Plant of the Week: PUGSTER® Blue Butterfly bush

Full-sized flowers on a dwarf plant? Yes! That’s the Pugster® Buddleia varieties.

This is Pugster® Blue butterfly bush, our 2021 Flowering Shrub of the Year. It’s easy to see why this little plant earned that designation.

It’s a strong performer for home gardeners, and landscapers like it too. With huge flowers on a very small plant, it’s a really efficient way to get lots of fragrant flowers into a small space.

The Pugster® varieties have very thick stems, which gives them better winter hardiness than other dwarf varieties. They are hardy in USDA 5-9.

Remember, Buddleia need full sun and well-drained soil. Cold, wet winters are really tough on them.

Pugster® Blue butterfly bush is a wide cross, so not seedy like older varieties might be. It’s a dynamite little plant with excellent deer resistance.

It’s also proven to be an excellent choice for arid climates. Pugster® Blue Buddleia is one of three Proven Winners® ColorChoice® varieties to receive a Blue Ribbon from the UC Landscape Plant Irrigation Trials. The other two are Juke Box® xPyracomeles and Sunny Boulevard® St. John’s Wort (Hypericum).

If you’re in an area that struggles with dry conditions, be sure to put these three plants on your list. They’ll perform well with minimal water.

Gift-giving time!

The shopping season is getting tight! If you have yet to find a gift for your favorite gardening friend or family member, here are some of my favorite ideas.

The Complete Guide to No Dig Gardening by Charlie Nardozzi – I bought this book last spring, and I love it! I especially love the no-dig techniques such as straw bale gardening, Hugelkultur, and Keyhole Beds.

I just built my first cold frame, and I’m guessing it will just be the start of discovering all the inventive ways I can garden year-round. Niki Jabbour’s book, Growing Under Cover: Techniques for a More Productive, Weather-Resistant, Pest-Free Vegetable Garden, is definitely on my wish list this year! 

You can pre-order Kathy Jentz’s book, The Urban Garden: 101 Ways to Grow Food and Beauty in the City. How much fun would it be to get something in the spring when you need a diversion and are ready to plan your 2022 gardens?

And for the kids or grandkids, get a book that incorporates gardening into their stories, like The Christmas Cottontail: A Story for Gardeners of All Ages by Carol Michel.

Finally, there are public gardens and arboretums all over the country that can use your support. For the person who already has everything, think about making a donation to one of their favorites or one of your favorite gardens in their name. There’s a nice, searchable list on the AHS reciprocal gardens program page.

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