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Love the butterfly bush? Try this cute, smaller cousin

The dwarf butterfly bush serves as a magnet for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds with its sweet nectar and dense, spike-like lavender flowers.
The dwarf butterfly bush serves as a magnet for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds with its sweet nectar and dense, spike-like lavender flowers. UC Davis

Dwarf butterfly bush

Buddleia davidii

Planting areas: Zones 6, 7, 8 and 9

Size: 3 to 5 feet tall, 3 to 4 feet wide

Bloom season: Early summer to late fall

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Pruning needs: Remove spent flowers to prolong bloom. Cut back canes in late winter to promote fuller new spring growth.

Water needs: Medium to low; drought tolerant once established.

Snapshot: As its name indicates, the dwarf butterfly bush is a miniature version of its much larger cousins, which can tower 10 to 12 feet.

Like its full-sized counterpart, this compact perennial not only fits beautifully into small suburban landscapes but also serves as a magnet for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. They’re attracted to the dwarf butterfly bush’s sweet nectar and dense, spike-like lavender flowers.

Although commonly called “butterfly bush,” buddleia varieties should not be confused with milkweed and butterfly weed, which are both members of the asclepias family. Milkweeds are the only plants that monarch butterfly larvae can eat, and therefore are critical to the species’ survival.

Got a gardening question?

In San Luis Obispo, call 805-781-5939; Arroyo Grande, 805-473-7190, and Templeton, 805-434-4105. Visit us at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo/ or email us at anrmgslo@ucanr.edu. Follow us on Instagram at slo_mgs and like us on Facebook. Informative garden workshops are held the third Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. to noon at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo. Garden docents are available after the workshop until 1 p.m. To request a tour of the garden, call 805-781-5939.

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