July 11, 2008

BEAR'S BRITCHES AND BUTTERFLY WEEDS


Butterfly Weed


Bear's Britches

A little lull in the garden design business in mid-July gives me time to go over my own garden . I discovered that two of my favorite perennials didn't make a comeback : Acanthus Mollis, or Bear's Britches and Ascrepius tuberosa, or butterfly weed.

I have tried two or three times to get Butterfly weed to grow but without success. Last June was my first attempt at Bear's Britches but from what I read it was " hardy and low maintenance. " I love plants with bold foliage which attracted me to it in the first place, and the long lasting purple flowers were an added bonus.

Should I give up on these two ? Any tips are welcome.




7 comments:

  1. Very interesting. And you know I've hung a hoe or two in a tree.

    I better knock on wood now, too!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

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  2. Once you get that butterfly weed going, it won't stop.
    No tips on getting it going tho!

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  3. My favorite book on perennials is "The Well Tended Perennial Garden" by Tracy diSabato-Aust. My copy is dog-eared and dirty from being dragged around the garden.

    For butterfly weed, Di-Sabato-Aust says well draining soil is essential, especially in the winter. It's a drought tolerant plant that prefers an acid soil. It's late to emerge in the spring, so perhaps you inadvertently dug it up? I've done that a thousand times myself.

    For the bears breeches, it's probably not reliably hardy in zone 5, so that could be your problem. I love the picture you posted, it is a gorgeous flower.

    Love your blog!

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  4. My bear's breeches just sits in a shady nook of my garden and doesn't do mucyh. I think it's too crowded. As to Butterfly weed, I had to plant it on a hill in my worst soil. I'd tried for years to get it going and couldn't. I went to the empty field by my house and saw it was growing in red sand. I came home and tried something as close to this as possible. The plant grew & is happy. This year I planted seeds in a similar spot. They are happy too.~~Dee

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  5. I have killed my share of butterfly weed and bears breeches. Finally this year a piece of butterfly weed seems to be taking. I guess I will know next spring if it really is going to make it. The bears breeches I had just sat in a spot for a long time and did nothing. I moved it one year and it did less. It finally gave up the fight. I wish I could give you something that was helpful but I thought you might like to know you aren't alone in you quest to grow them both.

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  6. Hi, I have bear's britches lining one whole side of my house and it needs almost nothing at all other than an occasional cleanup at season's end. I guess it's happy in Northern California. It's a dramatic plant so I can see the attraction to it. No suggestions for other climates. Sorry. :(

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  7. bjmallow@frontiernet.netOctober 12, 2010 at 6:14 AM

    A friend gave me a branch of bear breeches, do I open the pod and plant the small seed? tks jm from southern mi

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