Lo & Behold® Ice Chip Butterfly BushBuddleja hybrid 'Ice Chip' (PP#24,015)
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The Lo & Behold® Ice Chip Butterfly Bush is a fantastic dwarf flowering shrub that is the magnet for butterflies, insects and hummingbirds that butterfly bushes are, but it is also a wonderful dwarf summer-flowering shrub in its own right, carrying a profusion of pure-white flower clusters from mid-summer to the first hard frost. The gray-green foliage is the perfect background for those icy-white blooms, and this plant is terrific for slopes, rocky areas, grouped in the foreground of large beds, standing alone in a smaller bed, or in planters or pots. Whichever way you grow it you will love that it is completely sterile, producing no viable seeds or pollen, and therefore safe to plant anywhere at all, without any risk of it spreading into wild areas.
The Lo & Behold® Ice Chip Butterfly Bush should be planted in full sun. Nowhere in your garden is too hot and sunny for it, and once established it is very drought resistant. Well-drained soil is necessary, so don’t plant in low-lying or wet areas, particularly if they are wet in winter. A simple trim in spring is all the care needed, and the flowers simply fade away, already replaced by more, without any dead-heading. Usually free of pests and diseases, and left alone by deer, this plant is a great low-maintenance choice for gardens of any size.
*Available for sale to Oregon and Washington State as ‘Summer Lilac’ or ‘Nectar Bush’.
Summer and into fall are when we spent the most time in our gardens. Spring weather is often uncertain and wet, and it may be July before we are out much, enjoying our gardens. Yet many of the plants we grow in our gardens have finished blooming by then, making summer-blooming shrubs something we should focus on more. In the long summer evenings white blooms look best, glowing brightly when darker colors have faded into the deepening shadows, and bringing a cool look to a hot season. The perfect garden shrub would therefore flower all summer, with white blooms. For low-maintenance, and for those sunny, hot and dry spots in the garden, the perfect plant for that is the Lo & Behold® Ice Chip Butterfly Bush. Compact, long-blooming, and drought tolerant, this is a shrub your garden needs.
The Lo & Behold Ice Chip Butterfly Bush is a broad deciduous bush, reaching between 1½ and 2 feet in height, and spreading well over 2 feet across. It has many sturdy stems, forming a full plant, covered with long, narrow leaves. These are around 4 inches long and a little over one inch wide, tapering to a narrow tip. They are an attractive gray-green color, and they make a perfect backdrop to the beautiful white flowers. The flowers are tiny, but they are gathered into upright cones with about 100 flowers in each one. Each blossom head is 3 inches long, tapering from a base over 2 inches across, forming a fat cone. The flowers have a sweet fragrance, and they attract butterflies, other pollinating insects, and hummingbirds as well, and these visitors make this bush a great attraction in your garden, especially for children.
This plant is a butterfly bush (Buddleja), like the large, spreading bushes most of us know well, with their big, 8-inch cones of flowers. The Lo & Behold Ice Chip Butterfly Bush may have smaller flower clusters, but it makes up for it with their abundance, as the plant is covered from mid-summer to the first hard frost in blossoms, growing from the ends of every branch, and from the numerous side branches as well. Each flower spike lasts 1 to 2 weeks, and as fast as they fade, more new spikes replace them.
You may have heard that the butterfly bush has become an environmental problem, especially in the north-west, and that it has even been banned. This is true, and the reason is the production of seed, which then spreads into wild areas, where the plants outgrow native flowers, threatening their survival. The great thing about the Lo & Behold Ice Chip Butterfly Bush is the complete absence of seeds or even viable pollen. It was developed exactly for that reason, and it can be bought and planted in Oregon and Washington, with the name ‘Summer Lilac’ or ‘Nectar Bush’. As the flowers fade, they simply wither away, and dead-heading is not needed to keep this bush constantly in bloom.
Plant your Lo & Behold Ice Chip Butterfly Bush in a sunny place, in any kind of well-drained soil. Good drainage is important, especially for winter in colder zones. Avoid planting in low-lying areas, or spots where water or snow collect. A raised area or a slope is best. It grows well in sandy soil, and it enjoys heat and sun. Once established it is drought resistant, making it a great choice for low-maintenance summer color, and for hot, difficult parts of the garden. It is also an excellent pick for planters and containers, where its constant blooming hardy needs any accompanying annual flowers – it looks great all by itself. This shrub has no particular pests or diseases, and even deer normally leave it alone. Leave it untrimmed over winter and wait until spring for the appearance of new growth (this plant is a late starter). Once growing buds are visible, remove weak or dead stems, leaving a framework of stronger stems, and cut them back by one-third to one-half, just above a pair of strong buds. That’s the only care needed.
Because of the issue of butterfly bushes spreading into natural areas, James Werner, who is a professor of horticultural science at North Carolina State University, decided to create new hybrid Buddleja plants that were seedless, and could be grown in gardens anywhere at all. An expert plant breeder, he worked with several different species of these plants ( forms of Buddleja davidii, Buddleja davidii var. nanhoensis, Buddleja lindleyana, Buddleja globosa and Buddleja fallowiana). In 2005 he crossed two of the complex hybrid plants he had created, and when the many seedlings flowered in the summer of 2006, he found one that was exactly what he was looking for. Compact for smaller gardens, continuously flowering, and most important of all, producing no seed. After assessing it he was granted a patent in 2013, naming it ‘Ice Chip’. It joined other seedless butterfly bushes he had created in the Lo & Behold® series, part of the Proven Winners®, a division of Spring Meadow Nursery, from Grand Haven, Michigan. The plant you receive is genetically identical to that original seedling and it is will never, ever produce seed. The demand for these new, seedless butterfly bushes is enormous, as you can imagine, so our stock will soon be gone. Order now – this plant really is remarkable.