Most gardeners know the ever-popular butterfly bush, with its big spikes of pink, red or purple flowers, but for something different but just as easy to grow, plant the wonderful Honeycomb Butterfly Bush, which has spectacular spikes of golden yellow flowers. This totally-new look has thrilled gardeners so much that it was #1 for beauty in a poll of 57 varieties of butterfly bushes. Yellow is a rare color in butterfly bushes, and of those there are, this one is universally seen as the very best. For something completely different – and stunning – in your garden, you simply must have this plant.
Growing Honeycomb Butterfly Bushes
The Honeycomb Butterfly Bush grows into a broad, upright bush 7 to 12 feet tall and 4 to 8 feet wide (depending on how it is pruned). The leaves are large, up to 8 inches long, but narrow, and green with a slight silvery touch. The plant has many upright, arching branches, and an open appearance. It is the flowers, though, that are the headline act. Each flower is tiny, but they are clustered into round head of up to 20 flowers, with many of these clusters arranged in a long flower head about 8 inches in length. These end every branch, making a profusion of blooms, and they are produced month after month from early summer to as late as December in mild areas. The fragrant flowers give off an intoxicating aroma of sweet honey, which is a magnet for butterflies and other nectar-eating insects over a wide area. You won’t believe how many butterflies find your bush, hanging from the bloom to suck the sweet nectar.
Uses in Your Garden
Grow the Honeycomb Butterfly Bush among other flowering shrubs and plants, in a sunny bed. Plant one at the base of a sunny wall, and then tie the branches to the wall as they grow, to make a gorgeous flowering feature. This is especially useful in a small garden, since this plant can grow large. Plant a row to create a spectacular low-maintenance screen along a fence or boundary. Wherever you grow it, you will love this unique and very special butterfly bush.
Planting and Initial Care
The Honeycomb Butterfly Bush is not quite as hardy as most other butterfly bushes, but it is reliably hardy to zone 6, thriving and flowering into early winter in warmer zones. To grow in zone 5, plant in a sheltered, sunny spot, such as at the base of a wall, and cover the lower branches with snow. Usually the plant will re-sprout from the base in spring and grow as much as 6 feet tall in a season. In zone 6 and warmer, it can be planted in any sunny spot, and it thrives in those hot, dry places that can be hard to fill with flowers. It will grow well in poor, stony or sandy soil, and once established it is drought resistant too.
Pests and diseases are not normally a problem at all, and deer usually will leave this plant alone. Prune in late winter or early spring, removing thin and crowded branches and cutting back the stronger ones to just above a pair of buds. For a smaller plant prune back to one or two feet tall. For a larger plant just shorten back the branches by a foot or two, again to just above a pair of buds. Once flowering begins, remove flower heads as they die, to encourage more flowers, keeping the plant blooming for months and months.
History and Origins of the Honeycomb Butterfly Bush
The Honeycomb Butterfly Bush is an interesting hybrid plant between two species. One is a form of the well-known Chinese butterfly bushn (Buddleja davidii) with unusually large purple flower spikes, sometimes called var. magnifica. The other is a species from Argentina, Buddleja globosa, with round, ball-shaped flower heads of orange-yellow. While on leave from World War I, William John Bates van de Weyer, a major in the British Army who lived in Corf Castle, Dorset, achieved gardening fame for being the first person to carry out the very difficult hybridization of these two plants. This was the first time an Asian and South American Buddleja were crossed successfully. The plant he produced made seed, and from that seed several slightly-different yellow-flowering plants were created. The cross is visible in the curious way the long panicles of this plant are made up of smaller round balls, like the flower head of the Argentine plant.
Much later, in the 1960s, at the P. G. Zwijnenburg nursery in the Netherlands, a unique branch, which grew into a superior plant, was discovered on one of those plants, and it was named ‘Sungold’. This plant has been awarded the prestigious ‘Award of Garden Merit’ by the Royal Horticultural Society in England.
The famous American plant expert Michael Dirr, in 1995, bought a slightly superior form of this plant in England and took it back to Georgia. There it was named ‘Honeycomb’, and it is this marvelous and unique plant we are offering here. Our plants are derived directly from Dr. Dirr’s special plant, and they are the best of all the yellow-flowering butterfly bushes. This beautiful shrub excites gardener’s everywhere, whenever they see it, and we know our stock will very rapidly be sold. So order now, or you will spend the summer regretting that you do not have the Honeycomb Butterfly Bush growing in your garden.