This year The Garden Guy decided to add some dwarf buddleia into his arsenal of pollinator plants. The idea of 3-foot-tall or less buddleias or butterfly bushes seemed like just what the doctor ordered to be able to incorporate them with lantanas, rudbeckias, gaillardia and salvias for a colorful wild Serengeti style backyard habitat. Lo & Behold I have a found a Garden Guy favorite.
I hope you are smiling with my little Lo & Behold segue. There is a brand spanking new selection called Lo & Behold Ruby Chip. Oh my gosh, you will love it for its habit and its nonstop bloom production. It will compete with all of your favorite pollinator plants including salvias. I've felt like nothing could compete with Rockin salvias, but here is this little buddleia always with blooms, always with bees and butterflies, and getting attention from hummers too.
I remember well the first buddleia I saw as a young ornamental horticulturist; it was well over two stories tall. These new buddleias I am growing feel like the perfect complement to the perennial garden. Notice I am talking plural here, even though my new love is Lo & behold Ruby Chip.
I am also growing Pugster Blue and Pugster Amethyst. These are so different you will adore them. Imagine fat pudgy flowers coming from a compact bush that is a handsome dark green. There are six colors and I want them all. I've got the Pugster Blue grown in close proximity to Indian Summer rudbeckia. To be honest sometimes it seems more like intermingled. In another area Pugster Blue is partnered with SunPatiens Hot Coral impatiens for a gawdy but wonderful marriage.
The Garden Guy partnered the Pugster amethyst with the Color Coded Orange You Awesome echinacea and Luscious Marmalade lantana. This was the first to bloom in my garden and immediately brought in the Eastern Tiger swallowtails. The Pugster butterfly bushes come in Blue, Pink, White, Amethyst and Periwinkle and are going to reach 2 feet tall with a 2-foot spread, probably slightly more in the South.
The Lo & Behold group comes in six colors and can vary in size. You'll find Blue Chip, Pink Micro Chip, Ice Chip (white), Lilac Chip, all of which get around 30-inches tall with a 24-inch spread. Ruby Chip gets slightly larger, and Purple Haze is the largest of the group but still a compact 36-by-36-inch habit.
These compact buddleias or butterfly bushes are really easy to grow. Give them fertile soil, good drainage with full sun and you will have garnered the "Green Thumb Award." No longer will you need an acre to grow the butterfly bush. If your soil drains poorly plant on raised beds and even plant a little high with the rootball slightly higher than the soil surface.
Both the Lo & Behold and Pugster groups are brought to you by Proven Winners and cold hardy from zones 5-9 meaning just about everyone can enjoy their beauty. Your decision will be how to use them. Let your creative and artistic abilities loose, you are the Monet of your garden.
(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of, "Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South" and "Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden." Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)
(c)2020 Norman Winter
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