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Problems with butterfly bushes (buddleia davidii)

Posted by Airuis Arizona (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 7, 13 at 20:19


I'm hoping someone might be able to help me with this. Last fall, I planted two small butterfly bushes in my southern exposure backyard in Mesa, Arizona. They were doing great, growing at a fast rate and flowering when spring came. However, as soon as the harsh heat of Arizona arrived early this summer, the flowers started dying, and the plants started wilting. I thought this might have been due to inadequate water (they each had 1 GPH drippers on them), so I bumped the drippers up to 2 GPH. I would leave the drippers on for about an hour and a half to two hours a few times a week. Increasing the dripper output didn't seem to help; in fact, the plants seemed to get worse. I called the nursery I bought the plants from to seek advice, and they told me they thought I was watering too much. So I cut the drippers down to a 0.5 GPH output. They still haven't gotten any better. Are Arizona summers simply too much for these plants? I read that they can take full sun, and they can grow in zones 5-9, so I thought they would be fine.

Should I try to shade the plants somehow? I fertilized them in late spring...don't know if I need to do that again.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Problems with butterfly bushes (buddleia davidii)

Now you are still watering too OFTEN ... and too little each time. What does a soil moisture meter tell you?

The key to watering shrubs in AZ is to water deeply and seldom - for fall-planted shrubs their first summer, maybe twice a week, then a good soaking once a week the next summer.

Keep in mind that plant hardiness zones of the USDA are based on winter cold, not summer heat. Phoenix and Tampa FL are in the same USDA zone, and you know we can't grow the same things.

"Full sun" statements should be taken cautiously. Full sun in Connecticut is not the same as full sun in AZ.

If you like them, plant them where they can get afternoon shade, and monitor the water with a moisture meter.

If you just like the looks, consider Vitex. It's far more heat tolerant.

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