Zone 4 Butterfly Bush Options – Can You Grow Butterfly Bushes In Cold Climates?
The cold climate zones are divided into four categories: Arctic, Subarctic, Alpine and Tundra. Each one has its own unique characteristics. For example, the arctic zone is characterized by high temperatures with little or no precipitation. The subarctic zone is characterized by low temperatures with frequent snowfall and extreme cold weather conditions. The alpine zone is characterized by moderate temperatures with occasional rainfall. Finally, the tundra zone is characterized by very cold temperatures and extremely harsh winter conditions.
These zones have different types of plants suitable for them. Some species thrive in the subarctic or arctic zones while others flourish best in other zones. Plants grown in these climates will need special care if they are to survive the winters.
In addition to the plants that thrive in each type of climate, there are some species that do well even when growing in warm climates. These include many annuals such as dandelions, blueberries and raspberries; and perennial herbs like thyme, lavender and rosemary. There are also certain trees that grow well year round including maple, birch and ash. They all provide shade for their neighbors so they don’t get scorched too badly during the summer months. When the freezing winter winds arrive, the bare stems of these trees allow them to withstand the cold temperatures.
When choosing plants for your yard it is important to choose plants that are well adapted to the climate you live in. Speak with a local nursery or gardener about what plants will grow best in your area.
Caring for plants grown in cold climates is very different from those grown in warm or temperate ones. Since the days are shorter and temperatures colder, the plants don’t grow as quickly or as tall. The best time to prune them is in late fall or early spring before new growth begins to emerge. Overwatering can cause the plant’s roots to rot so water them infrequently but deeply. Use a good quality organic fertilizer to give them a boost in the spring.
After you have watered and fertilized your plants, mulching around them will help keep the weeds down and keep moisture in the soil. You can use hay, shredded leaves, grass clippings or even wood chips for this purpose. Avoid using materials like coal ashes, sawdust or shingles since these decompose very slowly and may actually burn your plants if applied too thickly.
Butterfly Bush Growing Guide
Butterfly bushes bloom for a long period of time and the flowers are very colorful. These plants are easy to recognize due to their symmetry and vibrant colors. Native to the United States, butterfly bushes prefer growing in zones 3-9 and do not tolerate frost. There are over twenty species and subspecies of butterfly bushes which differ in color, size, leaf type and growth habit. Most species of butterfly bushes can be pruned into shrubs or vines.
The best way to start growing a butterfly bush from seed is to place the seeds in a container filled with moist soil. Place the container in a warm area that receives full sunlight. Seed should begin to grow in 2-4 weeks.
Once the seedlings are strong enough, it is time to transplant them into larger containers or into your yard. Transplanting can be tricky so it is best to learn how when they are small. Gently dig a hole 2-4 inches away from the seedling and slowly move it into the hole. Fill in the hole with soil and lightly pack it around the stem of the plant. Water the soil until it is soaked but not dripping wet.
Plant the bush in a sunny location in your yard that has well draining soil. Most species of butterfly bushes prefer soil that has a pH level between 6.5-7.0. If your soil’s pH is not in this range, you can add soil to raise it or use an ash-based pH lowering agent to bring it down.
Once the bush is planted, water it well and add supplement fertilizer around the base of the bush. The type of fertilizer will depend on the type of plant you have. In most cases, a slow release 10-10-10 is sufficient.
Butterfly bushes generally grow to be 3-6 feet tall and tend to have a sprawling growth habit. It is best to prune them early in life to control their growth. After planting, wait 2-3 years then prune them back hard to around 6 inches above the soil line. This will cause new stems and branches to form and result in a fuller bush.
Butterfly bushes are very drought tolerant but seem to look their best with regular watering. It isn’t necessary to do it often but a good soaking 2-3 times a month will help them produce more flowers.
Butterfly bushes can be propagated easily from cuttings, just take a 3-4 inch cutting from a stem and stick it in moist soil. Once the stem develops roots, it is ready to be planted in its permanent location.
After your butterfly bush is established, it will thrive for years with a little love and care. If you want a drought tolerant plant that adds color to your yard, a butterfly bush is right for you.
Butterfly Bush Pests
There are a few pests that like to chew on or just plain attack your butterfly bush. The good news is, most of them are easy to control and all of them can be eliminated.
Butterfly Bush Leaves Are Ingrown With Maggots
If you notice that the veins in your butterfly bush’s leaves are growing large green maggots, there is nothing to worry about. This is a process that has occurred naturally and is very common in the life of your butterfly bush.
This situation is most likely caused by the scolytidae family of beetles. The maggots will begin to feed on the leaves while they are still very young. However, if you notice that the veins in some of the leaves contain large amounts of brown dust, you will need to take measures to stop the infestation.
If you find that your leaves contain this dust, you need to take the following steps to remove the population of beetles:
Treat the soil with a solution of Sevin. This kills the maggots that are actively feeding underground. Place a layer of plastic over the bushes and seal it completely with tape. This traps the scolytidae inside so they cannot escape to other plants or outdoors. They will eventually die and you can dispose of them.
After you have performed steps 1 and 2, monitor the bush closely. If you see any new infestations take place, repeat steps 1 and 2. It is very important to eliminate all of the beetles as soon as possible. Leaving even one can cause the infestation to start over again.
Butterfly Bush Has A Hole Chewed Through The Middle
If you notice that the middle of your butterfly bush has a hole completely chewed through it, with very little green showing through, you have rabbits to blame. Rabbits love the taste of most butterfly bushes and will happily feast on them. Using rabbit repellant is not always effective but there are a few tricks that can help you.
The most common form of rabbit repellant is a motion sensitive sprinkler. These devices will detect movement by sensing changes in air pressure. They then spray an irritant such as water or a heightened concentration of a herbicide (like vinegar).
Rabbits are less likely to chew through a bush if they know that the plant is dangerous to them. While rabbits do seem to be less affected by taste than other animals, they are generally wary when it comes to new foods. By making your plants taste bad, rabbits will be deterred.
Rabbit repellant can be purchased pre-mixed or as a concentrated formula that you can mix yourself. If you want to go this route, make sure that you read and follow all of the instructions. Also, test the formula on a part of the bush that is not vital first to make sure that it won’t harm the plant.
Butterfly Bush Is Attacked By Slugs
The last pest that is likely to attack your butterfly bush is the slug. These pests crawl around at night and will literally eat holes through the leaves of your bush. They also contain a poisonous substance that can be passed onto people or pets that eat the plants. This is especially dangerous for babies.
Preventing slugs from attacking your butterfly bushes is fairly simple. Use a special type of barrier that is non-toxic to the plants. These barriers are designed to keep slugs out and are relatively inexpensive.
If you don’t want to spend the money on these types of barriers, you can also use old corn cobs, crushed egg shells or small coffee grounds. If you go this route, you will need to reapply the material every few days since the rain will probably wash it away.
Butterfly bushes are fairly low maintenance plants and they do not require a lot of attention. By following the guidelines in this article, you will be able to keep your bush healthy and pest free.
– republished by Blog Post Promoter
Sources & references used in this article:
Production and invasion of Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) in Oregon by J Ream – 2006 – ir.library.oregonstate.edu
The Invasive Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush) by NG Tallent-Halsell, MS Watt – The Botanical Review, 2009 – Springer
Something’s bugging butterfly bush in Tasmania by DJ Kriticos, KJB Potter – … Management Society of South Australia Inc …, 2006 – sites.cabi.org
Evaluation of 14 butterfly bush taxa grown in western and southern Florida: II. Seed production and germination by SB Wilson, LK Mecca, JA Gersony, M Thetford… – …, 2004 – journals.ashs.org
Impacts of an invasive shrub, Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush), on plant succession on New Zealand floodplains by NG Tallent-Halsell – 2008 – digitalscholarship.unlv.edu
Create a butterfly garden by S Lamb, S Chambers, N Allen – 2002 – ir.library.oregonstate.edu
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Thermal influences on oviposition in the montane butterfly Euphydryas gillettii by EH Williams – Oecologia, 1981 – Springer
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