Ellen's Blue Butterfly Bush?

treehugger101August 1, 2014

I am looking for one 4-6' very fragrant butterfly bush for zone 6 that butterflies adore. I would appreciate any suggestions. I am considering Ellen's Blue. I have seen butterfly bushes completely ignored by butterflies and even bees so the name is misleading. Thanks for your suggestions.

Terri

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Ellen's Blue is the best butterfly bush I've ever had, and I've had mine for quite a few years. It's tall, but not huge, so I can reach the top of it to dead head the spent blooms. In spring, it makes LONG panicles, then continues to bloom all year long with shorter panicles of flowers, but still as attractive to butterflies. Of course, if there are no butterflies in your area, it doesn't matter what you plant, none will visit your nectar plants.

Here are some pictures -

Sherry

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 2:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
treehugger101

Sherry, WOW! That is exactly what I wanted! Now we can just hope it makes it through PA's wet Winters. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 2:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Plant it in a raised bed!! My butterfly bushes wouldn't survive the winters down here, either, and I couldn't understand it, because our winters are mild. Then I read that they can't tolerate the constant wetness of winter, which we have. Once I quit planting them directly in the ground and started planting them in raised beds, they all survived.

I've got another one I just planted that I think I'm going to like called Miss Molly. It's got dark magenta blooms.

Sherry

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 5:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
treehugger101

Sherry, I just bought 2 quart size bushes. What about putting each one in a 15 or 29 gallon pot? I grow fruit trees in those sizes and berry bushes and everything has always done well. What do you think? Which size?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 5:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I've found that it's a bad idea to put a small plant in a great big pot. The soil retains too much water without there being roots to fill it up, and then the roots rot. Since butterfly bushes are so prone to that, I wouldn't do it, at least just yet.
I'd pot them up one size pot at the time. Of course, you'll need a lot of different size pots, but, if you're a plant nut like most of us, you probably have them already.

My butterfly bushes aren't that much higher than the surrounding ground, so, if it's at all possible, if I were you, I'm make a raised bed and plant them a few inches above the ground. It makes all the difference.

Sherry

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 5:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
treehugger101

Since I want this is a specimen bush, I don't want to make wood raised beds but I can't see how to raise it up a few (3?4?) inches otherwise. What do you think about just mounding the soil up a few inches? Or do you have any other ideas?

I really appreciate your help!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 6:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Catgirl18

Sherry, your Ellen's blue butterfly bush is gorgeous! I have 2 Black Nights and one pink (don't know name) bush. The butterflies love both. They have done great in my pa zone 5/6 yard. It was a very cold wet winter this year and they did die completely to the ground this year (first time ever), so they are a little smaller than usual and one is a little floppy. But they are doing well and flowering.

I just so wish the monarchs would come back :(. Because I just learned (from this forum) that Asclepia tuberosa is not a favorite of the monarchs, I will plant something different next year. I just didn't know because when I first planted it 4 summers ago, it attracted monarchs and they laid eggs and I was able to raise about 8 cats both that year and the next. To bad they haven't been back since.

Cathy

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 2:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Treehugger, you could mound the soil up, but the soil will wash away, and I don't know what the result of that would be. You could also make a mini raised bed with bricks, garden edging or whatever you like. If you don't like the looks of garden edging, you can extend your mulch beyond the edging to cover it up. It doesn't have to be a full size raised bed.

Thanks, Cathy!

Sherry

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 3:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
treehugger101

Misssherry, I have stone edging around some beds and plan to use it on all of them. It is 4" high. Would that suffice?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 6:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Yes, that would be great! Hopefully, you can fit the stones together tightly, but If dirt gradually washes out between them, you can just add a little back. You might use that time to add some composted manure, compost, fertilizer, etc.

I think this plan will work, and when a butterfly bush stays well drained, it really thrives.

Sherry

This post was edited by misssherry on Sun, Aug 3, 14 at 6:18

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 8:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
coolbutterfly(5A)

I took Miss Sherry's advice a few years back and really liked Ellen's Blue!

I believe the nectar is different compared to others because the monarchs never touched it....but it was the red spotted purples' favorite!

Unfortunately, it succumbed to Minnesota winter. Tony

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 9:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I don't mean to advise anybody to plant anything, because conditions are very different in different parts of the country. Actually, conditions can even be different locally, like mountain laurels that grow easily on the gritty, sandy soil on the bluffs of local creeks, are very hard to grow on the heavier soils away from creeks.

In Florida, they can't grow butterfly bushes directly in the ground because of nematodes. And I know that Buddleia has a limit to the amount of cold it can tolerate. And some butterflies, like monarchs, don't really like butterfly bush. So, there are a lot of things that can make growing it a problem. Treehugger just wanted to know about Ellen's Blue, and, if you're going to plant a butterfly bush, in my opinion, it's one of the best.

Sherry

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 11:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
treehugger101

Sherry, I ordered two Ellen's Blue. I will plant one in the raised bed like we discussed. But what do you think about growing one in a pot, letting it die back in Fall and then putting it in my unheated garage for the worst part of Winter? I'm thinking that way at least one of them will survive.

I pull rosemary and other tender herbs in this way and they always survive.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 8:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Catgirl18

Here is a female Tiger Swallowtail visiting my Dark Night Buddleia, she's been nectaring for quite some time. Yeah, now there are two! If I remember right the monarchs liked this variety as well. I will have to wait and see if the ones I have now in chrysalis' visit it when they emerge. It is a very fragrant flower.

Cathy

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 2:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

That sounds good, Treehugger!

And that Dark Knight is beautiful, Cathy!

Sherry

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 4:03PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Caterpillars on our Acacia
We bought a little acacia a year ago. I'm not sure...
llilibel03
One Butterfly Deformed.
January 31, 2,015, at 1:30 p.m., in the afternoon.........
woollybear69
Florida Butterflies.
I have posted before. I live in Sarasota, Florida and...
jane__ny
Anyone have advice on wood pupators?
Was out gathering food for my cecropias the other day...
KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH
Camera settings for butterflies...part III
The quality of your photographs relies on proper settings...
bob_71
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™