Plant a flowering butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) in your garden to attract lively and colorful butterflies. There are about 100 varieties of these bushes, many of them shrubs. These plants usually grow up to a height of 8 to 14 feet and have a spread circumference of 3 to 15 feet.
The leaves of butterfly bushes are long, lance-shaped (wide at the central portion) and grayish-green in color. The flowers bloom in various shades of orange, white, lilac, purple, pink and lavender from June to July. This bush needs moist, loamy and well-drained soil along with full sun or light shade.
Pests that Attack Butterfly Bushes
Butterfly bushes are one of the excellent choices for welcoming butterflies to the garden. This plant is easy to maintain and it can even tolerate urban pollution. In general, the butterfly bush is rarely attacked by pests or plant diseases.
Even though the butterfly bush has good resistance against pests and diseases, some predators such as wasps, spiders, birds, ants, aphids and flies can threaten it. Japanese beetles, spider mites and a species known as the checkerspot butterfly are also known to attack this plant. Most of the pests can be controlled by the proper and effective use of pesticides.
Treat an infestation of aphids with insecticidal soaps, summer oils and insecticides such as chlorpyrifos, acephate and Malathion. You may need to do follow-up application in the case of oils and soaps. Acephate can effectively kill the aphids that hide below the curling leaves as it shows systemic activity.
Spray acephate directly on the plants after removing the old growth. A single application can work wonders.
Checker Spot Butterflies, Mites and Oleander Scale
Destroycheckerspot butterflies with pesticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki. Treat mites and oleander scale (Aspidiotus nerii) by applying Ultra-Fine® pesticide oil.
Control the attack of genista caterpillars by spraying water or a solution of water and mild dishwashing detergent directly on the plant.
Importance of Regular Pruning
Butterfly bushes are low-maintenance plants. However, regular pruning is important for healthy blooms and also for removing the dead and damaged wood, which may attract harmful pests. If pests attack, immediately remove the infected branches and use an appropriate insecticide. New shoots will probably appear in a few days and the plants survive.
Butterfly bushes also attract bees and hummingbirds to the garden, thus making it more colorful. The plant bears flowers in long clusters, and it is a well-known garden plant because of its vibrant color flowers, fragrance and notable resistance against insects and diseases.