Place the pot in full sunlight. Cut the plant back to 10 to 12 inches (25 cm.) in late winter or early spring. Apply a time-release fertilizer in spring.
Water regularly. Although buddleia is relatively drought-tolerant, it will perform better with occasional irrigation, especially during hot weather.
Fill the pot with a lightweight commercial potting mix. Avoid garden soil, which becomes heavy and compacted in containers, often resulting in root rot and plant death.
Butterfly Bush Container Growing
Can I grow a butterfly bush in a container? The answer is yes, you can – with caveats. Growing a butterfly bush in a pot is very possible if you can provide this vigorous shrub with a very large pot. Keep in mind that butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) grows to heights of 4 to 10 feet (1 to 2.5 m.), with a width of around 5 feet (1.5 m.). If this sounds like something you’d like to try, read on and learn how to grow buddleia in a pot.
If you’re serious about growing a butterfly bush in a pot, a whiskey barrel may be your best bet. The pot must be deep enough to contain the roots and heavy enough to keep the plant from toppling over. Whatever you decide to use, be sure the pot has at least a couple of good drainage holes. Consider a rolling platform. Once the pot is planted, it will be very difficult to move.
Choose the cultivar carefully. A huge plant that tops out at 8 or 10 feet (2.5 to 3.5 m.) may be too much, even for the largest container. Dwarf varieties such as Petite Snow, Petite Plum, Nanho Purple, or Nanho White are limited to heights and widths of 4 to 5 feet (1.5 m.). Blue Chip maxes out at 3 feet (1 m.) in most growing zones, but may grow to 6 feet (2 m.) in warm climates.
Caring for Container-Grown Buddleia
Buddleia is typically hardy to USDA plant hardiness zones 5 and above, but a container-grown buddleia may need winter protection in zone 7 and below. Move the pot into a protected area. Cover the soil with 2 or 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm.) of straw or other mulch. In very cold climates, wrap the pot with a layer of bubble wrap.
Care: Through the summer, you can deadhead the flowers to encourage further blooming. Collect seeds from annuals to use next year and collect seeds from perennials to share with friends or scatter outside.
Overwintering perennials in pots:
– In late fall, cut old stems down to 4″ height.
– Wait until plants are dormant (temperatures into the 30s) to overwinter them
– Group pots close together to provide greater warmth/protection.
– Water thoroughly before temperatures dip and the ground freezes. This provides some water through winter and some protection from the cold.
– Overwinter your plants either inside an unheated garage, a shed or outside in a sheltered spot on the ground (the ground will provide some warmth. A raised deck or pavement is too cold)
– Overwintering outside (on the ground or in a shed): Cover the pots/plants with leaves for insulation.
-Overwintering inside a garage: Provide water occasionally just to slightly moisten the soil. Look for a spot that stays 32-45°F.
– Late April, early May take your plants back out to their regular locations, water and watch them return.
Soil & Water: Use standard gardening soil with a small amount of compost. Soak soil well prior to planting, then plant plants and water well so that soil is saturated. Water plants as needed through the summer so they do not dry out.
A Monarch Waystation simply is a garden that has both milkweed and nectar plants and just as you can grow these plants in the ground, you can also do it in containers that you keep on your deck, balcony, front steps or elsewhere around your home. All you need is pots, soil, plants and water.
Which pot? Larger pots (at least 18” wide) made of plastic are preferred. Perennial plants (milkweeds and nectar plants) have longer root systems and need room to grow year after year, so choose a pot that is at least 18″ deep as well. Larger pots also provide more protection from cold, enabling perennials to overwinter more successfully.
Recommended plants for Container Garden Waystations:
– Milkweeds (native, perennial): Butterflyweed and Swamp milkweed
– Nectar plants (native, perennial): asters, goldenrods, rudbeckia/coneflowers, liatrus, coreopsis
– Nectar plants (non-native, annual): Lantana, verbena, zinnia, cosmos, Mexican sunflower
Choose pots that have good drainage. Include pieces of a broken clay pots or gravel in the bottom of your pot to promote drainage. Plastic pots are preferred over clay because they do not allow as much moisture to escape. Clay can also break in the winter.
More tips can be found online for overwintering plants. It requires some care but is quite satisfying to do.