Miss Pearl is a perfect butterfly bush that features crisp white, fragrant flowers that create a showy bloom that is perfect to make a statement in any outdoor area. This is a non-invasive and seedless bush that attracts butterflies and even hummingbirds to your borders or beds.
Miss Pearl or Buddleia x Miss Pearl is a bush that can reach a height of 5 feet, with a spread up to 5 feet. The bush is fast growing and drought tolerant, reaching maturity with little to no maintenance.
Miss Pearl adds long-lasting flowers that bloom with honey-scented blossoms to any garden. It makes a nice choice for cottage gardens, flower beds, or even as a blooming hedge for summer coverage. It can attract butterflies into your garden to create a spot of serenity in your landscaping. Under ideal conditions, you can expect your Miss Pearl to last up to 20 years.
The Miss Pearl butterfly bush has gray-green foliage that retains its color throughout the season. The leaves have a narrow shape that does not develop appreciable fall color change. The bush is deciduous, so the leaves are dropped every winter and will return in spring
Miss Pearl blooms throughout summer and fall with white-colored flowers that bloom on new wood. You will see that flower buds grow on the new growth branches. The flowers have a fragrant, honey scent and can grow up to 12 inches in length in narrow clusters to create a massive impact in any garden.
Uses in Your Garden
Miss Pearl can be used for a variety of landscaping applications, including hedges or screening, mass planting, or accents, adding a pop of clean, white color to your landscape design. Miss Pearl can also work very well in containers to brighten up patios and add height or drama to any dull area of your property.
Miss Pearl can be planted in borders, as an ideal placement along paths or the edge of garden beds. It can also create an attractive focal point adding height to screen unsightly areas of your yard.
Miss Pearl is considered to be a low maintenance deciduous bush that will thrive in normal soil conditions.
Miss Pearl requires mostly sunny to full sunlight conditions. With the ideal light conditions, you can expect the bush to bloom for an extended period from summer through to fall. A lack of direct sunlight may not only inhibit growth but may prevent your Miss Pearl from flowering. Ideally, your bush will lead at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, so avoid planting in any areas that will not provide this exposure. Miss Pearl is extremely heat tolerant, so you need not worry about scorching or sun damage.
Miss Pearl is widely adaptable for different soil conditions, but it tends to prefer well-drained, fertile soils. The bush needs good drainage, so be wary of planting in areas where the soil may become waterlogged during wet winters or prolonged periods of rain.
Miss Pearl is quite drought tolerant, so once established, you don’t need to worry about consistent watering. During the first growing season, you will need to water your Miss Pearl regularly to establish a great root system. However, once established, you will only need to regularly water the plant in extreme heat.
Miss Pearl is cold hardy and able to withstand light freezing temperatures. Even if you’re in a particularly cold region, the plant may be killed above ground, but the root system can stay alive. When the soil temperatures start to warm up, the plant will resprout in the following spring. Unfortunately, sustained, severe freezes will kill the root system, so if you live in an area where there is a high risk of frost, you will need to prepare your Miss Pearl to cope with the adverse conditions.
In warmer climates, it should be sufficient to add mulch around the area above the root system. Don’t be alarmed if your Miss Pearl loses its leaves, as this is common. The tops of your plant may die back, but in spring new growth will grow from these areas and the base of your plant. To retain a nice appearance through to early spring, you should prune off any dead stems.
If your Miss Pearl is grown in a container, it is at the greatest risk of winter chill damage. Where possible, move your Miss Pearl indoors or to an area that is sheltered to protect it from the cold. Another option is to dig a deep hole and put the plant and its pot into the soil. This will provide insulation, and you can dig it up when the soil temperatures start to warm up in spring.
According to the American Horticultural Society Heat Resistance chart, Miss Pearl is rated for zones 5 to 9. This rating is based on the average number of days that are above 86ºf per year.
Pests and Diseases
There are several possible diseases and pests that could affect any butterfly bush, including Miss Pearl. This includes:
Downy Mildew: This is a fungal disease that leaves gray, fuzzy spores on the leaves, particularly in damp, cool weather. You will need to prune away any affected parts of the plant and disinfect your tools between cuts to avoid the mildew spreading. To minimize the risk of the mildew returning, water your Miss Pearl in the morning and allow it to dry before nightfall.
Spider Mites: Miss Pearl is particularly vulnerable to spider mites, particularly when it lacks water. You may be able to see yellow-green or orange mites, but they are often too small to see, and they rest under the leaves. You may spot yellow pinpricks, which is where the mites have fed. You will need to remove the mites with strong sprays of water or using insecticidal soap.
Nematodes: The butterfly bush is one of the few potential hosts for nematodes. These are tiny roundworms that thrive in damp soil and eat plant roots. Nematodes can stay in one spot or travel, but females can lay lots of eggs that you may be able to see in the soil near the roots. Controlling an infestation can be difficult, but fertilizing and mulching regularly can mitigate the damage.
Proper care is the key to the long term health of butterfly bushes. Remove any surrounding weeds and apply a couple of inches of organic mulch to keep the soil moist around the base. However, it is crucial to not allow mulch to touch the trunk of the plant as it can encourage rot.
Miss Pearl is a light feeder, but it can benefit from fertilizer. It is a good idea to feed in early spring or late winter using a slow-release fertilizer or organic, natural plant food. Avoid stimulating any new growth that may be damaged by early frost by stopping fertilizing a couple of months before the predicted first frost date in your specific area.
Pruning and Trimming
It is easy to prune any butterfly bush, including Miss Pearl, as these plants are extremely adaptable and hardy. Unlike many plants, there are no surefire techniques on pruning, but you can follow some general guidelines. Cut off any diseased, dead or broken limbs at the point of origin. You may prefer to cut back the plant to a foot or two above the ground, which can help it to be more manageable. Failing to prune your Miss Pearl may allow it to become unruly.
You can prune Miss Pearl at any time of the year, but you can promote growth and create healthier blooms with certain techniques. Generally, your pruning should occur during winter, when the plant is dormant, but you can also prune in spring. You will need to ensure that the threat of any frost has passed, and you may need to add another layer of mulch to insulate your pruned Miss Pearl.
If you live in a warmer area, your Miss Pearl is likely to remain green, so you’ll be pruning for aesthetic purposes. You can prune in spring or summer, as Miss Pearl can handle the stress and should come back stronger, responding well to the pruning. New growth should appear within a week or two of pruning.
The Origins of Miss Pearl Butterfly Bushes
Miss Pearl is part of the Miss series of butterfly bushes. This series was developed by Dr. Dennis Werner from North Carolina State University. Dr. Werner has developed sterile butterfly bushes or buddleias to have compact habits and greater flower power to deliver that wow factor in any garden or landscaping design.