Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Best Buddleja for Butterflies?

The 'butterfly bush' Buddleja davidii, an import from China that has become firmly established in the wild in Britain, is famed for its ability to attract butterflies. Unfortunately its flowering time does seem to be shifting ever-earlier - as a result of climate change, according to some experts who I've talked to - and its certainly the case that there were very few butterflies on the wing when the plants in my garden were at the peak of flowering back in the summer. In contrast, this orange late-flowering hybrid, Buddleja x weyeriana (a hybrid between B. davidii and B. globosa) - has been feeding red admirals, commas and small tortoiseshells (not many of the latter around this year) since early September and will be providing bees and butterflies with nectar right up until the first frost. This shrub is the 'last chance saloon' for an energy  top-up in my garden: highly recommended.




15 comments:

  1. Yes, I have also noticed the earlier flowering as I have several in my garden which are now really good shaped trees and are covered with blooms in early summer...but seem to finish much earlier too.
    Thank you for the information about "Sungold" I shall make a point of getting it into my garden as everything I grow is directed at wildlife.
    Ellen.

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  2. I too have noticed this earlier flowering in my own garden, so am grateful to hear of this late flowering hybrid, which I shall aim to get into my wildlife garden.
    Ellen ( you may get a comment from me twice as I wrote one and then it seemed to disappear...blogger playing tricks!)

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  3. I have not seen an orange buddleja here. We are fortunate because there are butterflies throughout the year in the gardens here :)

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  4. I have both davidii (lots) and globosa but not this hybrid - I must keep a look out for it. Thank you.

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  5. I was unaware of this hybrid Phil, thank you for letting us know about it, I shall search one out.

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  6. Interesting post - in London the 'wild' Buddleja davidii still seems to be flowering, albeit not at it's peak, but there are still one or two flower spikes on larger bushes. You may be interested in a post I wrote about this plant: http://thestreettree.com/2011/09/25/buddleia-an-urban-barometer/

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  7. I love the buddleja. It's so easy to grow and so generous. According to the RHS plant finder the intriguing sounding Birkheads Secret Gardens is a stockist of Buddleja x weyeriana. I've never been there but I do like the sound of this plant.

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  8. Hi Ellen, It's a really useful shrub that really comes into its own when most other flowers are finishing..

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  9. Hi lotusleaf, the peak time for quite a few of our garden butterflies is late summer and there are still a few around right up until the first frosts - best wishes, Phil

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  10. Hi Scriptor Senex, If you can find someone who has one it roots quite easily from cuttings...

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  11. Worth looking out for Toffeeapple - I've has mine for about 20 years

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  12. Hi thestreettree.com - B.davidii seems to have a shorter flowering period up here in the NE..

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  13. Hi Dougie, if you grow it as a standard it develops quite an attractive gnarled trunk....

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  14. My buddleia, which sowed itself, is only just beginning to flower now.

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    Replies
    1. Mine too, and it will be over before the peak emergence of late summer butterflies. This hybrid blooms non-stop from from late August until the first frosts

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