Buddleja davidii Franch.

Butterfly Bush, Summer Lilac

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Genus: Buddleja

Category: Shrub - Deciduous

Zones: 5 to 10

Size: 5' to 15' tall and wide

Growth Rate: Fast

Exposure: Sun


Best results when hard-pruned in late winter. Prefers well-drained moist soil. Leaves persist in warmer climates. Flowers in long panicles, usually shades of blue and lilac with an orange throat in the center. Very attractive to bees and butterflies.

Leaves are opposite, long 4 to 10" long 1 to 3" wide, serrate, gray-green to dark-green on top and tomentose beneath. This sometimes gives a silvery look, depending on the cultivar. Usually a weeping form with long arching stems.

Can be used for cut flowers although the blooms only last a couple of days in the vase.

Pinching off spent flowers will encourage new blooms.


'Miss Ruby' - complex hybrid including davidii, globosa, and fallowiana. PP#19950 Dennis Werner for NC State, compact habit, upright growth and flowers, bright pink flowers.

Subordinate taxa: 


Named in honour of Armand David, a missionary and botanist working in China, who sent specimens back to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. At the end of the 19th Century, plants were sent to Kew and there used in breeding programs. Native to China and Japan and naturalized in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and US.

Published in Nouv. Arch. Mus. Hist. Nat. Ser. 2 10: 65 in 1887. First cultivated in 1890. RHS Award of Merit in 1898.

Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery Inc wrote a great article on Buddleja.


Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner