Pollinators love Silver Fountain butterfly bush Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, June 07, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

One of the largest pollinator shrubs for western landscapes is Plant Select’s Silver Fountain butterfly bush (Buddleja alternifolia ‘Argentea’). When in bloom, thousands of lavender flower clusters explode every couple inches down the tips of cascading branches. This large plant can resemble the finale of a fireworks display when planted in full sun. In shadier situations, the curvature of sun lusting branches offers a mystic or spooky appearance. Each planting can be unique depending on placement, maintenance and maturity, but in all situations, the massive number of flowers will attract bees and several species of butterflies. The quarter-inch tubular flowers with darker violet centers radiate out in clusters at every leaf node making the Silver Fountain butterfly bush a show-stopping garden plant from mid-May to mid-June. The nectar from these pleasantly fragrant flowers is enjoyed by monarchs and several species of swallowtails.

Silver Fountain butterfly bush is superior to traditional butterfly bushes (Buddleja davidii) because of its USDA Zone 4 hardiness, higher soil pH tolerance and higher drought tolerance. In smaller gardens, continually prune this shrub up so it does not block the irrigation to other plants. As a bonus, this practice allows space to create a 10x10 foot shade garden below the canopy. Timing pruning is very important for maximum flower bloom. Prune/shape before July each year after blooming. Flower buds are set in the fall on new growth that occurs in the summer. Pruning early spring will rob the plant of May flowers. Flowering stems and branches are white to tan in color with bunches of small narrow blue-gray leaves that offer fine texture. Winter snow loads have never been an issue for these flexible narrow branches, and one can almost guarantee a spectacular floral display with minimum maintenance in a Colorado garden. Plant Select began promoting Silver Fountain butterfly bush in 1998. It should be far more prevalent in Front Range landscapes and wide street medians. Get one at your favorite Plant Select nursery source. See the complete article in Colorado Green magazine.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green Now:
Get ready for pollinator week
GreenCO legislative update – 2022 session

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