers attract many butterflies and hummingbirds.

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