The Top Recommended Varieties of Butterfly Bushes

Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii 'Black Knight')

This has escaped in the Pacific Northwest and is on the non-native invasive list. Reputable nurseries will offer sterile cultivars of Buddleja. Please plant responsibly.

Butterfly Bush (<i>Buddleja davidii</i> 'Black Knight')
Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii)

Certainly well named as it not only attracts large quantities of butterflies but is also just as attractive to hummingbirds. Honeybees and Bumble bees are also very attracted to the flowers. I have to prune my butterfly bushes back strongly in early spring to keep them from growing excessively large. They bounce back from the pruning immediately with new growth.

Butterfly Bush (<i>Buddleja davidii</i>)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii 'Royal Red')

I have found this to be a very dependable plant. It grows super quick, the smell is heavenly, and isn't too fussy about soil conditions or types of soil. All that said, it does NOT like to be transplanted. If you're going to purchase one, buy a SMALL plant. Big plants will NOT grow in my experience! I tried with about 10 different buddleias and every single one of them died. Smaller plants (like 1gal pots or smaller) seem to do OK, though.

Butterfly Bush (<i>Buddleja davidii</i> 'Royal Red')
Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii 'Bicolor')

I'd been wanting to try this cultivar for years, so I was very excited to find a gallon-sized plant locally last spring. I planted it in full sun and it grew well. However, this has proved to be a very disappointing cultivar for me. In two years, I've only seen the bicolor coloration once. The majority of the time it's just a muddy, light-mauve color and that's only when it decides to eke out a few blooms. Also, when it does manage to bloom, it never gets a pretty spire of blooms because the individual flowers seem to quickly go from bud to dead and brown. It results in an ugly spire with the fresh flowers mixed in with the dead blooms. My other butterfly bush cultivars are floriferous all summer and have attractive spires of blooms. Meanwhile, the 'Bicolor' just looks weedy and sad.

Butterfly Bush (<i>Buddleja davidii</i> 'Bicolor')
Butterfly Bush (Buddleja 'Miss Molly')

Butterfly Bush (Buddleja 'Miss Molly') produces scads of blossoms that are a beautiful, distinctive magenta color. This cultivar, bred from Buddleja Miss Ruby x Attraction, was developed at North Carolina State University. The magenta color is said to be variable, tending to be more red in warmer climates and more purple in cooler areas. In my zone 7a garden, it is a vibrant, almost incandescent sangria color.

Butterfly Bush (<i>Buddleja</i> 'Miss Molly')
Butterfly Bush (Buddleja Buzz™ Sky Blue)

I planted two Buddleja Buzz Sky Blue in mid-summer 2014 and was so pleased with them that I added 11 more in 2015. I chose them for their drought tolerance, profuse flowering habit, and long period of bloom (July - frost). They stay reasonably small (maxing out at 5 feet tall and wide) and appear to be sterile (no little ones). The flowers are a lovely shade of blue/violet, and the butterflies love them.

Butterfly Bush (<i>Buddleja</i> Buzz™ Sky Blue)

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