How to plant buddlejas

Also known as butterfly bushes, buddlejas are wonderful decorative shrubs bearing spikes of small, colourful flowers held above dense foliage on arching branches. Native to the rocky areas, scrublands and riverbanks commonly found in Africa, America and Asia, these fast-growing and easy to care for honey-scented plants will attract and sustain a wide range of pollinating insects. Try interlacing with silver-leaved ornamental grasses or mix with asters, echinaceas, heleniums and lupins for more visual contrast.

Plant in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun and water frequently during the first few weeks following planting. Regularly remove spent flowers to encourage more blooms and prevent invasive self-seeding. In spring, cut back to the ground to increase vigour, flower quality and production.

Always unpack on arrival and store in a cool place until ready to plant.

Problems, pests and diseases:

Buddlejas do not usually suffer from any serious diseases. However, they may be affected by:

  • Capsid bugs: these sap-eating insects emit a toxic saliva that eventually causes the plant tissues to die. Leaves are peppered with small holes and often grow distorted. In some cases, flowers may not develop correctly and buds may fail. Dispose of any deceased plant material and debris in winter to prevent issues in spring and summer.

  • Caterpillars: these larvae feed on a wide range of plant material including roots, stems, foliage and flowers, causing both aesthetic and structural damage. Whenever possible, put on gardening gloves and remove by hand. Alternatively, cover susceptible plants with a layer of horticultural fleece to prevent any risks of infestation.

  • Figwort weevils/larvae: these small beetles and slug-like larvae cause aesthetical damage by feeding on leaves and flowers. Whenever possible, pick off by hand using gloves.

  • Red spider mites: these tiny sap-eating mites cause leaves to become mottled with pale spots. In extreme cases, affected plants may shed leaves and potentially perish. Since red spider mites thrive in dry, hot weather, regularly mist foliage with water to discourage any attacks and keep an eye out for tiny mites, eggs and cobwebs on plants. Dispose of any deceased plant material and debris before spring to prevent risks of infestation.
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