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Buddleja (Butterfly Bush)
at Digging Dog

Including Buddleja crispa, Buddleja davidii, Buddleja knappii, Buddleja pikei, and Buddleja x weyeriana

Buddleja

Butterfly Bush

Around midsummer, when the pendulous racemes of flowers weigh down its boughs, it’s hard to decide which is more satisfying: Buddleia’s abundant, often fragrant blossoms, or the myriad butterflies they attract.

View a slideshow of plant images from this genus


Buddleja crispa  full sun
Himalayan Butterfly Bush
Buddleja crispa

One of the softest looking plants in our garden, this exceptional Himalayan native invites a touch every time we stroll by. Displaying white wooly undersides and toothed, wavy-edged margins, the 6 in. long, broadly shaped gray-green leaves are oh so fuzzy! In summer, stout felted branches host densely set lilac panicles of fragrant, orange-throated flowers. With its downy silver visage, Buddleja crispa makes a luminous partner for Phlox ‘David’ in the mixed border.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 4'–5' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 6.

Buddleja crispa (S-0583)
Each $9.75
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Buddleja davidii ‘Summer Beauty’  full sun
Buddleja davidii Summer Beauty

‘Summer Beauty’ is our favorite pink blooming Butterfly Bush. Headlining large, conical and richly rosy, fragrant trusses that make gorgeous cut flowers, and a tidy, fast growing, yet compact stature of gently curving branches, this Buddleia makes an excellent small specimen.

The handsome pewter-tinged leaves can be blended with the like-hued foliage of Salvia clevelandii. ‘Aromas’ and Lavenders for a restful, silvery garden vista. Include Euphorbia ‘Dean’s Hybrid’s acid-yellow blooms for a more exuberant summer display.

Blooms June–early October.

Size: 6'–7' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Buddleja davidii ‘Summer Beauty’ (S-0584)
Each $9.75
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Buddleja davidii ‘White Profusion’  full sun
Buddleja davidii White Profusion

A classy mainstay for the border that entices hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects as well as two-legged garden visitors, ‘White Profusion’ lives up to its name. This fast growing ultrahardy shrub spotlights silver-backed green leaves beneath a sparkling blanket of huge, arching snowy white clusters crowded with fragrant yellow-eyed flowers. Deadheading will keep the brilliant blooms coming all summer long, while a hard spring pruning will help maintain a smaller, more manageable size.

Blooms June – August.

Size: 8' high x 5'–7' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Buddleja davidii ‘White Profusion’ (S-0709)
Each $9.75
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Buddleja ‘Ellen’s Blue’  full sun

Copious, deeply blue trusses and a shorter compact carriage earned this stellar new Butterfly Bush a tie for first place at Longwood Garden’s Buddleja trials. Originally springing up as a chance ‘Lochinch’ seedling in Ellen Hornig’s New York garden and later introduced by Heronswood Nursery, ‘Ellen’s Blue’s gray-green foliage and light stems shape a relatively small, versatile shrub that is easier to slip into your garden than her more hefty cousins. Good-sized and opulent with a sweet fruity aroma, the floriferous performance lulls zesty summertime shades like the orange torches of Kniphofia ‘Shining Sceptre’.

Blooms June to early October.

Size: 4'–5' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Buddleja ‘Ellen’s Blue’ (S-0670)
Each $9.75
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Buddleja knappii  full sun

This uncommon South African Buddleja soothes the garden with a composed evergreen appearance. Offsetting the darker green-gray leaf tops, a downy white felt envelops the new growth, foliar undersides and arching stems. Tiny teeth and a bumpy texture define the long narrow, leatherlike foliage that’s reminiscent of willow leaves, while lavender flowers borne in short racemes embellish them.

Stage amid Molinia ‘Bergfreund’ and Sedum ‘Indian Chief’ for contrasting forms and color.

Blooms July–August.

Size: 6' high x 6' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Buddleja knappii (S-0649)
Each $9.75
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Buddleja x ‘Lochinch’  full sun
Buddleja  Lochinch

A descendant of two Chinense species, Buddleja davidii and Buddleja fallowiana, this unrivaled old favorite inherited its parents’ most stellar qualities—large fragrant blooms, white felted stems and a graceful yet robust stature. Deep orange eyes sizzle amid 8 in. long branched panicles of tightset violet-blue flowers. Blanketed in white wool, the stems and new leaves make a cozy counterpoint to the smooth green topsides of older deciduous foliage, which retains frosted fuzzy undersides.

Maturing into an imposing bushy shrub, ‘Lochinch’ can be surrounded by ribbons of ornamental grasses for contrasting shapes and colors, or be under-planted with Stachys ‘Silver Carpet’ for a soft textural echo.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 8'–9' high x 6'–7' wide. Zone 7/8.


Buddleja x ‘Lochinch’ (S-0005)
Each $9.75
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Buddleja x pikei ‘Hever’  full sun

Originating at England’s Hever Castle, this fine textured Buddleja is graceful and early to bloom. The gray-green deciduous foliage is small and fuzzy, oblong-shaped and silver on the flip side, inheriting the good looks of its Buddleja alternifolia parent. Laden with dense fragrant sprays that showcase orange-throated mauve flowers, the fast growing arched stems die back in colder climates and can be maintained by a hard pruning just after the first frost in warmer areas.

Blooms July–August.

Size: 7' high x 6' wide. Zone 6/7.

Buddleja x pikei ‘Hever’ (S-0648)
Each $9.75
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Buddleja x weyeriana ‘Bicolor’  full sun  shade lover

Hats off to esteemed horticulturist Michael Dirr for this unprecedented breakthrough hybrid with 8 to 10 in. long trusses simultaneously featuring two completely different hues. ‘Bicolor’s happy-looking colorful fusion, includes lavender buds and peachy pink blooms, which attain a canary yellow cast as they mature. Amid a compact, easily managed profile clothed in soft gray-green leaves, the fragrant spectacle arrives during the dog days of summer, luring butterflies and appearing particularly upbeat when matched with Panicum ‘Cloud Nine’ and Lavandula ‘Violet Intrigue’.

Blooms July – early October.

Size: 6'–8' high x 6'–8' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Buddleja x weyeriana ‘Bicolor’ (S-0740)
Each $9.75
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Buddleja x weyeriana ‘Honeycomb’  full sun

Esteemed for its glorious yellow flowers, this recent Mike Dirr hybrid is a cross between davidii and globosa. A handsome silvery foundation supports the breathtaking spectacle of saturated clear yellow blooms. Enhanced by orange eyes, the flowers are held in globe-shaped terminal panicles some 4 to 6 in. long. Blooming for months on end, ‘Honeycomb’ looks vivacious with Persicaria ‘Summer Dance’ and Salvia ‘Blue Ensign’ in the mixed border.

Blooms mid-June–October.

Size: 5'–7' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 6.

Buddleja x weyeriana ‘Honeycomb’ (S-0558)
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