It’s February 2013 as I start writing this and the butterfly flower bed is sleeping. You can see touches of green under the leaves and bits of brown last summer growth. That was all cleaned out twice, but the oak tree keeps dropping leaves deep into Winter. All that brown will be cleaned out and some new top soil spread and a nice layer of mulch put on top. This garden has been growing for more than 5 years now. I’ve tried 3 times to grow a butterfly bush and every one has died. This summer I’ll try one more time. The other years I planted what looked like dead dormant roots. I think this year I’ll try getting a live looking potted bush from the nursery and see if that will catch on in my little garden. That big healthy gray plant you can see is my lavender. It grows like a weed, smells wonderful all year and some interesting insects visit it in summer. There’s a pretty bottle tree in my garden too, but I’m a bit worried about the glass surviving the 10 degrees winter weather out there tonight.
Read below the progress as this garden wakes up and grows through the Summer to Fall.
Images courtesy of Amazon or the author
My Best Butterfly Garden Plants for 2015
My Best Butterfly Garden Plants for 2014
2013’s Flowers Brought Some Butterflies
Buddleia Black Knight – Butterfly Bush
Buddleia Black Knight Butterfly Bush Oldtimer/Hardy 4 inch pot
This is the Butterfly Bush variety I’ve tried twice before to grow. I love the blackish purple flowers and so do butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. This variety is supposed to be hardy in zones 5-9 and I live in zone 7a; so it should be fine here. I suspect that there is something in the soil the plants didn’t like or maybe I didn’t water them enough. We travel a bit and that can happen. There’s a wonderful plant hardiness zone map on the USDA website CLICK HERE. Just select your state from the dropdown arrow at the top and you get a very clear view of your particular area. It really is a good idea to know your growing area when selecting new plants for the butterfly garden
According to the reviews this bush is not difficult to grow at all; so I’m definitely going to give it another try. You can even order it on Amazon (click on the yellow button) and they will send a live plant in the mail for your garden. Later on this summer I’ll post the results. If it’s already Summer, just keep reading for the rest of the story!
Butterfly Bush Care
Since I have managed to kill 3 butterfly bushes, I am going to be very careful this time to do everything right. I have learned that I must plant it in Spring for my Zone and the soil must be well-drained and enriched with peat moss, leaf mold or compost. In the past, I have used leaf mold from the back yard. This time I’ll get some peat moss, dig a large hole and work the peat moss into the fill dirt.
I have some pests to consider when choosing plants. We have a herd of deer that roams freely though the neighborhood. We also have rabbits, squirrels and ground hogs. On a lower level, our area seems to have been created as one huge ant hill. I have never seen so many ants in my life as live in our yard. We have treated it to get rid of them and it’s better, but they are still there and I have seen aphids on my asters. I’m hoping the butterfly bush won’t be eaten by deer or aphids. According to Rutgers University, the butterfly bush is not bothered by deer. I can’t go spraying the ants and their aphids if I want to enjoy butterflies; so I hope they will not be attracted to the sweet nectar as that could be fatal for a young bush.
For now I’m just waiting for Spring; which can’t be too far away as I saw 6 pairs of robins in my backyard yesterday (February 21)! This picture shows 7 of them. See how well they are camouflaged? I marked 6 of them to make it easier to see them.
An Incomplete List of Butterfly, Hummingbird and Bee Attracting Flowers for Your Garden:
Plants for Butterfly Garden
How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden
Butterflies love red hot orange, pink, purple and yellow flowers and they want them in huge clumps. The hotter the color and the sweeter the perfume, the better they like it. These are some of the best butterfly attracting flowers. Be sure to include at least one of these and you will attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
Videos of the Best Butterfly Garden Flowers