Butterfly Bush flower
The Butterfly Bush is well named for the large numbers and varieties of butterflies it attracts to your garden. In mid summer, long dense flower clusters appear and are available in colors ranging from deep midnight purple to white, yellow, and pink. It's a deciduous shrub that can reach 10' tall and 8' wide. In colder climates it dies back to the ground, while it is semi-evergreen in areas with mild winter climates. Cut back hard in early spring and you'll be suprised how quickly the shrub leafs out and blooms. It blooms on new wood, so pruning in spring is a MUST.
Light: Full sun/filtered shade
Propagation: Stem cuttings, seeds. Very easy to root from cuttings in warm weather. Plant semi-ripe cuttings in summer, or hardwood cuttings in late spring. Pre-chill seeds for 4 weeks. Needs light to germinate. Surface sow in peaty soil and keep 70-75 degrees, takes 30-90 days for germination.
Soil and Fertility: Moderately rich fertility, and well-drained soil (fairly dry conditions once established). Roots may perish in wet soil
In my opinion, white Butterfly Bush is the favorite of butterflies, while others argue that Black Knight (dark purple) is the favorite. Plant alongside Pentas, Lantana, and Zinnias for non-stop butterfly activity. My first "butterfly garden" was a Black Knight butterfly bush, with parsley planted under it. Black swallowtail butterflies and caterpillars were everywhere.
To prune: Cut back last year's growth to within 3-4 inches of the old wood in early spring.
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