Stop planting butterfly bushes!!!

ninamoraAugust 14, 2009

I keep seeing everyone still planting and suggesting butterfly bushes. They are now on the invasive species list. They are spreading into our natural areas and could catch up with purple loosestrife, if we don't watch out.

I got rid of all of mine and still find seedlings every year in my gardens. I switched to Vitex shrubs. Great scent and almost looks like butterfly bush.

We need to be more vigilant about what the greenhouses and nurseries offer to us. They don't care, they just want to make money. In the meantime, we are smothering out our native flora faster than the developers are stripping our topsoil and forests.

Nina in Lancaster

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pinwheel(SE PA)

yikes, I had no idea.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 9:23PM
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Carrie B(6B/7A)


    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 2:24PM
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Oh brother....

Sound the alarm!! Call the president...some evil company is making a profit!!!

I have NEVER had and of my butterfly bushes spread to the point of being invasive...

Alarmist will always have something that others do that need to be controlled.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 8:52AM
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Ignorance is Bliss.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 10:01AM
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Carrie B(6B/7A)

Just an FYI link.

Just because a plant doesn't spread in your garden, it doesn't mean that birds, the wind, etc. isn't spreading your plant far and wide.

Here is a link that might be useful: Invasive buddleia

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 8:45PM
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I have never seen a butterfly on my Vitex. The bees love it though..

For butterflies, the bestest thing you can plant each year (annual) is Tithonia rotundiflora,, they can't leave it alone in my yard. It's very easy to start from seed. Plant Asclepias, milkweed as well, for larvae food.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 8:43AM
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Uh oh. Hadn't heard about this. Will be attending a garden club meeting this week and the subject is butterfly gardens. I'm sure the speaker will mention butterfly bushes. So sad to hear that they are a problem 'cause they are so beautiful.
Thanks for the heads up.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 11:44AM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Did you find them on any list of noxious weeds in our State? They are not listed on this one, but it was dated 2004. Anyone have a newer list?


Here is a link that might be useful: Noxious Weeds

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 5:09PM
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Carrie B(6B/7A)

It's on DCNR's Watch List. Scroll down to the bottom of my linked page for the listing.

Here's what it says about plants on the Watch List: "These are species that are known to be widespread problems in other Mid-Atlantic states and have recently been reported, by experienced field botanists and a recent DCNR Survey conducted for State Parks and State Forests, as being established in some natural areas in PA. In addition, some of these species are significant problems in adjacent states and appear to be 'on the move' towards PA."

And here's what the specific Buddleiah link says: "Buddleja species are currently found throughout the eastern, southern and western states. Butterfly bush can escape from plantings and become invasive in a variety of natural habitats such as coastal forest edges, roadsides, abandoned railroads, rural dumps, stream and river banks and some disturbed habitats. Buddleja displace native plants. It spreads by seed that is produced in abundance and dispersed by the wind."

Here is a link that might be useful: Pennsylvania DCNR Invasive Listing

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 8:11AM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Thanks for the list and the heads-up. We dug out the only one I had in my garden and I was planning to start another from seed, now I will not do that.

The Juniata River in my area is awash with Purple Loosestrife right now. I don't understand how the state can let this happen.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 8:07PM
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thanks so much for providing such great links and info to follow up on my original posting. I had just seen someone recommending butterfly bush yet again on a post, and it just tripped my switch. Someone had to say it. I didn't know what kind of response I'd get, but I consider myself intelligent enough to let any negative responses fade away quietly. Education and common sense observations are so very necessary in environmental issues like this. Everything counts if it upsets the balance even more than it has been already. Only we can make a difference.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 10:20AM
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annld(6B PA)

Interesting -- I had no idea. I have had a butterfly bush in my back yard for years, but I haven't seen any indication that it has spread anywhere. I cut it back severely every fall. It *would* take over the planet if I let it. Anyway, thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 8:18AM
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Read this, and you'll understand nhlivefreeordie

Here is a link that might be useful: Educate yourself before you dictate

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 11:14AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I have never had a butterfly bush live more than 2 years in my garden. It is hard for me to beleive that it could be on any danger list.

Maybe there is a wild Butterfly bush that is aggressive and the new hybrids are not of any danger. There has to be a difference if my expereince is death.

Has it been noted anywhere that there are certain types of BB are aggressive like honeysuckle vines which is noted that not all honeysuckles are bad?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 6:52PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Nhlivefreeordie, I dug out the butterfly bush early in the spring because it was not in good condition, part of the trunk had broken, last year it hardly grew and it made very few flowers. I had been cutting it back every year to around 12 to 14 inches. After much thought about it I decided it was not in a good location, and it could not be saved. I was sad to see it go.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 7:25PM
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Carrie B(6B/7A)

Marquest - you are in the colder portion of the state, where butterfly bush is marginally winter-hardy. So... you're right. Butterfly bush probably would not be invasive in your area, where a cold winter can kill them off. In the warmer portions of the state, however, they are becoming a problem.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), hardly a radical-drama queen-socialist government body recognizes buddleiah as a potential problem, at the very least.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 10:13PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

I'm probably in an intermediate zone for buddleia, it doesn't die but it doesn't get lush either. I can think of many other plants and shrubs to grow instead. The monarchs absolutely adore Verbena bonariensis. I had 2 swallowtail cats on my parsley this year, and have seen the adults flying around. I get a good variety of butterflies, and also this year there are 2 hummingbird moths on my phlox instead of just one. I also put out a nectar feeder but I haven't looked out often enough to see if the butterflies are using it.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 11:29PM
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LEWISTOWN - The Mifflin County Garden Club has been busy beautifying the library grounds in preparation for its upcoming flower show.

The club's co-chair Betsy Baker said the committee, which is made up of six local residents, Deanna Spickler, also a co-chair, Bonnie Mills, Marty Fisher, Sue Hunter, Sara Buffington, MaryAnne Wilson and William Basom, began working on the garden project in April.

The club added educational plaques to the landscaped area around the library. Plaques bear both the common and botanical names of the different plants and flowers in the garden. Also, the committee planted a butterfly bush in memory of George H. Armstrong, who was the husband of a long time and active club member, Lois Armstrong. In addition to the butterfly bush, the committee planted purple fountain grass, petunias, profusion zinnia and sweet potato vine.

;-) heh heh

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 8:15AM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

There are several species of buddleja, and not all are equally hardy or invasive. Many of the ones you find in garden centers are cultivars or that are less vigorous than the original strain, but their seedlings revert to the original, vigorous form (and don't have the same flower color for which the cultivar was probably selected). Just because you bought a buddleja and it didn't grow well in your garden doesn't mean that buddleja davidii isn't an invasive weed in the wild in your area.

I recommend New Jersey Tea and Buttonbush as two great, but rather obscure, native plants for attracting butterflies

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 12:29PM
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