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Harlequin Butterfly Bush

The Harlequin butterfly bush is a dramatic sight in your landscape. The showy reddish-purple flower spikes put on a long bloom from midsummer through fall. They are very fragrant and attract butterflies to your garden.

The variegated leaves and bright flowers make a great specimen plant or background for smaller flowers. This plant is deciduous, and in winter you will have bare arching branches to add movement to your garden. It is easy to care for, and grows quickly to fill in your landscaping.

Landscaping Ideas

You can plant your Harlequin butterfly bush as a border plant along the property line, or as a specimen plant. It is perfect for a cottage garden with its old-fashioned, loosely arched growth habit. It fits in nicely with other cottage plants like delphiniums, daisies and roses. Its growth habit makes it look lovely next to a picket fence.

It is also a good plant for an eco-friendly garden, as it tolerates dry periods well and is very showy and fragrant. If you want a butterfly garden, this plant is a requirement. The long spikes of fragrant flowers attract lot of butterflies.

Butterfly Bush Care

Plant your Harlequin in an area where it will get full to partial sun. It is fast growing, so give it plenty of room. Regular watering is needed after planting your Harlequin butterfly bush to help establish a good root system. It is drought tolerant after it is established. A general purpose fertilizer in early spring work best.

If you prefer a formal look, the plant can be sheared after flowering is finished each year. In cold winter areas, the plant may die back completely or partially. It is hardy to -10 or -20 degrees Fahrenheit. New blooms appear on new growth, so it will return rapidly come spring. If you want to control the size of your butterfly bush, you can prune it back to the ground before growth begins in the spring. Spent flowers can be removed to encourage continued blooming.

Butterfly Bush Information

  • Scientific Name: Buddleia davidii 'Harlequin'

  • Best Soil: Likes well-drained sandy loam or clay, though it does tolerate drought and wet.

  • Light: Full sun to partial sun

  • Growth Rate: Fast

  • Foilage: Green with cream margins

  • Bloom: Long purple blooms from midsummer to fall

  • Mature Size and Shape: Can grow to 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide in an arching manner.

  • Hardiness Zone: 6-9

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