The Q&A Archives: Butterfly Bush

Question: I would like to know as much about a butterfly bush as possible. I planted one this year in April, and it only got about 2 feet tall with only a few flowers. How do I take care of it and do have to do anything to get butterflys to go to it. We have a lot of butterflys but none go to it. Why? I'd apprecitate it if you could tell me anything and everything you can on how to take care of it.

Answer: There are two species of Buddleia - 'alternifolia' the Fountain Butterfly Bush, and 'davidii', the most commonly grown butterfly bush. Alternifolia is a deciduous shrub or small tree (can reach 12 feet tall), with arching branches and profuse blooms from last year's wood. This plant tolerates many soils and grows best in full sunshine. Prune after blooming to remove some of the oldest wood and to encourage new branches which will bloom the following year. Buddleia davidii is a deciduous to semievergreen shrub that grows quickly to 10 feet. This plant needs good drainage and enough water to maintain growth, but little else. The plant blooms on new wood and should be pruned back after flowering. It sometimes takes a full year for a new plant to become established and begin to grow. Once established, expect your butterfly bush to grow vigorously and produce an abundance of blooms. The butterflies will find the plant once it develops lots of fragrant blooms - just be patient!

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