Why we love it: Butterfly bush is a winner in any color with its nectar-rich blooms that bedazzle butterflies. ‘Miss Ruby’ takes the game to a whole new level with her deep pink flowers. Butterfly bush is low maintenance and easy growing. In regions with freezing winters, prune in spring, cutting back to 6 to 12 inches tall.
Pruning causes plants to produce new growth, which is tender and highly vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Wait to prune shrubs, including butterfly bush and caryopteris, until spring, when all danger of frost has passed. At that point you can remove any winter killed branches. In future years, aim to get pruning done by late August, so plants have time to harden off before freezes arrive.
If you think you know butterfly bush, think again. ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ has outstanding qualities, including fragrance, continuous blooming without deadheading, non-invasive and drought tolerant. Of course, it also attracts butterflies by the dozens. It grows to a tidy 18 to 30 inches tall and wide—a perfect size for edging a bed or walkway. Hardy in Zones 5-9. Called “summer lilac” in Oregon and Washington, where it is approved for sale.
Japanese beetles love the soft tissue of flower petals, whether it’s butterfly bush, roses or purple coneflower. These eating machines can destroy beautiful blooms, turning pretty petals into raggedy, rotting messes. To get a handle on Japanese beetles, knock individual bugs into soapy water. They lay eggs in moist lawns, so cut back watering from late June to late July, when beetles are mating (check with your local extension office for precise timing for your area). Don’t hang Japanese beetle traps—they’ll only lure more beetles to your yard than you already have. Use caution with systemic pesticides, which you water into soil for roots to absorb and move through an entire plant. If the active ingredient is imidacloprid, this chemical has been implicated in bee colony collapse disorder.
If you crave a butterfly bush but lack the elbow room these sprawling shrubs need, this miniature is for you. Plants form a mound 24 to 30 inches tall and wide. This small butterfly bush beckons pollinators, resists deer and won’t self-sow all over your yard. Hardy in Zones 5-9. Botanical name: Buddleia ‘Blue Chip’
Rollins' garden is a wonderful balance of control in her boxwood-anchored raised beds, and crisp white lattice mixed with daisies, hydrangea and butterfly bush to lend a wild, whimsical air to the space.
Roses, butterfly bush, Japanese maple and a vine-swathed fence give this patio privacy and create a bright oasis for the backyard. Landscape designer Pam Berstler used four redwood posts and decomposed granite flooring to define a sitting area within the small garden.
As you shift snow to clear walks and driveways, take care to place it where it won’t crush woody plants, like roses and shrubs. If you live in a snow-prone region, you might want to fill areas where you or the local snowplow toss snow with perennials and shrubs you cut back in spring, like butterfly bush, Russian sage and beautyberry.
Why we love it: Bluebeard brings on the late season color with royal blue blossoms. Flowers cover branches so thickly they form a blue haze, which is why it’s also known as blue mist spirea. Flowers in late summer and early fall provide a convenient food source for migrating butterflies. Shrubs grow 2 to 3 feet tall and up to 4 feet wide.
Wrap plants and smaller trees. To provide plants with extra protection from the wind and cold, the National Association of Landscape Professionals suggests wrapping them in burlap or a frost protection fabric and planting them along a building or fence that offers wind protection. Many plant varieties, like roses, butterfly bushes, hydrangeas and crape myrtles, can be damaged by sub-freezing temperatures.
This gravel pathway winds through the serenely landscaped, terraced gardens that cover this home's property, connecting the upper spaces with the lower patio and entertaining space. Guests can stop at any point on this path and enjoy the beauty of the butterfly garden all the shrubs and bushes and stone, this garden feels as if it were found, naturally occurring rather than created by a skilled team of designers.
Why we love it: If you only have room for one summer flowering shrub, choose this one. The flower spikes release a sweet fragrance and butterflies, hummingbirds and other insects mob the blooms. Leaves turn gold hues in fall.
This native plant has it all: fragrance, fascinating flowers, red fruit, pretty fall color and winter interest. Sugar Shack Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis ‘SMCOSS’) reduces the large native to a size that fits most yards. Flowers appear through summer and attract all kinds of pollinators, including butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Several butterfly species lay eggs on buttonbush, so don’t be surprised if you spot caterpillars munching leaves. Plants grow to shrub size, reaching 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-10.
Crank up the midsummer garden with the sweetly fragrant blooms of ‘Crystalina’ summersweet (Clethra alnifolia). A native shrub, summersweet attracts all kinds of pollinators, including butterflies. Plants are deer-resistant and, unlike the true native Clethra, 'Crystalina' does not sucker and take over the yard. Grows 30-36 inches tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9.