13 August 2012

A Budding Buddleia

Woah. I knew nothing about buddleia until I found one growing in the monarda order received from High Country Gardens. The story started in early February after it began springing up ahead of the new monarda clump planted in the fall, as detailed in my [09.03.2012] post entitled "Name That Plant."

Growth was fast with a number of vertical stalks reaching toward the sky. In their comments, Janet and eu.phorbia were spot on in identifying the mystery plant from the few leaves displayed in my pictures. Once I was convinced it was buddleia, it was moved to an area where it could spread its wings. I have seen some sprawling specimens that were out of control. After its first season of growth, this one is about 4-feet high (1.2 m).

Not wanting a sparse wild plant, I began strategically trimming it several times to encourage some branching and infill. It worked, sort of, but the trimming also delayed flowering so I did not know its color until last month. It still looks a little gangly.

So where are the butterflies? None here. They sure like my zinnias, though. I did not know the buddleia flowers were fragrant (to humans).

I discovered that the plant keeps on blooming since I have been trimming the dead blooms off. I also discovered that this is important to keep the plant from becoming an invasive. King County Washington outlines its Class B Noxious Weed classification.
"It can grow in very challenging conditions, such as cracks in the pavement and along railroads. Invasion of butterfly bush along riversides is especially problematic, because it forms dense thickets, crowds out native vegetation, and disrupts natural succession patterns. A study at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania found that a single flower spike produced 40,000 seeds. The germination rate of several cultivars was 80 percent or higher. Seeds remain viable in the soil for 3 to 5 years. Butterfly bush can re-sprout from the rootstock after it can been damaged or cut down to its base, and the cut stems can grow into new plants."
For The Record:
  • Heavy clay soil with gypsum & organic amendments
  • Partial sun
  • No serious pests/disease
  • Mildly sweet smelling blooms
  • Continuous blooming

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: pink cosmos, mexican zinnia. zinnia, cleome, rudbeckia, rose, green coneflower, green nicotiana
  • Harvested: 1 pepper, 12 tomatoes, 5 cucumbers


Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
Hi Ray, Sorry to see there are no butterflies on your Butterfly bush. Maybe you have more interesting blooms right now. Is your Butterfly bush fragrant too? (Assume you were talking about the zinnias)
My Butterfly bush always looks a bit gangly. It can take really hard pruning in the winter (to 6 -8 inches) which will help it fill out more.
Swimray said...
Yes, the butterfly bush is fragrant. Is that normal? I need to be clearer with my writing.
Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
Yes the Butterfly bushes I have had/seen are very fragrant.
ps- this word verification is getting harder and harder to read. Any thoughts of removing it?