BUDDLEJA NANOENSIS 'SANTANA' (VARIEGATED BUTTERFLY BUSH)
WHY YOU SHOULD PLANT IT
The butterflies really love this one and it has just about the most reliable of all autumn flowers. In some areas, such as British Columbia, it can become invasive. In less favourable climes, though, it's not too bad in its behaviour. But this cultivar is an eyeball-grabbing beauty. Its variegated foliage looks great all season long: It is deep gold and pale green, and the blooms are a glorious purple tone.
WHERE TO PLANT IT
In full sun, with good drainage. Though it doesn't need a lot of fertilizing, it does need a rich soil. The deer don't like it – yet. And while it doesn't have high water needs once it's established, it does require space: The height is almost 2m by 1.75m wide. It will probably die back in winter. If not, cut it down to about 30 cm from the ground in spring since it blooms on new wood.
WHAT IT OFFERS
This plant might not be widely available until next year and it is one worth demanding. The amazing foliage colour serves as a great background for other strong foliage plants, and it would sit perfectly in the middle of a border. If it's out of your zone (Z6), try 'Miss Ruby,' which has a similar luscious bloom colour but silvery grey foliage. Buddlejas are a valuable plant in the ecological garden, and they look magnificent when other things start to tail off.
SOURCE AND COST
Get it for $18.99 (with an additional 25 per cent off during the current end-of-season sale) at Scentsational Plants in Victoria, B.C. and others.
Visit www.marjorieharris.com for more gardening and plant information.