Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)

BUDDLEIA

Common name: Butterfly bush

Family: Buddlejaceae

This is one of the best known of all shrubs, noted for its rapid growth, free-flowering habit and attraction for butterflies. It can sometimes be found listed under its old name of Buddleia. There are around I 00 species, and it is the many named varieties of Buddleia davidii that are most often seen in our gardens.

 

buddleia davidiiPopular species and varieties

Buddleia davidii is deciduous and a native of China. It grows to 3m (10ft) in height and has a widely spreading habit It is also very hardy. The masses of tiny honey-scented lilac-purple flowers are produced from midsummer onwards, and are carried on spikes up to 45cm (18in) long.

Among the numerous varieties are ‘Black Night’ (AGM) with dark purple flowers; ‘Empire Blue’ (AGM), the nearest to true blue; ‘Royal Red’ (AGM), a purple-red, and the pure white ‘White Profusion’ (AGM), Another buddleia that is worth considering is the semi- evergreen Buddleia globosa (AGM), commonly known as the ‘orange ball tree’. Its globular flower heads 3cm (7in) across are produced in mid to late spring. The shrub, a native of Chile and Peru, was first introduced in 1774.

 

Cultivation

Soil type Any well-drained soil in an open sunny position.

Planting This can be done in the autumn or spring.

Maintenance It is important to cut back the previous year’s growth on Buddleia davidii, and its varieties, to within 7-10cm (3-4in) of old wood, in late winter.

This will result in strong, erect growth and larger flower spikes. Buddleia globosa flowers on the previous season’s growth so should be only lightly cut back immediately after flowering.

Propagation These shrubs can be increased by semi-ripe and hardwood cuttings. The former should be taken in summer and the hardwood cuttings in early autumn.

Pests and diseases These shrubs are generally trouble free.

19. May 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Ornamental Shrubs | Tags: , | Comments Off on Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)

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