Plants How long do butterfly bushes live

Properly cut, propagate and plant summer lilacs

The Buddleia is known as a wonderful flowering shrub of summer. It is even better known to butterflies, which it owes its dual name butterfly lilac to. Hardly any other ornamental wood is able to attract so many butterflies to its flowers. Buddleia belong to the botanical genus Buddleja at. Judging by its German name, a proximity to the common lilac (Syringa) are suspected. A fallacy, because both plants are not even family related. Of the approx. 140 different species, only a few are used in gardening. There are numerous varieties and breeds that have a special value.

Buddleia grow as summer, winter or evergreen subshrubs or shrubs. They rarely form a tree-like growth. In nature they can be found on river banks, rock and shrub formations in Asia, Africa, North and South America. A large part comes from tropical and subtropical areas, which is why they are cultivated to a limited extent in this country. In terms of horticulture, in addition to the alternate summer lilac (Buddleja alternifolia) and the ball buddleia (Buddleja globosa) especially the numerous varieties of butterfly lilac (Buddleja davidii) Interesting. These cultivars are commonly known as Davidii hybrids.

The fast-growing shrub develops long, curved shoots with opposite lanceolate, pointed leaves. The undersides of the leaves are usually lighter than the tops and show a gray felt. Adult specimens reach a height of up to 3 and a width of almost 5 meters. From summer to autumn, dense panicles of countless fragrant single flowers form at the tips of this year's wood. The conical flower panicles can reach a length of 30 centimeters and more.

The plant characteristics vary greatly between the individual varieties. There is a matching butterfly lilac for almost every wish and home garden. Depending on the variety, flower colors appear in white, purple, red or violet. In mild winters, the leaves stick to the shrub. However, as soon as the frosts become more severe, the leaves and sometimes entire shoots die off. Even if the freezing back seems like a tragedy, the buddleia is extremely pruning and grows back into a lush bush within a year.

Buddleia are quite common in gardens. They enrich woody plantings, form a background in herbaceous borders and make an excellent figure as a solitary (single planting). You can plant butterfly bushes in the lawn so that it can develop its distinctive growth on all sides. Its colorful flowering shoots curve outwards like the tips of a brush. Butterfly lilacs can also be grown in large pots and tubs. Since they remain outdoors all year round, they are a permanent asset and a magnet for butterflies on balconies and terraces.

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How is the buddleia planted correctly?

Buddleia only develop their blooming splendor in sunny locations. If they are too heavily shaded by neighboring shrubs or trees, the flowers will be correspondingly poor. It is preferably planted in spring. The shrub has several months to take root in the site. Autumn plantings are possible, just less advisable. Since you cannot estimate in advance how winter will be, fresh plantings should be protected in autumn. Any normal garden soil that can be warmed up can be used as the soil. Permeable, fertile and sufficient moisture in the growth phase provide the roots with optimal conditions. Soil improvements can mean adding compost to light sandy soils, while coarse sand or gravel promotes aeration in heavily moist soils.

The planting distance depends on the variety-dependent growth habit. Summer lilacs look most beautiful individually, for example in the middle of the meadow or planted under with ground cover in a flat herbaceous bed. In groups with other shrubs, the beautiful, arched growth is only insufficiently effective. It is advisable to give it enough space so that it can fully utilize its growth width.

How do you transplant the Buddleia?

Every garden changes over time and with the demands of the gardener. When remodeling, there is sometimes a need to transplant the shrub. Like planting, transplanting is also done in spring. The planting work is combined with the pruning at the end of winter. A bale is pricked at an angle around the bush with a spade. The plant is excavated and moved to the new location. It is important to ensure that the root ball is preserved and does not disintegrate. For a longer transport, it is recommended to wrap it with a jute sack or a tarpaulin. At the new location, the planting hole is dug out much larger than the bale. The ground is loosened with a digging fork. Loose soil facilitates the subsequent growth and rooting. If nothing has gone wrong with transplanting, the summer lilac will present itself in full size and bloom as usual thanks to its rapid growth.

How do you care for Buddleia?

The care of the buddleia corresponds to the measures of other ornamental shrubs. This includes watering in dry periods and mulching the tree disc with nutritious compost or humus in early spring. In normal winters, Buddleia do not need protection. But severe cold frosts cause the shoots to freeze back to the base. To prevent this frostbite, the base of the bush is covered with pine needles or dry mulch. As long as enough buds remain at the base even after harsh winters, there is nothing to worry about. However, buddleia receive protection in pots. With them, the risk is significantly greater that vessels will freeze through and cause irreparable damage to the base and roots. Coconut mats, jute sacks or frost protection fleece prevent the worst.

Diseases and pests do not have to be feared on Buddleia. However, dry, warm locations can attract red spider mites. Their presence is shown by light to silvery dots on the leaves. If the summer weather suddenly turns cool and damp, a white coating indicates powdery mildew.

How to cut Buddleia

The Buddleia only retains its beauty if it is cut annually. The cold season leaves clear traces on the shrub. Fortunately, the Buddleia will grow back by summer and bloom on the new wood. In terms of pruning, this means that the shrub is cut off fairly close to the ground at the end of February. Three to five buds secure the new growth on the shoots. This radical cut also applies to summer lilacs in pots.

How do you propagate Buddleia?

Cultivars of buddleia are easiest to propagate by cuttings in late spring. The half-twisted shoot tips usually take root without any problems. If you missed the time, you can multiply the buddleia in autumn with stick veins.

What is the use of Buddleia?

Butterfly lilac is an easy-care shrub that, depending on the variety, grows manageably large. It is ideal for smaller home gardens or as a background for perennial beds in late summer. The ornamental shrub comes into its own when the surrounding perennials are no higher than a meter. With its expansive growth it takes over the leading position in the plantation. The summer lilac can be easily combined with various grasses and asters. It is also suitable for planting slopes and embankments. In the pot or tub, the buddleia remains smaller due to the limited root space. If the tub planting is open on all sides, the buddleia forms a beautiful symmetrical growth. Admirable and decorative on the edge of larger terraces.

What types of Buddleia are there?

Three species or many cultivated varieties are common in the Buddleia.

  • Buddleja alternifolia - Strongly overhanging and arching species with tufted flower panicles. Can be combined well with climbing roses.
  • Buddleja davidii - Original species of the countless Davidii hybrids with long conical flower panicles with a wide range of colors from white to dark purple
  • Buddleja globosa - Rare yellow-orange blooming species, which in this country is cultivated more as a container than a garden plant