The Buddleia Genus (Buddleja; Butterfly Bush)

The Buddleja genus features over 140 different species of profusely flowering shrubs and trees, which hail from the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

They come from the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae, and are grown ornamentally all over the world for their beauty, as well as their use in butterfly gardens.

Buddleia At A Glance

The one thing that buddleja plants are famous for is attracting many types of butterflies, as well as other pollinators, as the fragrant clusters of flowers contain heaps of nectar.

Butterflies are also attracted to this plant as the flowers contain high levels of glucose, fructose, and sucrose, more so than other plants, so butterflies make a beeline for buddleia flowers.

In some places, buddleia plants are classed as invasive, as they are so easy to grow and produce up to 3 million seeds a year.

That doesn’t mean you should discount it, however. To combat  this, many cultivars have been developed to produce sterile seeds, keeping the population under control very easily.

Many cultivars in the buddleia genus are award winners, mainly receiving the Royal Horticultural Society’s AGM award.

Buddleia Name Origin

The genus name honors Adam Buddle, an English cleric and botanist, which was suggested by Dr William Houstoun, who first introduced the plants to England. 

You’d win no prizes for guessing why the plant has the common name butterfly bush, as it is a magnet for butterflies.

Buddleja Flower Significance

Buddleia flowers represent a fresh start, new opportunities, rebirth, and renewal.

Buddleia Uses

These gorgeous plants also have some applications in traditional medicine, where they are employed in treating headaches, eye troubles, muscle complaints, hernias, and hepatitis.

Buddleia Growing Requirements

Hardy in USDA zones 5 through to 10, buddleia plants flower in summer and autumn, in shades of red, purple, blue, pink, white, or even a combination of these in the newer cultivars.

Depending on the species you go for, buddleias can reach 16 feet high, or you can get dwarf cultivars which reach a maximum of a foot tall. Occasionally, they can reach heights of 98 feet, but this is rare.

You can get evergreen and deciduous species, allowing you to let other plants show off during different seasons.

It’s worth knowing that the blooms produced from the Asiatic species  form in panicles, and the American species produce globose flower heads, as they serve different pollinators, typically the American species attracting hummingbirds.

Buddleias need well-draining soil, with a pH ranging between 6.0 and 7.0, and a position of full sunlight.

The majority of buddleias love dry open spaces, in abandoned areas such as obsolete factories, railways, or even brickwork, where these plants can really spread out. 

This has also given them the name bomb site plant, as they would often grow in places that had been bombed in World War II.

They require an average amount of irrigation, and the only thing you’ll need to do in terms of maintenance is to deadhead any spent flower spikes at the end of the season.

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