Perfume, fun with butterfly bushes
“Does your nose know what my nose knows?” Was the name of a creative article written by an author during my tenure as executive director of the American Rose Society. The reference was to the scent found in roses.
I would like to pass this question on to you and the butterfly bush, or buddleia. My wife, Jan, and I are very much on the same page when it comes to the Pugster strains we grow.
Last year I planted six. Three were moved to sunnier landscapes in the fall. A year later, we experience their delicious scent as much as possible on a daily basis. They are actually the funniest and most enjoyable shrubs I have grown in a long time.
Are these deciduous shrubs or cold hardy perennials?
To add further to the confusion, they all remained evergreen in my Zone 8 garden. But I escaped the bitter cold of Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama.
Do not argue about these matters – just know that you will enjoy the scent, the compact and short habit, and totally appreciate the opportunity to welcome bees, butterflies and hummingbirds like never before.
Best of all, you will find that they are deer resistant. I can attest to this because I was hit quite hard a few weeks ago by deer eating azaleas, hydrangeas and even echinacea. But he left the Pugster Blue alone.
If you haven’t seen a Pugster, you’ll love that they’re compact plants with much of the country being 24 inches tall and 30 inches wide. In the south I see a height of 36 inches and a gap of 42 inches which is just perfect for me. The Pugster is small in size with full-sized flowers. I might even suggest that the Pugster Amethyst Flowers are even chunky.
Pugster Blue is Proven Winners’ National Flowering Shrub of the Year. It will probably be the most intense blue flowering plant you have ever grown. If you look closely, you will notice that each flower has yellow-orange centers. A few days ago I landed an American butterfly lady with her bright orange color to pick some nectar. The contrast of colors that followed was a sheer delight.
The blue is so amazing that I paired Pyromania Orange Blaze Contact Lilies as front yard mates and Suncredible bush sunflower as backyard mates. My Pugster Amethyst has Supertunia Vista petunias as companions in one bed and Orange You Awesome echinacea as companions in another.
These compact buddleias or butterfly bushes are really easy to grow. Give them fertile soil, good drainage with full sun and you will have won the Green Thumb Award. You will no longer need an acre to grow the butterfly bush or a ladder to see the butterflies. If your soil is draining poorly, this is your point of danger – plant on raised beds and even plant a little high with the root ball slightly higher than the soil surface.
There are 5 Pugster colors: blue, amethyst, white, periwinkle and pink, with Pugster Pinker coming next year. They are cold hardy to zones 5 to 9, which means almost anyone can enjoy their beauty.
Your decision will be how to use them. Use them in the flower garden, butterfly garden, and even in containers. Unleash your creative and artistic abilities. You are the Monet of your garden.
This eastern tabby swallowtail visits a Pugster Amethyst buddleia surrounded by Supertunia Vista petunias.
The Pugster Blue Butterfly Bush is the Proven Winners National Flowering Shrub of the Year. Here it is paired with the Pyromania Orange Blaze torch lilies at The Garden Guy.
Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden”. Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.