Q. We planted a butterfly bush that was doing good but suddenly took a wrong turn! I’m very grateful for any help and guidance!
|Sorry. I dont have a picture of a butterfly bush growing in the desert.|
A. There are problems, sometimes, using the common names of a plant. Do me a favor and Google “butterfly bush”. If what you are calling butterfly bush is “Buddleia”, then you have a bush that struggles in hot desert climates unless you keep it out of the afternoon sun. You must improve the soil around this plant at planting time and never plant it in rock, a.k.a. desert landscapes.
This is a shrub that grows well in Chicago, Illinois. It can be planted as far south as Atlanta, Georgia, so it probably will flower this far south, but I have never heard of it planted in the hot, desert Southwest. In our climate, plant it on the east side of a building where it gets shade in the afternoons. If you planted this shrub in the wrong spot, baby it through the heat of the summer and move it to a new location in October.
Plant in soil amended with compost. Use woodchips at the base of this plant in a circle at least six feet in diameter. Water it to a depth of 12 – 18 inches and use 4 to 6 drip emitters after it becomes established. Two emitters should be enough for the first two years. Watering frequency would be the same as fruit trees and other non-desert landscape plants.
This shrub is beautiful when it flowers. It flowers on new growth so it’s best if it’s pruned to the ground during the winter of each year after it is established. Its floral display depends on the plant vigor, fertilizers applied and its overall health. Apply iron fertilizer along with a fertilizer used for roses in late fall just before leaf drop or very early spring.