In late summer, when other ornamental shrubs are slowly fading, the butterfly bush is just getting started, delighting a variety of butterflies and other insects. We present the wide variety of buddleias.
The butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) comes in numerous variations, large to small, from pink to purple. It is robust, fast-growing and adaptable. This means that there is a place for this richly flowering shrub in every garden. In the following article we show a nice selection of butterfly bush varieties.
How many varieties of butterfly bush are there?
The buddleia is particularly widespread in tropical areas of America, Africa and Asia. The genus Buddleja includes many more species, such as the fountain butterfly bush (Buddleja alternifolia) or the yellow-flowered butterfly bush (Buddleja weyeriana) – here, however, we will focus on the garden favourite: Buddleja davidii. There are numerous varieties of this species with flower colours in white, purple, lilac, blue or pink. The flowers are strongly fragrant on upright or overhanging panicles up to 30 cm long. New cultivars have created compact varieties such as the so-called dwarf butterfly bushes. With a maximum height of 1 m, they are particularly suitable for the balcony and for the terrace.
Tip: Buddleja davidii likes to spread, so regular pruning is necessary. If you want to propagate the butterfly bush specifically, you can do this, for example, with cuttings.
The most beautiful buddleia varieties at a glance
The butterfly bush delights with its strongly scented flowers and is a beautiful addition to your own garden or balcony with its variety of bright colours and sizes.
- ‘Violet Copper’: This purple-flowering butterfly bush, hardy to -30 °C, reaches a height of about 1.2 m, making it ideal for the terrace or balcony when grown in pots.
- ‘Painted Lady’: The flowers of this variety are a beautiful dark purple, reaching a height of up to 1.2m. This butterfly bush also thrives excellently in a pot and can tolerate temperatures of up to -30°C.
- ‘White Admiral’: With its bright white flowers, this variety attracts a lot of insects. The very good winter hardiness and the compact size of 1.2 m make this butterfly bush a perfect pot plant for the balcony or terrace.
- ‘Black Knight’: The purple, highly fragrant flowers of this striking cultivar grow to around 20 – 30 cm tall and flower from July – October. With its 1.5 – 2 m growth height and 3 – 4 m width, it is perfect for the garden. It can survive temperatures down to -35 °C without difficulty.
Tip: Even if you have chosen a robust and hardy Buddleja davidii variety, you should overwinter it with a layer of mulch for the first 5 years. Plants in pots can be additionally wrapped with jute. We have summarised how to plant buddleia in our special article.
- ‘White Profusion’: Its white flowers, arranged in panicles, bloom from July to September and attract a lot of insects eager to feast on the nectar. The variety reaches the lofty size of up to 3 m and defies temperatures down to -35 °C.
- ‘Royal Red’: This 3 m tall and 2 m wide butterfly bush enchants its onlookers with purple flower panicles from July to October. Its flowers grow up to 50 cm tall and have a strong fragrance.
- ‘Empire Blue’: This butterfly bush has blue-purple flower panicles that grow 20 – 30 cm tall and flower from July to October. With a growing height of 3 m and a growing width of 2 m, the butterfly bush needs enough space.
- ‘Buzz Midnight’: This dwarf butterfly bush is a compact small shrub that is ideal for container planting with its height and width of about 1.5 m. It can easily withstand temperatures down to – 20 °C. It has deep purple flowers that give off an enchanting fragrance and bloom from July to September.
- ‘Purple Chip’: The variety grows only 60 – 80 cm tall and 40 – 80 cm wide. It tolerates sub-zero temperatures of up to -20° C. The plant also produces its dark purple flowers, which exude a pleasant fragrance, from July to September.
- ‘White Chip’: Its panicle-shaped, white flowers bloom from July to October and have a beguiling fragrance. With a growth height of 60 – 90 cm, this dwarf butterfly bush is suitable for container cultivation.
Once you have found a suitable Buddleja davidii cultivar and a site, it is time for the correct care of the butterfly bush. We explain what to look out for.