Plant Hardiness Zones 5-10
|Buddleja ‘Podaras #4’|
Flowers are the mainstay of all gardens, lawns, yards, patios and balconies everywhere. They bring color, shape and aroma to the spaces around us and few are unmoved by their appearance in spring and summer. There is something out there to meet every need, whether it is vast showy blooms, architectural splendor, heavenly scent or a lure for winged wildlife, and the Buddleia is probably the best known of all plants for achieving the latter like nothing else can. Yet it has not been without problems as the old fashioned varieties were renowned, even infamous, for their invasive spreading nature; after a couple of seasons they could be found growing through a crack in the brickwork, sprouting from the guttering of your home, clogging up the train tracks and costing a fortune to clear up all over the world. So when these seedless varieties were introduced, wildlife loving gardeners breathed a collective sigh of relief; finally the legendary butterfly bush could be welcomed back into rural spaces, and with it would come the butterflies, bees and hummingbirds in their droves. Colorful, charismatic and above all, controllable, this particular example of the new breed gives a lovely dense form, with ethereal silvery foliage that gives the perfect background to the bold and vibrant purple blue flowers come summer.
The Buddleia takes its name after the Reverend Adam Buddle, a renowned English botanist, and is native to a great many regions in the world from the southern United States and Chile to Africa and Asia. The modern seedless varieties are very similar to the older davidii and retain many of the features that are so adored with Buddleia Blueberry Cobbler, adding depth and color to your landscape. This particular example is a mid-sized plant that is easy to care for and contro,l with its foliage remaining compact and manageable and not becoming leggy as some of its cousins tend to. With its green-green silvery leaves, which are somewhat reminiscent of sage leaves, it will grow to around six feet high and often as wide as it is tall, with relatively dense foliage so as to produce a good bush shape. The leaves are long, narrow and plentiful and, thanks to their delicate coloring, provide added interest when touched by the breeze; the sight of the wind flipping the leaves over to expose their paler undersides gives a real sense of movement and life. As the leaves themselves are scented it adds another aromatic dimension that few plants can match.
In the cooler parts of its climate range this is a true deciduous plant, but in the warmer areas you will find it gives almost all year round foliage and behaves very like an evergreen. What makes this really stand out, however, is the explosion of bluish purple flowers that begins at the start of summer and continues unabated until the first frosts of fall. It is a dramatic and bold display of color and scent that will draw huge numbers of butterflies, bees and the absurdly delightful hummingbird to your property.
In return for all of this splendor you will have to do very little, as it does not require all that much special attention. Good drainage is a must, with regular watering also useful especially in times of heat and little rainfall, as although these plants will tolerate dryness they will not be best pleased with you if it continues for very long and equally will punish you will yellowing leaves and drop if the drainage is not sufficient. It is not fussed by the acidity or alkalinity of soils nor does it mind much whether it is sandy or loamy but it does expect at least 6 hours a day of full sun, so be sure to plant somewhere that is not going to be overshadowed in the future by other plants.
When planting out, ensure that the hole you dig means the top of the soil in the pot will be inline with the earth into which you are planting. There is no need for fertilizer, but water well on planting and then every two weeks thereafter or more frequently if particularly dry.
Once all this is done, all you need to do is buy yourself a butterfly identification book, find a comfy place to sit and enjoy the new visitors to your property. The perfect way to spend a quiet summer afternoon.