Butterfly Bush Plants

Photo: ppodaras40

This list is butterfly bush plants that have been cultivated for our gardens, both for hardiness and creating flowers to attract butterflies. Some of these, depending on geographic location and species, can still be identified as a weed, possibly becoming invasive.  Technology still continues with hybrids.

Some of these may be more easily available than others.  Many are available throughout the United States, about half in the UK and many are not available throughout Europe.

Be aware, I have read a number of times shrubs that may be purchased from some nursery and garden centers may have a mistaken identity. Identification tags fall off or can be missing.  It is not uncommon that mis-identified species have been purchased.

Remember:  davidii are the actual butterfly bush plants.

Non-cultivated species most widespread are:

  • B. davidii var. alba  (White)
  • B. davidii var. magnifica  (Magnificent)
  • B. davidii var. nanhoensis  (Nan-Ho Province, China)
  • B. davidii var. nanhoensis alba  (Nan-Ho Province, China, white)
  • B. davidii var. superba  (Abundant, rising above)
  • B. davidii var. veitchiana  (Honoring James Veitch)
  • B. davidii var. wilsonii  (Honoring Ernest H. Wilson)

Hybrids and Cultivars

Photo: Carl Lewis

B. davidii:

  • 'African Queen'
  • 'Amplissima'
  • 'Attraction'
  • 'Bishop's Velvet'
  • 'Black Knight'
  • 'Blue Heaven'
  • 'Blue Horizon'
  • 'Bonnie'
  • 'Border Beauty'
  • 'Burgundy'
  • 'Castle School'
  • 'Charming'
  • 'Cornwall Blue'
  • 'Croyde'
  • 'Darkness'
  • 'Darmoor'
  • 'Dart's Ornamental White'
  • 'Dart's Papillion Blue'
  • 'Dart's Purple Rain'
  • 'Deep Lavender'
  • 'Dubonnet'
  • 'Empire Blue'
  • 'Fascinating'

B. davidii:

  • 'Fascination'
  • 'Flaming Violet'
  • 'Flutterby(e)'
  • 'Fortune'
  • 'Glasnevin Hybrid'
  • 'Golden Sovereign'
  • 'Guinevere'
  • 'Harlequin'
  • 'Ile de France'
  • 'Les Kneale'
  • 'Malvern Blue'
  • Masquerade 'Notbud'
  • 'Mongo'
  • 'Niche's Choice'
  • 'Opera'
  • 'Orchid'
  • 'Peace'
  • 'Petite Plum'
  • 'Petite Snow'
  • 'Pink Pearl'
  • 'Pink Spreader'
  • 'Potter's Purple'
  • 'Princeton Purple'

B. davidii:

  • 'Purple Prince'
  • 'Raspberry Wine'
  • 'Red Plume'
  • 'Rice Creek'
  • 'Royal Purple'
  • 'Royal Red'
  • 'Royal Variegata'
  • 'Salicifolia'
  • 'Santana'
  • 'Snowbank'
  • 'Southcombe Blue'
  • 'Southcombe Splendour'
  • 'Strawberry Lemonade'
  • 'Three in One'
  • 'Twilight'
  • 'White Bouquet'
  • 'White Harlequin'
  • 'White Profusion'
  • 'White Wings'
  • 'Widecombe'
  • 'Windy Hill'

*Buddleja davidii 'Purple Prince', rich in nectar, is considered one of
the most plants visited butterfly bush plants. 

Mid-sized and dwarf butterfly bush plants.  

Photo: Gareth Kirkland

These butterfly bush plants are mid-sized, growing about 3-5 feet in height (1-1.5 m).  Dwarf varieties tend to be more compact and ball-shaped (as opposed to the semi-upright growing behavior of most standard varieties).

These varieties are ideal for landscape and garden borders.

  • B. davidii 'Adokeep' - Blue flowers, planting zones 5-9.  This is also called 'Adonis Blue'.

  • B. davidii 'Ecolonia' - Mauve blue blooms, planting zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Ellen's Blue' - Blue-violet colors, planting zones 6-9.

  • B. davidii 'Flutterby Petite' - Dark pink flowers, zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Blue Heaven' - Mid-size grower with orange eyes.  Zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Gonglepod' - Mauve blue flowers, zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Miss Ellen' - Dark blue flowers with orange eyes, blue-green foliage, zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii Lo & Behold 'Blue Chip' - Bluish-purple blooms, zones 5-9.
    *Purple Haze' - Lavender purple blooms, zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Monite' - Reddish-purple flowers, zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Monum' - White blooms that self seed, zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Moonshadow' - Flowers change from a lilac color to pale lavender.  Great for those who 'Moon Garden'.  Planting zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Nanho Blue' - Known as 'Dwarf Blue' and 'Petite Indigo'. This is known to be a smaller variety but it should be noted if left unpruned it can easily grow to 12 feet tall, depending on area. Planting zones 5-9.
    * 'Nanho Purple' - Purple flowers, zones 5-9.
    * 'Nanho White' - White flowers, zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Orchid Beauty' - Lavender-pink in color, zones 7-9.

  • B. davidii 'Peacock 'Peakeep' - Pink blooms, zones 6-9.

  • B. davidii 'Pixie Blue' - Deep blue butterfly bush flowers.  Growing zones 5-9.
    * 'Pixie Red' - Red flowers, zones 5-9.
    * 'Pixie White' -  White flowers, zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Purple Emperor 'Pyrkeep' - Mauve purple in color, zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Purple Friend' - Lavendar blooms, zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Summer Beauty' - Reddish-pink in color, zones 6-9.

  • B. davidii 'Summer Rose' - Considered a compact but can grow larger.  Rose colored flowers, zones 5-9.

  • B. davidii 'Violet Message' - One of the smallest cultivars available growing up to 4 feet.  Bright purple blooms, zones 6-9.

  • B. davidii 'White Ball' - White blooms, zones 6-9.

  • B. davidii 'White Cloud' - White flowers, zones 6-9.

  • B. davidii 'White Spread' - Growing up to 3 feet, this white bloomer spreads out up to 4 feet.  Planting zones 5-9.

  • B. Davidii 'Buzz' - Planting zones 5-9, colors include:

B. crispa 'Hulmoon':

Not genus 'davidii' but this buddleja is worth mentioning as it is a very nice shrub with pink flowers and silver-grey leaves.  Mid-sized, 
planting zones 7-9.

B. crispa

Although I use a wide variety of publications for my pages, it is difficult finding one only about Buddlejas.  

For those gardeners who want to find one book all about the Genus Buddleja, this is it. Very detailed about butterfly bush plants, many only named on this page.

Written by David D. Stuart.

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