A long-blooming shrub or woody perennial with dense clusters of fragrant flowers, butterfly bush attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Often considered a sub-shrub because it dies back to the ground. A great addition to sunny borders and dry open gardens. Also known as Buddleia davidii.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Mixed border,
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Dry soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Alkaline soil
Season of Interest:
- Mid summer,
- Late summer
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Tree & Plant Care
A medium shrub or woody perennial, grows 6 to 8 feet high and 5 to 8 feet wide.
A butterfly magnet with long season of blooms. Regular dead-heading will promote new blooms.
Late to leaf out in spring.
Thrives in full sun, requires well-drained, organic rich soil.
Will die back to ground in winter, prune in early spring to promote vigorous new growth and flowering.
Disease, pests and problems
Mites, and cold, wet soil can cause root rots.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Tolerant of heat, humidity, drought, and poor soils as long as they are well-drained.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to China.
Attracts birds & butterflies
This plant is a nectar source, attracting the monarch, buckeye, black swallowtail, pipevine swallowtail, snout butterfly, great spangled fritillary, pear crescent, red admiral, painted lady, common checkered-skipper, and nymphalid butterflies.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, opposite leaves; lance-shaped, 4 to 6 inches long.
Blue-green to silver-gray; no real fall color.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Small flowers in long, upright terminal clusters.
Flowers on new wood.
Color varies with cultivar from white, pink, purple to deep blue.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Two-valved brown capsule; not ornamentally important.
Black Knight (Buddleja davidii 'Black Knight'): Dark purple flowers in terminal spikes in June through September.
Blue Chip (Buddleia 'Blue Chip'): 2 to 3 feet high and wide; small, compact miniature with continuous bluish-purple flowers, excellent for containers. Part of the Lo & Behold® series.
Ice Chip (Buddleia 'Ice Chip'): 18 to 24 inches high and 2 to 3 feet wide; low-spreading ground cover with white flowers.