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Invasive Plants: Buddleia "Bicolor"

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Forum: Invasive PlantsReplies: 13, Views: 511
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Chepachet, RI
(Zone 5b)

July 7, 2007
8:29 PM

Post #3707845

Well, you guessed it--I ordered "Buddleia Bicolor" this past spring and have it planted. I then find out through this forum that butterfly bushes are considered invasive. I've looked, but I can't seem to find any information regarding this cultivar as being invasive. Are all butterfly bushes invasive? Can I keep it if I deadhead it, or should I just sound taps and add it to the compost bin? I did check this cultivar in plant files and it notes "N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed." I'm wondering if this particular cultivar is sterile--does anyone know?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 8, 2007
2:34 AM

Post #3709187

The reason the "N/A" box is checked off for the seeds is because it's a hybrid so the seedlings won't be true to the parent. I suppose it's possible that it's sterile too but I've never seen any info saying that it's sterile so I doubt it. If butterfly bushes are a problem in your area then I would imagine this one would be too. If you deadhead it before it sets seed then it shouldn't spread, but the thing to think about is what happens when you go on vacation, or get sick for an extended time, or sell the house and move and someone else doesn't know they have to deadhead it, etc.
Fayetteville, AR
(Zone 6b)

July 12, 2007
4:23 PM

Post #3727794

I've had Buddleia Bicolor in my yard for three years and have never had any problem with it reseeding anywhere. Just keep it deadheaded and you should be fine.

July 13, 2007
2:00 AM

Post #3729978

Not all butterfly bushes are invasive. There are many indigenous/native butterfly bushes that aren't invasive at all when planted in their natural range. Unfortunately, yours will probably be a little bit weedy.

Buddleia 'Bicolor' is a named cultivar. It is not sterile. Seedlings of cultivars generally revert to type over time. Not all cultivars revert to type but the vast majority do. In other words, instead of germinating and growing up to be just like Mom with those appealing orange and pink blooms on the same plant... the offspring will look increasingly more like their great great grandparents which would be Buddleja davidii. Over simplification but this is sort of what happens. There are a lot of people who have cultivars who claim their plant isn't a problem never knowing that the straight species that popped up on the other side of the fence that looked nothing like their "cultivar" was actually the offspring of their plant. Very rarely will you ever see a cultivar show up on an invasive species list. It is my understanding it is assumed the cultivar is equally as invasive as the listed straight species which in this situation would be a the highly invasive species Buddleja davidii.

And to further complicate matters, individuals who try to look up this plant to see if it is invasive or not at the USDA site get a search engine that returns "no results" when they input Buddleia Bicolor or Bicolor Butterfly Bush. The USDA site spells Buddlei differently. They spell it Buddleja which is the correct way to spell it although the nursery industry continues to spell it Buddleia. Leads to a lot of confusion out there.

If you take a look at this map-
You can see that Buddleia davidii is documented as having "naturalized" in over 20 states. Not good for a plant that is an exotic that is indigenous to Asia.
Chepachet, RI
(Zone 5b)

July 13, 2007
2:18 AM

Post #3730042

Thanks everyone. Your input has been greatly appreciated.

Looks like I'll be ripping it out. I think I'll at least wait until the fall though--even though it's potentially invasive I'll still feel less guilty about sending it to the great Garden In The Sky if it's gone dormant. ;)

July 13, 2007
2:25 AM

Post #3730061

Please don't let it set seed. Enjoy the blooms before you send it to the Great Garden in the Sky (pretty funny term for plant heaven actually) but please consider deadheading it as was suggested by ecrane3.
East Tennessee 6b/7a, TN

June 24, 2008
5:52 PM

Post #5152921

I live on 7 acres in East Tennessee and have never had seedlings from my three butterfly bushes. (Lochinch, Ellen's Blue, and Unidentified.)
Sacramento, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 7, 2008
8:51 PM

Post #5219370

I have too many buddleias too count. Lots of plants volunteers where I live (Sacramento), but not the buddleia, even if I don't deadhead. I find the white ones are less prolific than the dark blue and purple strains, and I have had no luck with the variegated ones - even though they are supposed to be "new and improved."

Maybe buddleia seeds don't appreciate my rock-hard clay soil and boiling hot dry summers. The situation in areas of higher rainfall could be entirely different. It is a useful border plant for a xeric garden in the west.
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 7, 2008
9:58 PM

Post #5219732

The situation in areas with more rainfall is entirely different. Lots of plants will behave themselves in a hot dry climate but as soon as you give them a little more moisture they spread like crazy, buddleia is one of those. However, I have seen a few davidii's reseed around here in public areas where I've seen them planted (these are all more well irrigated areas though, I'm not sure they would survive in the wild without any summer water which would limit their invasive potential here) If by "luck" you mean reseeding for you, the "new and improved" on the variegated ones probably doesn't refer to their reseeding ability, or if it does it would mean they produced less seeds than the old kind, Buddleia is enoguh of a problem in some places I don't think most people would consider a more prolific seeding one "new and improved"! LOL
Sacramento, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 16, 2008
6:56 AM

Post #5266978

By "no luck" I meant I can't get a variegated buddleia to grow and thrive -- producing volunteers is not a problem since one of the two I planted is long dead and the other a sickly little stub. Both were fall planted with white profusion, purple knight, and some unnamed lavendar and pink cultivars. The blue never did much of anything either.

Fall planting in the Delta is usually a huge boost, though it seems counter-intuitive to a kid from places that were frozen solid in the winter. I grew up gardening in northern Illinois and central Virginia, and have gradually adjusted to near xeric conditions (I permit myself a few moderately irrigated patches for variety), so I sympathize with those trying to figure out what some new treasure is likely to do in YOUR yard, which is undoubtedly radically different than the conditions under which the glowing descriptions of the plant were written for the purpose of luring plant lovers into parting with some cash.

It's in the luck of the draw ... and that's part of the challenge, of course. Cheers, and carry on!
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 16, 2008
1:49 PM

Post #5267945

Maybe the variegated ones need a little more shade--your summers are pretty hot and very dry and while normal buddleia's handle that just fine, the variegated ones might appreciate a little afternoon shade.
Fayetteville, AR
(Zone 6b)

July 16, 2008
4:05 PM

Post #5268639

I have one of the variegated Buddleias planted in partial shade, and it seems to be doing fairly well there. You might want to try that. I have never had a Buddleia produce volunteers for me, and I have had two in the yard for about 5 years.
La Conner, WA

August 31, 2009
11:30 PM

Post #7010134

Jeez, I have 5 of them, all different & they are 10 ft high at least. That makes it a little hard to deadhead (they are on a slope). But I do my best & get the lower ones. However altho they do seed the little plants are easy to identify & I pull them or spray them. I know they are bad but oh they smell so good & they perfume the whole garden No pain, no gain.
Oak Lawn, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 1, 2009
2:38 AM

Post #7011023

I had never noticed butterfly bushes as being invasive as I was always meticulous with the deadheading. But last summer I just couldn't keep up with the deadheading. This year I noticed at least 3 seedlings near the parent. Now I know how imperative it is to deadhead if this plant stays in the garden. To tell you the truth I was kind of hoping it wouldn't survive the winter. This is the first time I've had one survive more than 2 seasons. Mine is Pink Delight.

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