Planting Buddleia: Best Butterfly Bush Varieties to Grow in the UK

Buddleia is one of the most popular summer flowering shrubs in the United Kingdom, and with a good reason. This fast-growing, low-maintenance shrub blooms late in the summer, its masses of showy flowers adding colour to the garden when the flowering season of most bushes has ended.

Buddleja shrubs will bring beneficial insects into your garden, including numerous butterflies: hence their common name.
Buddleia variety Nanho Blue, also known as Petite Indigo, is attractive to pollinators.

 

As their common name suggests, the Butterfly Bush is irresistible to butterflies, who flock to this flowering shrub, along with other beneficial pollinators. Although all buddlejas attract butterflies, some gardeners report that they prefer the pink and purple flowering cultivars to other colours.

Once established, most Buddleja cultivars are around 2 to 4 metres in size, although there are dwarf Buddleia varieties that defy the rule. For instance, the Lo and Behold Buddleia hybrids from the United States are under 1 metre in width and height. The petite Butterfly Bush varieties come in 4 different colors: white, blue, lilac, and purple. These dwarf buddlejas make excellent accent plants and do well in containers.

When to plant Buddleia Shrubs

In British climate, Butterfly Bush should be planted late in the spring, when there is no more chance for frosts and the garden soil is warm enough. Choose a place in full sun for your buddlejas and make sure that the soil is fertile and well-drained. These summer flowering shrubs are easy to grow and to care for and need very little care to thrive.

FAQ: Is Buddleja invasive?

A lot of people worry that buddlejas will take over their garden once it takes root. However, while this fast-growing shrub spreads quickly, it is not invasive in the garden. Routine pruning will keep Butterfly Bush in check and contained to the desired size. Not only that this summer flowering shrub is not harmful to the surrounding flora, but it also has many beneficial qualities that make it desirable in any garden, the foremost being providing nectar and pollen to bees.

Landscaping with Buddleia shrubs

Buddlejas are versatile shrubs, as they come in various sizes and colours. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can use them to add summer interest to your mixed shrub border or even as a specimen shrub.

Butterfly Bush Blue Chip can be grown in pots and used to attract butterflies to patios and balconies.
Buddleja Blue Chip, the low-growing variety from the Lo and Behold collection, can be grown in containers: ideal if you want to attract butterflies to your balcony!

 

Dwarf and compact buddlejas can be grown as accent plants or in foundation plantings. Coupled with the fact that they are suitable for containers, buddlejas make an excellent choice for  balconies and patios. Since there is no significant difference when it comes to growing them, the deciding factor when choosing a Butterfly Bush for your garden should be their appearance.

This beautiful shrub comes in many varieties: from delicate white-flowering Buddlejas to varieties with clusters of striking deep blue and violet pannicles. Take a look at our selection of hardy Buddleias and take your pick!

Blue and Purple Buddleia Varieties

Buddleja Free Petite is ideal for small gardens or as a specimen shrub for patios, as it can be grown in containers.
Compact, low-maintenance, beautiful: what is not to love about Free Petite Butterfly Bush?

Butterfly Bush Free Petite

This might be the smallest Buddleja we offer: at 65 centimetres in height and spread, this miniature shrub will look lovely in the smallest of spaces. Do not let the tiny size fool you into thinking this variety is more delicate than others, as this hardy Butterfly Bush can withstand subzero temperatures with ease!

Buddleia Nanho Blue

Also known as Mongo or Petite Indigo, this showy shrub produces masses of blue-violet flowers that are particularly attractive to pollinators. This Butterfly Bush variety is suitable for small and large gardens alike, as it does not exceed 1.5 metres in height. Recipient of RHS Perfect for Pollinators badge.

Miss Violet Butterfly Bush

A specially bred compact Buddleia variety, this lovely purple flowering shrub does well in mixed shrubs borders or grown in a container. Use it to bring both a dash of vibrant colour and enchanting butterflies to your patio.

Buddleja Davidii Ile de France

With a spread and height of 3.5 metres, this deep purple variety makes an excellent addition to mixed shrub borders and a specimen shrub for lawns or patios. Recipient of the RHS Perfect for Pollinators Badge.

Buddleia Black Knight

One of the most popular Buddleia varieties, Black Knight is a robust hybrid that is best known for its clusters of tall magenta blossoms. Expected size is between 3 and 4 metres, both in height and spread. Recipient of the RHS Perfect for Pollinators Badge and the coveted RHS Award of Garden Merit.

White-flowering Buddleia Varieties

Buddlejas come in various colours, the most common being blue, lilac, purple, pink, and white.
Buddleia varieties: Nanho Blue on the left and White profusion on the right.

Buddleja White Profusion

While this shrub is relatively compact (2 metres high and across), it produces large flowers: the long white pannicles can be up to 35 centimetres in size. In addition to its long-lasting white blossoms, this Butterfly Bush variety is distinct for its rounded, bushy growth habit. Recipient of the RHS Perfect for Pollinators Badge and the esteemed RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Buddleja Silver Anniversary (Morning Mist)

The most unique-looking of all buddlejas, Morning Mist flaunts striking silver foliage. The woolly, lance-shaped leaves beautifully complement the tiny white blossoms with mustard centers. Depending on the area where it is grown, this variety can keep its leaves throughout winter. Usually grows to be 1.5 to 2.5 metres in height and spread.

Pink and Red Buddleia Varieties

Buttefly Bush Royal Red starts out scarlet, but matures to a deep magenta colour as the flower season progresses.
One of the most common butterflies in the UK, Small Tortoiseshell, enjoying the nectar from Buddleja Royal Red.

Butterfly Bush Royal Red

The blossoms of this variety unfold a brilliant red and mature to a intense magenta hue. Suitable for gardens of all sizes, as its expected growth is between 3 to 4 metres. Recipient of the RHS Perfect for Pollinators Badge and the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Buddleja Pink Delight

As the name suggests, gardeners treasure this shrub for its charming pink blossoms. This prolific flowerer will reach 3 to 4 metres in size when fully mature. Recipient of the RHS Perfect for Pollinators Badge and the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Miss Ruby Butterfly Bush

This compact variety is prized for the most vivid reddish-pink blossoms that truly stand out in the garden. The flowers adorn this shrub from late spring all the way to October, making this Butterfly Bush Variety with the longest flowering season. Once fully established, it will grow to be 1 to 2 meters both high and across.

Buddleja Ile de France is an old French variety with an abundant blossom production.
Butterfly Bush Ile de France is quite an overachiever: after the initial spring bloom, it will repeat flower throughout July and into September.

 

Whichever of the beautiful buddlejas you end up choosing, you can count on it to be an abundant bloomer and a rather undemanding shrub. In case you need advice on picking out a variety for your garden, or have any other question, you can always send us an email or contact us on live chat- we are happy to help! All of the Butterfly Bush varieties we offer for sale can be ordered online (we do nationwide delivery), or seen in person at our Plant Centre.