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perennial

Alternate Leaf Butterfly Bush

Buddleia alternifolia

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Alternate Leaf Butterfly Bush (Buddleia alternifolia) at Salisbury Greenhouse and Landscaping

Alternate Leaf Butterfly Bush flowers

Alternate Leaf Butterfly Bush flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  12 feet

Spread:  12 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  6b

Other Names:  Fountain Butterfly Bush, Weeping Butterfly Bush

Description:

A sizeable garden shrub with showy purple-blue flowers in late summer when little else blooms, and attracts butterflies; may treat as a perennial and cut it back to the ground each spring as it regrows vigorously and blooms on new wood

Ornamental Features

Alternate Leaf Butterfly Bush features showy panicles of fragrant lilac purple flowers at the ends of the branches from mid summer to mid fall. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its tomentose narrow leaves remain green in colour throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Alternate Leaf Butterfly Bush is an open multi-stemmed perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cut back to the ground in late winter before active growth resumes. It is a good choice for attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Alternate Leaf Butterfly Bush is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Alternate Leaf Butterfly Bush will grow to be about 12 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 feet. It tends to be leggy, with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and should be underplanted with lower-growing perennials. Although it is technically a woody plant, this fast-growing plant can be expected to behave as a perennial in our climate if planted outdoors over the winter, usually regrowing from its base (crown) the following year. As such, gardeners should take into consideration that it will perform differently than it would in its native habitat.

This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under typical garden conditions. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is not originally from North America.

Alternate Leaf Butterfly Bush is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden. Be aware that in our climate, most plants cannot be expected to survive the winter if left in containers outdoors, and this plant is no exception. Contact our store for more information on how to protect it over the winter months.

This plant is not reliably hardy in our region, and certain restrictions may apply; contact the store for more information.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Massing  Garden  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features