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19 June 2014

Buddleia Globosa - the Orange Ball Tree

I have a Buddleia Globosa in my garden which I planted about 8 years ago, but which doesn't tend to have many flowers on it. I noticed yesterday that one of my neighbours has one which is flowering profusely at present so I thought I should look at what I should be doing to help my plant look it's best.

Buddleia globosa is known as the Orange Ball Tree as, instead of the long flower spikes found on most buddleias, it has sweet-scented orange balls about 15mm in diameter in loose clusters at the branch tips in early summer. Bees love these flowers. It is native to Chile and the most westerly part of Argentina, and was the first buddleia to be introduced to Europe, in the 18th century.

It is a large semi-evergreen or deciduous shrub with dark green leaves, and can grow up to 5m tall with a 5m spread in 10 - 20 years, so can be too large for most gardens.

It prefers full sun but can be grown in partial shade, so plant in a sheltered south, east or west-facing site.

It is undemanding of soil type, growing in loam, sand, chalk and clay, in either well-drained or moist but well drained soil, and with a pH ranging from alkaline to acid.

Early-flowering shrubs are pruned after flowering, as they usually flower on the previous year's growth, and pruning after flowering gives the most time for new growth to develop, and to provide the next year's flowers. Immediately after flowering cut back flowered growth to strong young shoots lower down, and also remove up to 20% of old stems down to base level.

All early-flowering shrubs need routine removal of damaged, diseased or dead wood, so cut out any dead or damaged shoots back to ground level or to their point of origin. If there are a lot of stems, remove some to ground level to keep the bush open. Also take out any weak, or twiggy shoots right to the point of origin or to ground level so the plant concentrates its resources on strong new shoots that will bear the best flowers.

If you want to try propogating from your plant, then take semi-hardwood cuttings.

I think my problem has been in pruning too late in the year after flowering, which I will remedy this year. I should then have a good display to look forward to next year.
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