The Q&A Archives: Pink Delight Butterfly Bush

Question: This past weekend I purchased 2 of your Pink Delight Butterfly Bushes. I live in Las Vegas, Nv where our summers are brutal. I plan to place these plants next to a wall which gets southwestern exposure. What special steps should I take to make sure the plants will thrive. The nurseryman at Star said they would be fine in this spot. Do you recommend feeding them with Miracle Grow plant food? When you state

Answer: Correct watering is the most important thing you can do for healthy plants. Use the 1-2-3 Rule as an easy method to remember how much to water. Small plants with shallow root systems, such as perennials, veggies, herbs, cacti, succulents have roots that reach about 1 foot deep, so water needs to penetrate that far. When the top 1 inch of soil dries out, it's usually time to water again. Shrubs have root systems that are 2 feet deep so water needs to soak 2 feet deep. When the top 2 inches of soil dries out, it's time to water. Trees are 3 feet, etc. As plants establish root systems, the time between waterings can be lengthened, but it is always essential to water to the same depth. So you are applying the same amount of water with each irrigation regardless of the time of year, but the frequency changes. As warm weather arrives, you need to water more frequently than during winter. A soil probe will help you determine how far water has soaked. It moves easily through wet soil but stops when it hits hard soil. If you have drip or soaker hoses, I?d suggest you let it run for 1 hour, then wait an hour or so (for the water to continue penetrating), then use a sharp stick or pointy thing as a soil probe to determine how far the water penetrated in your soil. For most areas, it's necessary to run irrigation much longer than people would think. The majority of the plant problems we see are because drip isn't running long enough. In improved soil garden beds, such as for veggies, it will soak more readily through the soil than it will in landscape settings.

Also note that sometimes water pressure on soaker hoses will dwindle towards the end, so check that all plants are receiving sufficient water. And, a layer of mulch/compost will conserve soil moisture and reduce the frequency of watering.

Most landscape plants do not need fertilizer their first year. Next spring, use any balanced product formulated for flowering plants. In my opinion, buddleja look better when allowed to grow naturally, rather than shearing like a hedge. That's a personal preference! Trumpet vines are tough and fast growing.

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