Figwort family. Lanceolate leaves. Dioecious (occasionally hermaphrodite or trioecious).
Wikipedia can make anything sound sexy, can’t it? Another thing hard to believe about the Butterfly Bush is that the government of BC classifies the plant as ‘invasive‘, noting it has ‘escaped cultivation’ in Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, Europe & North America. It is listed as a noxious weed in Oregon & Washington.
And yet the Triple B, as I like to call it for butterfly bush+ beings that start with ‘B’, attracts butterflies (duh), but also my friends the bumblebees, which we call bumbles and welcome into the garden for their sonorous buzzing and lazy yet efficient meanderings from bush to bush. In parts of South America, the butterfly bush has even adaptively produced long red flowers, magnetically attractive to hummingbirds.
Sometimes confused by name is the butterfly weed, a variety of milkweed (ugh, terrible name) which is a host plant for the monarch butterflies and attracts the threatrical tiger or black swallowtail butterflies. Oh, well. I’ll have to settle for the narrower range of visitor to my garden.
I still see the plants for sale at farm markets and in nurseries, so as usual, nobody seems to be taking governmental warnings very seriously, or else is conversely growing the butterfly bush in symbolic acts of defiance against all manner of ills visited upon us by those who govern the Province. That’s British Columbians for you.
A way you can keep your butterfly bush minding its own business in your yard is to vigorously deadhead or prune the plants in the fall. And like any plant that is not supposed to be there, it can take a homicidal pruning and still bounce back as sunnily as ever next year. Believe me, I’ve tried, and our bush is heading up into its second storey.
Oh, and the butterfly bush is recommended for ‘cottage gardens’ which I read in the context of its presenting sentence to mean ‘a very messy garden’. Voila, my photo!