May 6th 2012 Buddleia To keep or not to keep… that is the question?

Buddleia ‘Silver Anniversary’ or now called B. ‘Morning Mist’

“A new variety with intensely silver foliage topped with scented white flowers that attract butterflies! This miniature buddleia has already undergone a name change from ‘Silver Anniversary’ to ‘Morning Mist’; it’s easy to see why both names are very deserving. Its big selling point is the superb, silvery woolly evergreen foliage. The packed tiny white flowers make shorter panicles than the ones on the traditional buddleias. Be daring and place it nearer the front of the border to cool down hot colour schemes, or use as a link plant amongst a group of pastels. Not widely available yet, this is a very classy plant. The season-long striking foliage makes a fabulous foil for other plants in any mixed border; the clusters of white flowers with mustard coloured eyes have a sweet honey scent, and are also highly attractive.”

Maybe the name change came about because the gardener wanted a divorce from this plant!  I purchased mine from a plant fair – actually the only places to find slightly unusual plants here in Italy!  I was attracted by the silver foliage and I thought I had heard that the flowers of this variety didn’t turn a nasty brown as they finished flowering.  WRONG!

At the beginning of  sunny April it didn’t look so bad did it? with Tulip Negrita

New flowers look like this, and it does attract insects although not butterflies

But the dead flowers look like this, and they persist on the plant for some time.

After rain the foliage changes from sparkling silver to green and to me the shape is straggly

Tell me what you think; should it stay and I put up with the flowers turning brown or should I be ruthless and dig it up and consign it to the compost heap.  Is there a middle road; could I take cuttings and when or if these have formed plants put them in a less obvious place ‘the front of the border’ mentioned above is not where I want it!

27 thoughts on “May 6th 2012 Buddleia To keep or not to keep… that is the question?

  1. I think I would dig it up for compost…but I am biased…for me they are invasive so I have dug all mine up and put in plants butterflies actually like…too bad about the flowers…you could try it at the back of the border but those flowers are still there.

  2. Well, it’s always easy to tell another gardener to be ruthless; much harder to be ruthless oneself… Is this butterfly bush a teen-ager that just needs another year or two to begin attracting butterflies and grow out of its straggliness? My own rule of thumb is that if the unattractive phase is longer than the attractive one, then it’s off to the compost heap. But if it just has an awkward period that it soon grows out of (as we all did), then forgiveness is in order.

  3. No matter what colour my buddleias are, I always deadhead them to encourage more flowers, so the problem doesn’t arise.This also means that we don’t get seedlings everywhere!

  4. Difficult choice – it wouldn’t be so bad if you cut the brown flowers off – an ordinary buddleia looks awful after it has flowered too, I can’t decide whether I like it or not . May be if you moved it it wouldn’t be so noticeable.

  5. Well,Christina, if you hate it , don’t take cuttings, you won’t love it any better at the back of the border. And they do come well from cuttings.I have had plant supports of prunings from buddleia where the plant has died and the support flourished! My vote is for the compost heap-your lovely garden will be lovelier without it.

  6. I had a purple buddleia that I deadheaded. I know, life probably is too short for that but it did mean that the plant flowered 3 times longer than normal. However, it didn’t survive -16C of the 2010 winter. I miss it because the butterflies loved it so much but I have to say those brown dead flowers on yours do look gross. I’m sure you’ve got lots of other plants in your garden that will satisfy the wildlife so I’d get rid of it.

  7. Christina, I’m not one to casually get rid of plants, but I think this one has to go. I recently got rid of a large forsythia bush that was producing few blooms. It was unkempt and invading nearby plants. I replaced it with a far prettier shrub and am much happier with the area now.

      • I know I’m commenting again, sorry. But the remark about forsythia struck a chord. I have a huge inherited one,dosnt flower, does look sprawling and ugly. Last year I hacked it back by half, it flowered in fright, but looks worse than ever. I think if its not making your garden lovelier,it should go – now where did I leave that saw?

        • Thanks Linda, I have another plant that is ugly, hardly flowers, is in the wrong place (An Abelia that should grow well here). That is going, probably not until autumn as anything I plant now will struggle to grow during the summer, but its days are numbered

  8. Get rid of it. I say this firmly as someone who has one of these over-rated plants in my own garden. I love Buddleias but this one is a dud. The foliage is quite nice but there are plenty of other grey-leaved plants that are as good or better,and the flowers are a big disappointment. I’ve had mine for four years (It’s easier to give advice than to follow it) and it’s not getting any better. I’ll get rid of mine if you get rid of yours!

    • OK the consensus is that it goes! I’m glad to hear someone else has the same variety and have the same feelings. Mine will go but as it is already too late to plant something else successfully it will be the autumn when the deed will be done. Christina

  9. ”Life’s too short to dead-head buddleja” is brilliant! 🙂
    I love that buddleja of yours, although old flowers look pretty bad the leaves are a silvery white I find very precious in a garden!
    You can kind of pollard it just before it goes to flower, and then you cut again and again. Buddlejas are very exuberant it eventually should put more silvery growth after pruning. You just say goodbye to flowers too.

    • Well, that’s an idea. The problem is worse at the moment because the older leavesa re large and green where as the new leaves are small and silver. I will keep it for the summer as it is getting too late to put anything in its place so I may do as you suggest and just keep chopping! I might try some cuttings just in case I change my mind, if they work you’re welcome to have some. Christina

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