What’d’ya’ know? Butterflies on the buddleia, aka butterfly bush, a painted lady and a monarch respectively.
Here in northern New England, zone 4, buddleia seems not to be invasive, yet. I can barely get one to survive two consecutive winters, and I don’t know anyone else with better luck. It’s not a plant you see around here — I know of no other in my neighbourhood, around town, or in my friends’ yards — though most nurseries sell it. This particular specimen is my only remaining buddleia, though I have planted five of them on the property since 2010. I believe it’s an ‘Ellen’s Blue’ variety, which I switched to after consecutively losing three ‘Nanho Blue’ plants and a ‘Nanho Purple.’ It’s three years old, and I think it’s survived, growing almost 5′ high, because I moved it after its first harrowing winter to this warmer, protected microclimate, smack dab up against the south-facing side of the house.
Of course — responding to Doug Tallamy’s screed against buddleia in the link above — I also grow lots of natives and many plants that host pollinators, caterpillars, and offer other forms of nutrition for birds: standard milkweed (which does spread like wildfire here), other asclepias, native pines, native oaks, crabapples, apples, native maples, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, bunchberry, bloodroot, tiarella, violets, native ferns (mostly sensitive fern), pin cherry, echinacea, wild columbine, clover, vervain, Joe Pye weed, goldenrod, larch, pagoda dogwood, hazelnut, juniper, sweetgale (myrica), grey dogwood, wild grapes, elderberry, mosses, birches and aspens, bee balm, trillium, clethra (summersweet), spicebush, New England aster, willows, viburnums, inkberries, lots of herbs, etc.
Still, I enjoy seeing butterflies on the butterfly bush! As well as hummingbirds, moths, clearwing moths, hawk moths, bumblebees, ants, and other insects. I just hope it makes it through its fourth winter.
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