"When butterflies renounce their drams,
I shall but drink the more!"
Our next door neighbor John hard-prunes his white butterfly bush every spring so that it remains compact & "small," though small in this case means about eight or nine feet tall by the time it is blooming in summer.
This shrub is growing kitty-corner from our roadside rugosa garden, in the corner front edge of John's front yard. So when I'm working in my own sun-garden, I can smell the vanilla-honey scent of this butterfly bush. It's also the corner where John's bulldog Sarge comes wuffling for me to lean over the fence & pet him or play tug-of-war with his rubber bone.
Hardy in zones five through nine, at the colder end of its tolerances it is a die-back pernennial. Here on Puget Sound butterfly bushes do not die back in winter but become enormous deciduous shrubs. They can grow so large & wide that they're really not suited to small yards unless pruned to the ground annually.
'White Profusion' grows especially fast & large, & a better choice for a little yard might have been 'Nanho White' or 'White Ball.' But even the bigger ultra-hardy 'White Profusion' can be kept relatively small with a severe spring prune, which also makes it easier to deadhead spent flowers. Deadheading will keep it reblooming until first frost. If not deadheaded it tends to be done blooming before the end of August.
The flowers are huge & though they give the impression of pure white, on second look each tiny floret in the big raceme has a yellow eye.
John planted practically in the same hole the semi-dwarf butterflybush 'Nanho Purple.' It tends to bloom after the white is petering out, & the 'White Profusion' is doing much better at their competition. They should've been minimally five feet apart, but it has been interesting to see how they function entwined almost as a single shrub with the white flowering earlier in summer & the lilac-purple blooming later in summer.
Butterfly bushes want the fullest of full sun, a good eight hours a day, in order to flower their best. They are very tolerant of maritime conditions & will grow along salt marshes or above sea shores. Butterflies really do love this shrub & gather around it in great numbers.
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