Monday 19 November 2012


One of my favourite shrubs is Buddleia Davidii, whose flowers are reputedly very attractive to butterflies. I have one specimen of the variety "Royal Red". Incidentally, it is incredibly difficult to accurately reproduce its true colour in a photograph, so please don't use my photo as a guide. I'll just say that the flowers are slightly redder than most Buddleias, whose flowers are most often a rather blueish purple.

I may actually have TWO of these plants. Last Autumn when I was pruning the shrub I found a tiny seedling at its base, and potted it up.

Circumstantial evidence suggests that this is a self-seeded "child" of the first one, but I won't know for sure until it flowers. I grew the little plant indoors over the Winter and then planted it out in the border, where it has grown enthusiastically, but hasn't yet flowered. Hopefully it will do so next year.

The original plant (which I bought via mail order from the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery) was probably a two-year-old plant when I got it:

When I planted it out in Spring 2011 it was a compact, tidy plant...

In its first year it grew a lot, and produced a modest number of flowers. In the Autumn I pruned it hard, and it grew back vigorously this Spring, putting up lots of long whippy stems. 

Unfortunately, as these stems got bigger and became covered in a mass of vibrantly reddish-purple flowers, the plant got top-heavy and gradually flopped over.

This past weekend I pruned the shrub again. This time I have made a special effort to prune back to vertical-growing shoots, which may help to re-balance it.

I have also used some of the prunings as cuttings, pushing them into the soil at the base of the parent plant, round at the back. Maybe next year I will have a whole clump of Buddleia bushes!

Unfortunately even the Buddleia didn't manage to attract into my garden more than the odd one or two butterflies. Here's hoping for a better year in 2013. When I first moved into my current property, more than 20 years ago, we used to see loads of Red Admirals on my neighbour's Buddleia - sometimes 15 or 20 simultaneously. Now I consider myself lucky if I see even one.


  1. Lovely flowers!

    A buddleia sprung up in our garden last winter. I moved it out of the vegetable bed, and snuggled it in with our hops. Your blog post reminds me that I should go see if it needs pruning.

  2. We have a whole row of buddleiae on the plot due to the ease at which prunings root, I also stole a cutting from someone's compost heap after they had pruned their shrub as it was a different colour to mine. We also have lots of self sown buddleais which often need weeding out. I've even seen them growing in peoples gutters. It may be the photo but the seedling doesn't seem to look very buddleia like. By the way the plants on the plot were swarming with peacock butterflies late in the season this year.

  3. don't know what happened to my comment... love buddelia... we have so much at the cottage... it wouldn't be summer without it!

  4. That is a very pretty Buddleja. I have a recently planted B.saligna which will bear white flowers soon. Attracting butterflies is not easy, if your neighbours are using pesticides and killing caterpillars and don't have host plants then it is almost impossible for them to survive in isolated pockets.


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