The deep purple butterfly bush, also known as Buddleja davidii 'Deep Purple,' is a cultivar of the popular butterfly bush species. It is named for its deep, rich purple flower spikes that add a captivating burst of color to gardens and landscapes.
Similar to other butterfly bushes, the deep purple variety belongs to the Buddleja davidii species and is native to China. It grows as a deciduous shrub, typically reaching a height of 5 to 7 feet with an upright, arching habit.
One of the primary attractions of the deep purple butterfly bush is its ability to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. The vibrant purple flowers, borne in elongated spikes, provide a nectar-rich food source that these creatures find irresistible. The blooming period typically occurs from mid-summer to early fall.
How to care for the Deep Purple Butterfly Bush
Taking care of a Deep Purple butterfly bush involves a few key practices to ensure its healthy growth and abundant flowering. Here are some care tips:
1. Sunlight: Choose a sunny location for your butterfly bush as it thrives in full sun. Ensure it receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
2. Soil: The bush prefers well-draining soil. If the soil in your area is heavy or retains too much moisture, consider improving drainage by mixing native soil with Daddy Pete's Raised Bed Mix.
3. Watering: While established bi-color butterfly bushes are relatively drought-tolerant, regular watering is important during dry spells or when they are newly planted. Water deeply and thoroughly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Water 2-3 times per week during summer. View our watering supplies.
4. Pruning: Prune in spring, after the new growth emerges. Many people cut their butterfly bush back in autumn, as part of their fall clean up. But particularly in cold climates, this can leave your butterfly bush more susceptible to damage over winter. Do not prune until you see green buds on the stems. Make your cuts just above where big, healthy leaf buds have formed. It can take several weeks into spring for new growth to show up - be patient and resist the urge to cut them back too early. But do prune your butterfly bush. Left unpruned, large butterfly bushes can become “second story” plants: their flowers form way up at the top so you can’t enjoy them unless you have a second story window. The warmer your climate, the more you should cut back your butterfly bush each spring. Even dwarf varieties need pruning – you’ll just be cutting back less than you would on a variety that reaches 8’ tall. View our pruning supplies.
5. Fertilization: Butterfly bushes generally don't require heavy fertilization. However, applying a balanced, slow-release fertilizer like Espoma Organic Plant Tone in early spring can provide the plant with necessary nutrients. Follow the package instructions for the proper application rate.
6. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the bush, leaving some space around the stem to prevent rot. Mulch helps retain moisture, suppresses weed growth, and insulates the roots during temperature fluctuations. View our bulk mulch.
7. Winter Protection: In colder regions, where temperatures drop below freezing, the Deep Purple butterfly bush might require some winter protection. After the first frost, you can cover the base of the plant with a layer of mulch to protect the roots from extreme cold.