Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush)

Michael's Opinion

The Buddleia davidii group include many cultivars each with its own merits. As a species they prefer lean soils and positive drainage, and if happy they will self-seed I frequently have many seedlings popping up in the gravel driveway each summer and will leave the odd one to see what happens. In severe winters the plants may experience winter dieback where the plants may fail to re-sprout in the spring. They are perennial but if treated as an annual you will not be dissapointed if they fail over the winter. That said I have not lost one in the garden for the past six years.This is considered a invasive plant in some areas so use with caution where cold winers may leave them unchecked.

Botanical Information

CategoryPerennials, Woody
TypeShrub (deciduous)
OriginBuddleia davidii is native to central and western China and was first discovered by the French missionary and botanist Abb Armand David in 1869 however it was not introduced into cultivation until 1904. Seed was sent to England by the famous plant collector E. H. Wilson to Veitch Nurseries, since it is quite a hardy plant it was quick to establish to the point that today it has become an invasive species.


USDA Hardiness Zone5
USDA Hardiness Ref.
Canadian Hardiness Zone4 - 6a
Canada Hardiness Ref.
RHS Hardiness ZoneH7
RHS Hardiness Ref.
Temperature (°C)-29 - (-23)
Temperature (°F)-20 - (-10)
Height5 m
Spread5 m
Flowering PeriodJune, July, August, September

Description and Growing Information

General DescriptionA somewhat ungainly shrub, that is very attractive in flower but not so when out of bloom.
ID CharacteristicIdentified by their large panicles and the end of the branches.
ShapeLarge unkempt shrub.
PropagationSeed requires no pretreatment, cuttings collected from May to June root easily, winter hardwood cuttings can be rooted. I have noticed in my gravel drive that there are many seedlings each year that require execution.
CultivationEasy to grow on positive, well drained, lean soils. Should only be pruned after new growth emerges in the spring.
PestsOccasionally aphids.
Bark DescriptionLight beige, somewhat papery in texture, many stems usually not exceeding 10cm in diameter.
Bud DescriptionNaked, 2 scaled, grayish brown, pubescent.
Leaf DescriptionOpposite, simple, ovate-lanceolate 10-25m long, acuminate, closely serrate.
Flower DescriptionPerfect, usually lavendar, 4 petaled, fragrant,
Colour DescriptionGray green leaves appear in late spring and are retained until late autumn.
Texture DescriptionMedium