RSS Email

10 Things to Know About the Buddleia Butterfly Bush

Those who like to hone their gardening skills with attractive and fragrant flowering plants will probably have heard about or seen pictures of the Buddleia butterfly bush.

The Buddleia is a beautiful flowering shrub that produces an abundance of flowers in shades of purple, blue, white, and pink. Each flower head is made up of many individual florets, which release sweet nectar that attracts butterflies and other insects. Although the Buddleia is not particular about soil type, it does best in well-drained soil and in full sun. Read more in this handy guide if you want to give it a go.

Keep reading to find out the top 10 things to know about the Buddleia butterfly bush.

1. Name

The Buddleia genus was named after the English reverend and botanist Adam Buddle (1662-1715). Adam Buddle was an avid plant collector and is credited with introducing many new species of plants to England from his travels.

2. Family

The Buddleia genus belongs to the family Scrophulariaceae, which contains about 20 genera and 600 species of herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees. Other members of this family include Verbascum (mullein), Hebe (hebe), and Antirrhinum (snapdragon).

3. Nativity

The Buddleia genus is native to Africa, Asia, Australasia, and the Americas.

4. Species

There are about 100-130 species in the Buddleia genus. The most commonly cultivated species include B. davidii, B. globosa, B. alternifolia, and B. weyeriana.

Untitled design (7)

5. Popularity

Buddleia davidii (also spelled Buddleja davidii) is by far the most popular species of butterfly bush, and is the one most often seen in gardens and public places. It was named after the French missionary and naturalist Pierre David (1788-1856), who was the first to bring the plant to Europe from China in 1869.

6. Size

Buddleia davidii is a fast-growing, deciduous shrub that can reach heights of 6-15 feet (2-4.5 m) and widths of 8-12 feet (2.4-3.6 m). It has an arching habit with long, slender branches that are covered in small, lance-shaped leaves.

7. Nature

The nectar produced by Buddleia flowers is a major attractant for butterflies, hence the common name “butterfly bush”. The flowers are borne in showy clusters at the ends of the branches. Each flower head is made up of many small tubular florets that can be purple, blue, white, or pink in color. The flowers are very fragrant and attract butterflies, bees, and other insects.

8. Care

Buddleia davidii is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. It is adaptable to both dry and moist soils and can even grow in poor, rocky soil. It prefers full sun but will also grow in partial shade.

Untitled design (8)

9. Invasive

Buddleia davidii is considered an invasive species in some parts of the world, such as Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. This is because it readily self-seeds and can spread rapidly into natural areas where it can crowd out native plants if you live in an area where B. davidii is considered invasive; it is best to choose another species of butterfly bush.

10. Flowers

Buddleia has been widely planted as ornamental shrubs in gardens and parks around the world. There are many different cultivars of Buddleia davidii available, with flowers in a wide range of colors, including purple, blue, white, and pink. Some of the most popular cultivars include: ‘Black Knight’, ‘Royal Red’, ‘Pink Delight’ and ‘Lochinch’.

So there you have it, the top 10 things to know about the Buddleia butterfly bush! This fragrant and beautiful shrub is sure to add interest and color to any garden, along with the bonus of attracting butterflies. Give it a try in your own backyard to see for yourself how lovely this plant can be.