Buddleia

17 February 2013

I expect I’ll be mentioning  buddleia quite a lot on this blog, as it is such a good plant for supplying butterflies and moths with nectar, but it may not be a bush you are thinking about much at this time of year. February, however, is a good month to cut your buddleia back, as there is time for new growth which will flower in the summer; most buddleias can grow quite large, but can be cut right back, almost to ground level, if you want to reduce their size. I’ve got one I bought as ‘Blue Knight’ (which also seems to be known as ‘Blue Horizon’) which is taller than the shed now, which gives me some problems trying to photograph butterflies on it, so I’m hoping to get it chopped down this month, though time is slipping away.  This is a photo from 2008, when it was smaller.

Red Admirals on buddleia 'Blue Knight'

Red Admirals on buddleia ‘Blue Knight’

Moths will also nectar on buddleias, so, when yours is out, try looking at it with a torch after dark, to see if any moths are present. One moth – the Mullein, will also lay eggs on buddleia, so its caterpillars can feed on the leaves – if you see holes in the leaves, have a look to see if this is what is causing them: it’s quite a pretty green, black and yellow caterpillar, though the adult moth is shades of brown and grey. You may also find these caterpillars on mullein (verbascum) or figwort – I’ve had them on all three in my garden.

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3 Comments to “Buddleia”

  1. Haha, I will cut back mine if I can plow through the snow. It’ll be a while before I can do that here North of Toronto but I do love the butterflies and hummingbirds it attracts. And the kitties love to snooze under it for some reason . . . .

  2. RHS Wisley planted several different buddleia species in their experimental garden last year to test which attracted more native wildlife:

    http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Sustainable-gardening/Plants-for-bugs/The-research-project

    Not sure what they concluded!

  3. How I wish I had a garden! I’d have Buddleia everywhere x

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