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Butterfly bushes

What to know before planting one in your garden

Gardeners are asking for plants that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. When you find a plant that attracts all three, it’s time to evaluate whether to plant it in the garden.

Butterfly bush,or Buddleia,is always a favorite and can be a wonderful summertime treat with showy and fragrant flowers. The difficulty is that most older varieties get so big it’s often difficult to find a spot to plant them in many smaller urban gardens. Then along came many great dwarf varieties like Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip,’ Lo and Behold ‘Pink Micro Chip,’ Lo and Behold ‘Purple Haze’ and quite a few more. The problem with some these new dwarf varieties in our area, is that they seem to have smaller flowers than regular butterfly bushes, and the plants last only a few years. Fortunately, the new butterfly bush on the block, Pugster Pink, seems to have solved those issues.

Pugster Pink butterfly bush has large, pink, fragrant flowers, grows only about 2 feet tall and blooms all summer. It appears to have better winter survivability than some of the dwarf varieties because it has thicker and more robust stems. 

Keep SELF-SEEDING in mind. Butterfly bushes that produce seeds can be invasive in some areas. Some butterfly bushes are sterile and therefore do not produce seed. Before planting a butterfly bush, find out if the variety you want to plant is sterile, and check out your local invasive plants list to find out what plants are banned or considered a high, medium or modest threat in your area. This information can help you decide if planting a dwarf butterfly bush like Pugster Pink is right for you.

SHELLY NOLD is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.

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