When it comes to easy summer-flowering shrubs, the butterfly bush is almost impossible to beat. Flowering from late spring or early summer all the way to the first hard frost, it is a guarantee of continuous color, even during hot, dry weather. The name of this plant is very true – butterflies and other insects are attracted to it in huge numbers, so there can often be several butterflies on every flower spike. Children and adults love to look at these beautiful creatures as they dart about, and lovers of nature know that the butterfly bush is a valuable source of nectar that helps keep local populations of butterflies well fed. On top of that, the sweet honey fragrance of these plants fills the air around them, and the unique, jewel-like brilliance of the flowers is charming. The rich, intense shades of pinks, purples and blues that are found only in the butterfly bush, standing out against the muted, soft green of the foliage, bring a unique look to the garden you will love.
The only problem is, most of the traditional butterfly bush varieties are large, well over 6 feet tall, and often even taller. They take up too much room in a smaller garden, and they are too tall for anywhere but the back of beds, where it can be hard to appreciate the intricate beauty of the flowers. For that reason, the arrival of the Pugster Pink Butterfly Bush in gardens is exciting, because here is a plant with big flower spikes in a delicious lavender pink, just like some of the classic varieties, but on a plant that is dense and compact, growing only 2 feet tall and spreading to around 3 feet across. This makes it perfect for smaller spots in the garden, the front of bigger beds, and of course for planters and pots too. To add to its charm, the flower spikes are more upright, so they show well above the foliage, and a plant in bloom makes a wonderful show – for months and months.
Growing the Pugster Pink® Butterfly Bushes
The Pugster Pink Butterfly Bush is a compact, deciduous shrub, with sturdy branches and a dense structure. The leaves are 6 inches long and 1½ inches wide, shaped like the tip of a spear, with a long, tapering tip. They are soft green on the upper surface, which is textured, with very fine hairs on it, and gray-green on the underside. The flower spikes are carried at the end of each shoot, and they are 5 inches long, and 2½ inches wide, like fat, tapering cones, slightly bent over at the end. Each spike contains thousands of tiny flowers, which are a dense, sparkling deep lavender-pink color, and they open from the bottom of the spike upwards. Each spike is in bloom for 3 to 4 weeks. As the flowers are finishing, you will already see new side shoots developing below them, with new flower spikes forming, so this wonderful bush just keeps on flowering and flowering, and always looks terrific – to you and to those butterflies.
Planting and Initial Care
Grow the Pugster Pink Butterfly Bush in full sun, in well-drained soil of any type, including sandy soils. Water your new plant twice a week for the first couple of weeks, then once a week for a month or two. After that it will be established, and it not only survives dryness, it revels in it, producing more and more flowers. Avoid shade and wet areas, as wet soil can cause winter death, especially in the cooler zones. As flower spikes fade, cut them off just above the developing side shoots, or above the first pair of full-sized leaves, if no shoots have yet developed. This will prevent seeding and encourage more and more flowers. In spring, as soon as you see new shoots forming, remove any dead branches and any thin, weak ones. Cut back the remaining sturdy branches to about 12 inches above the ground. This pruning will keep your plant healthy and bushy, with lots of new growth and an abundance of flowers. This plant has no significant pests or diseases, and deer usually leave it alone. It is also very cold hardy, making it a very reliable perennial shrub in colder zones, where some other varieties of butterfly bush die over the winter.
History and Origins of the Pugster Pink® Butterfly Bushes
The butterfly bush, Buddleja davidii, grows in China and Tibet, among rocks and on rough ground. It was discovered and brought to Europe by a French missionary and naturalist, Pere Armand David, in 1869. Many new colors were bred, and since other species of Buddleja were often used, all plants today are hybrids. In recent years there has been a lot of publicity about the danger of growing this plant, and its tendency to escape into the wild, and choke out native plants. This is certainly true in the north-west, and in some hotter states, but in all the cooler areas it is normally unable to germinate successfully, and so cannot spread. Anyway, it is easy to prevent seeds forming by trimming, and that way there is zero risk of it escaping your garden. The Pugster Pink Butterfly Bush was developed by Timothy Wood, of Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc, in Spring Lake, Michigan. He pollinated a purple-flowered dwarf Buddleja called Soda Pop™ (‘UCONNBD610’ – bred at the University of Connecticut) with pollen from an older variety called ‘Pink Delight’. Among the seedlings produced was a wonderful plant – dense, bushy and low, but spreading, with big flower spikes standing up above the foliage. He called it ‘SMNBDO`, patented it in 2017, and it is sold today as Pugster Pink®.
The advantages of a dwarf butterfly bush with the traditional large flower spikes is obvious, and the demand is huge for this new variety. Order now, as we know our plants will be gone very soon.