Butterfly Bushes definitely live up to their name. I have a dozen of these bushes scattered through out the backyard and my children and I love watching the butterflies flit from bush to bush.
I think I would enjoy these hardy plants even if they didn’t attract so many butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. They require very little water, do not mind poor soil, are unfazed by 100 degree heat, and can survive –20 degree winters. Around here they are known as easy keepers!
The bushes in my backyard, die back to the ground in the winter. I have a microclimate which is a little warmer in the front yard and the bushes there remain green year round. I advise putting several inches of mulch around the plants in the fall if you live in zones 4 – 6, to help them weather the winter.
I have bushes with pink, white, and lavender flowers, though none of the white flowers have opened yet. They remind me of lilacs with all of their little trumpet flowers. They differ from lilacs, in that they do not have a short flowering season. They will bloom from spring to fall, unless they are under unusual stress. Once the temperatures reach the mid 90’s my Butterfly Bushes stop producing new flowers. They resume once the temperatures drop back to the 80’s.
In the picture above, is a spent flower, flanked by two blooming spikes, with another flower beginning to form lower on the branch. I think the spent flowers still look pretty, so I leave them for a while.
The flowers start opening from the base and work their way to the tip of the spike. They do not drop their blooms once they are done flowering, so they must be pruned. I don’t think there is any agreed upon way to prune Butterfly Bushes, though most gardeners agree that they are very forgiving and will survive just about any pruning they receive.