The Buddleia davidii, (sometimes spelled “Beddleja”) but known more by its common names of summer lilac and “butterfly bush”, is a great favorite, and popular in the North.
Its bloom resembles dainty sprays of lilac, with a fragrance so penetrating it attracts myriads of butterflies.
But virtues of Buddleia davidii do not end here. Though it dies back to the ground every winter, it comes up in larger clumps year after year.
It is hardy and survives our extremely cold Iowa winters without mulch although I do plant them in spots protected from north winds and the cold. One factor making Buddleia undesirable in areas like California is their rampant growth.
Many states list Buddleia as an invasive species. It can be controlled with pruning.
Read our article on Butterfly Bush Pruning.
Butterfly Bush Not Soil Fussy
Butterfly bush of which there are many varieties, is not fussy about soil but responds to a good soaking in very dry weather. It is a coarse, leggy shrub which can reach heights of 5-15 feet and with a spread from 4-12 feet.
I like to plant low-growing chrysanthemums or phlox around its feet. The blooming period of Buddleia davidii lasts throughout the summer months and its flowers come in a long range of lavenders to dark purple as well as white through pinks down to deep reds.
Partial List Of Buddleia Varieties
- Black Knight
- Dwarf Blue
- Hever Castle
- Pink Delight
- Purple Ice Delight
- Royal Red
- White Profusion
- Winter Flowering
Versatility in arrangements is what rates the butterfly bush tops with me, though I seldom see others use its sprays for that purpose. Its delicate blossoms combine well with heavier flowers.
An arrangement of deep purple Buddleia and white glads or white Buddleia with pink or red roses makes a picture not soon to be forgotten.