Make Butterfly Bush Fly as Winter Foliage

The butterfly bushes, of the genus Buddleia, are mostly thought of as vigorous shrubs that produce deliciously fragrant flowers in late summer. Though we use a number of them in our mixed borders of our USDA Zone 8 garden for their floral effect, their summer and winter foliage is much less ephemeral.

Though most buddleias are technically deciduous, if given a sharp pruning directly after flowering, the resulting new growth will retain its foliage throughout winter. More than once we’ve had winter visitors mistake these shrubs for eucalyptus—a testament to their foliar effectiveness. One of the most outstanding in this regard is Buddleia ‘Lochinch’, with soft lavender panicles of flowers in mid-July amid lovely silvery gray foliage. Better yet is B. nivea, with cottony leaves and stems of brilliant white felt (its floral attributes are of little merit).

Adapted from Gardening with Perennials from the Editors of Horticulture. Excerpt by Daniel J. Hinkley.

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