Flutterby Petite® Snow White Butterfly BushBuddleja hybrid 'Podaras #15' (PP#22,143)
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The Flutterby Petite® Snow White Butterfly Bush is a compact deciduous shrub, growing between 2 and 3 feet tall and wide. It has slender green leaves with a soft touch, and from mid-summer – or earlier in warm zones – all the way to the first frost, it is covered in 4-inch spikes of pure white flowers. It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and makes a great shrub for all those hot and dry spots in your garden that are so hard to make green and beautiful. It also grows happily in tubs and planter boxes.
Full sun is best for the Flutterby Petite® Snow White Butterfly Bush, making it bloom like crazy. It grows best in drier, very well-drained places, in light and sandy soils. Once established it is drought resistant, and rarely bothered by pests or diseases. It doesn’t need dead-heading – the flowers just fade away. Prune hard in late spring, just as the new growth is sprouting.
White blooms look so lovely in the garden, and they fit in with every other flower color perfectly. Butterfly bushes are great too – easy shrubs that thrive out in hot, dry spots where other plants can fail. Bring the two together in a bush that doesn’t seed, and so can’t spread into surrounding ecosystems, and what do you have? The Flutterby Petite® Snow White Butterfly Bush. Dwarf’s are an optional extra, but Snow White herself is small, and will bring spikes of blooms from mid-summer right to the first hard frost, on a fast-growing bush that tops out around 3 feet tall. A great filler for gaps that you might have, and perfect for dry-area gardening too. Did we mention the butterflies – well they will come, in profusion, and maybe hummingbirds too? Drawn to them like a magnet, they sip the delicious nectar from those beautiful white flowers, while you and the kids enjoy their company. You can enjoy this bush without concerns about it spreading from seed – because there won’t be any. Even in places like Washington state and Oregon it can be grown, with the name ‘nectar bush’, to avoid any confusion with those big, old-fashioned butterfly bushes that have spread in some areas so badly.
The Snow White Butterfly Bush is a compact deciduous shrub with open branching, growing between 2 and 3 feet tall and wide in a single season. In warm areas, if not pruned, it might reach 5 feet in a few years, but hard spring pruning is recommended. The young stems are slim and gray-green, while older stems are more gray, with peeling bark. The leaves are slender, tapering to a point with toothed edges. They have a soft touch, and they are green with some gray overtones, and about 2 inches long. New growth begins once the weather and soil warm, and it isn’t long before you see flower clusters developing at the end of each branch. These open first, but soon side shoots develop flower clusters too, keeping this bush blooming and blooming from mid-summer all through fall, usually only stopping with a hard frost.
The flower spikes are about 4 inches long, packed with many tiny tubular flowers that are pure white. The soft tones of white, green and gray are very beautiful in any garden, and of course they don’t clash with any other plant color. Individual blooms last just a few days, but more clusters keep coming and coming. When the flowers fade no seed pods are produced and the spent flowers fade away beneath the new growth.
For the front of any sunny bed, in a rock garden, on a slope, at the top of a wall or in a planter box – anywhere in your garden is the right place for this versatile bush. It looks great in front of taller plants, and it mixes with perennial flowers too. Grow it in a planter surrounded by annual flowers, or use it for an edging where a bed meets a path or driveway. There is always a spot for such a versatile and graceful small bush.
This bush is hardy in zone 5, and it grows in all warmer zones. In cooler areas hardiness is connected with dry soil, and sitting in wet soil during winter will increase the risk of winter injury or death.
The more sun the better is how the Snow White Butterfly Bush likes it. Avoid shade, and also avoid wet soil and damp places. Well-drained soils that are sandy and dry are preferred, although most garden soils will grow this plant easily. There is no need to add compost or manure – poor soil is perfectly suitable, and maybe even better. Water regularly for the first few weeks after planting, but once well-established this plant is resistant to dryness and periods of drought.
The Snow White Butterfly Bush is rarely bothered by pests or diseases. It doesn’t need dead-heading, except for neatness, and all it takes to grow it well is a trim in spring. Wait until you see the first signs of growth – this may take a few weeks in colder zones. Once you can see buds and growing leaves, trim back to just above a healthy pair of buds, cutting back to 6 to 12 inches tall, and just leaving a few of the strongest stems. Even if it dies to the ground it will usually re-sprout, and within a few weeks it will be growing vigorously.
Once we realized that the old-fashioned butterfly bush was a problem in some parts of the country, spreading by seed into natural areas and competing with native plants, horticulturists began to look at solutions. Dr. Peter Podaras at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, set up a breeding program to develop non-seeding varieties. He bred together the common butterfly bush, which came originally from China, called Buddleja davidii, with a much rarer species from western China called Buddleja alternifolia. Two different species like this will often produce offspring, but that offspring will be sterile, like the mule. This is what happened, and among the hundreds of plants he grew were some that were attractive, compact for smaller gardens, and sterile. These are gathered together in the Flutterby Petite® range, a registered trademark belonging to Cornell University. The best white variety was patented with the name ‘Podaras #15’ in 2011, and sold as Snow White.
These great new varieties – call them nectar bushes – solve the problem of butterfly bushes being invasive. Now everyone can grow them freely, anywhere in the country. Make your butterflies happy and feel free yourself by growing these great little shrubs. Order now, because the rush is on, and they go out of stock almost as soon as we have them available.