blue butterfly - Knowledgebase Question

Manteca, CA (Zone 7A)
Question by hall4jockey
September 4, 2006
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Answer from NGA
September 4, 2006

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Blue butterfly bush is an open and sprawling evergreen shrub that gets up to 10 ft tall and wide, but is easily kept much smaller. It has opposite leaves that are egg shaped, strongly toothed and about 3-4 in long. The inflorescences, borne at the ends of long arching branches, are panicles 4-10 in long composed of individual flowers about 1 in long, each with three pale blue lobes and one violet blue lobe. The flowers look like little butterflies in two different shades of blue and are produced more or less continuously throughout the summer and fall.

Grow this clerodendrum in partial shade. Water freely in growth but reduce watering in winter. Blue butterfly bush performs best in a frostfree climate, but it is root hardy in zones 8 and 9, freezing to the ground in winter, but returning from its roots in spring.

Use blue butterfly bush as a small stand alone specimen or in a mixed border. Prune back this gangly shrub as needed to keep it in check. Clerodendrums flower on the current season's growth, so you can prune them anytime. Cut back the old wood to a pair of buds to improve flowering. In areas that get frost, you can get the most consistent flowering year in and year out by growing blue butterfly bush in a large pot that can be brought indoors when temperatures approach freezing.

Enjoy!

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