Looking for a guaranteed butterfly and hummingbird magnet? Plant a Butterfly Bush.
Butterfly Bush is fast-growing, deciduous shrub with long, with arching shoots that will reach heights of 6 to 8 feet. It is a large, arching shrub that produces masses of flowers in midsummer to fall. Flower colors include blue, pink, red, violet, yellow, and white, and the shrub grows 5 to 10 feet tall and wide, depending on the variety. Butterfly bushes grow well in shrub or perennial borders, and the fragrant flowers can be used for cutting.
Planting Butterfly Bush is ideal for planting in spring or fall, spacing plants 5 to 10 feet apart depending on the variety. Using a garden fork or tiller, prepare the garden bed by loosening the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. In the pot you’re planting the plant dig a hole twice its size in diameter. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root-ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root-ball and firm the soil gently and remember to water thoroughly.
Each spring, apply a thin layer of compost each spring followed by a 2 to 4 inch layer of mulch to control weeds and retain moisture. Prune back old growth almost to the ground early each spring before any new growth emerges. To nurture butterfly bush through cold Northern winters, spread mulch up to 6 inches deep around the trunk. Plants will die down, but re-sprout in late spring.
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Butterfly bush’s flower spikes are an irresistible lure to butterflies and hummingbirds all summer long. The plants have an arching habit that’s appealing especially as a background in informal flower borders. In warmer climates, butterfly bushes soon grow into trees and develop rugged trunks that peel.
Prior to planting Butterfly Bush, best to check local restrictions first as they can be quite an invasive pest in certain areas.
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