Wooly Butterfly Bush
Scrophulariaceae, Figwort Family
Southwestern Texas and northern Mexico
Canyons, arroyos and slopes
Living Desert Location:
Chihuahua Garden, MacDonald Butterfly Garden
Butterflies like wooly butterfly bush…people do too!
Wooly butterfly bush is a medium-sized shrub native to the Chihuahuan Desert. It has small, gray leaves and attains a height of five feet with equal width. The leaves are covered with a layer of hairs giving them a wooly texture. The small, orange, tubular flowers are borne in rounded, ball-like clusters and provide a very pleasant, yet subtle scent. The flowers can be produced year-round, but spring and summer are more prolific.
A favorite of butterflies and a desert native plant with an attractive appearance, this shrub is an excellent choice for use in butterfly gardens, ornamental landscapes, and xeric landscapes. Wooly butterfly bush can be used as an accent plant that provides a strong ,silver-gray color, or it also works well in massed or even mixed plantings. Once well established in a landscape, wooly butterfly bush can survive on very little water. In areas of sufficient rainfall, it can survive without supplemental irrigation. However, this is not the case for much of the southwestern United States. When used in irrigated landscapes, over-watering of this plant should be avoided. Over-watering will result in increased growth. This creates a need for more pruning, which often distorts the growth shape such that the plants’ natural shape is lost.