The butterflies and other pollinators this plant attracts provide ample motivation to plant a row of Buddleia. But they offer more: sweet smelling, colorful, arching blooms that demand little from you as the gardener to maintain.
There are over 160 cultivars of butterfly bush, in nearly every color of the rainbow. So where in the world should you begin when you’re trying to choose which ones to pick?
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Good question. We’ve got you.
In this roundup, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite butterfly bush varieties and where possible, have provided links to our trusted affiliates.
Ready to dive in? Here’s a sneak peek at what’s ahead:
17 of the Best Buddleia Cultivars
Blues and Purples
If you’re looking for something with blooms that range in color from blue to lavender, there are a plethora of purple butterfly bush varieties out there.
Here are some popular, new, and exciting cultivars to choose from.
1. Adonis Blue
Any yellow butterfly visitors will pop against the gorgeous near-true-blue blooms of B. davidii ‘Adonis Blue.’
Part of the English Butterfly™ series, developed in England by Elizabeth Keep, it grows three to five feet tall and wide. You’ll sometimes find this cultivar listed as ‘Adokeep.’
2. Black Knight
By far the darkest purple variety produced by breeders today, the rich color and fragrance of the flowers is accented by bright yellow eyes and dark green leaves.
B. davidii ‘Black Knight’ is a vigorous variety, growing six to eight feet tall and three to five feet wide. It earned the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
You can find this cultivar in one-quart and three-gallon containers available at Nature Hills Nursery.
3. Blue Chip
Another purple? You better believe it.
This is the smallest in this purple list, bordering on dwarf, and growing a mere two to two and a half feet tall and wide.
Buddleia x ‘Blue Chip’ is a hybrid, non-invasive variety, with green leaves and blue-purple flowers that will keep blooming – without deadheading.
From the Lo & Behold® series, this cultivar won a silver medal at the international horticultural trade fair Plantarium in 2015.
You can purchase this cultivar from Nature Hills Nursery, where it is available in one-quart containers.
4. Glass Slippers
Just to satisfy the pastel lovers out there, here’s a lighter purple option.
Sporting lovely light lavender-periwinkle blooms contrasted by deep purple buds and orange eyes over gray green foliage, this shrub from the B. davidii Monarch® series has a horizontal growth habit, topping out at three feet tall with a spread five and a half feet.
You can find ‘Glass Slippers’ in six-inch pots from Hirt’s Gardens via Amazon.
5. Purple Haze
A sterile, non-invasive hybrid with royal purple blooms and a horizontal growth habit, Buddleia x ‘Purple Haze,’ from the Lo & Behold® series makes a beautiful ground cover as it only reaches two to three feet tall and three feet wide.
You can find this pretty cultivar in one-quart containers available at Nature Hills Nursery.
6. Sky Blue
Part of the popular Buzz™ series, developed in England by plant breeder Charles Valin at the Thompson and Morgan Nursery, B. davidii ‘Sky Blue’ sports sweet smelling violet blue flowers on a compact three- to five-foot-tall bush with gray-green leaves.
This variety is equally at home growing in a container or used as a border plant.
You can find ‘Sky Blue’ in one-quart containers available at Nature Hills Nursery.
Pinks and Reds
Ranging in shade and hue from light pinks to nearly red types, breeders are constantly coming out with new and exciting rosy hued butterfly bush varieties.
7. Hot Raspberry
Starting off the pinks with a bush boasting luscious bright magenta flowers against green leaves, this fragrant variety from the B. davidii Buzz® series grows two feet tall and wide. It is ideal for growing in containers and small gardens.
Find this cultivar in one-quart containers available at Nature Hills Nursery.
8. Peach Cobbler
A cross between the favorite ‘Pink Delight’ (described below) and a yellow variety, B. × weyeriana ‘Sungold,’ the peach-pink flowers of ‘Peach Cobbler’ gracefully fade to yellow orange over gray-green foliage.
This delicious variety from the Flutterby Grande® series is vigorous, growing to six feet tall and wide, or sometimes more.
You can find plants available at Burpee.
9. Pink Delight
B. davidii ‘Pink Delight’ is a true pink, and is in my opinion the best pink buddleia out there!
With its big, bright pink blooms contrasting against gray-green foliage, it grows five to seven feet in height with a five to nine foot spread.
‘Pink Delight’ won the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
Home Depot carries two and a half quart containers of this cultivar.
10. Prince Charming
Looking for a smaller red-pink variety? What B. davidii ‘Prince Charming’ lacks in stature he makes up for with a riot of cherry colored blooms arching over mint green leaves.
This guy grows three to four feet tall and wide, and will charm butterflies and hummingbirds alike.
This cultivar from the Monarch® series is available in three-gallon containers at Nature Hills Nursery.
11. Royal Red
The bright purplish red blooms of B. davidii ‘Royal Red’ are a standout in the garden and this cultivar won the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
Sometimes known as ‘Burgundy,’ this vigorous variety produces dark green leaves and will reach a mature height of five to six feet with a spread four to five feet wide. You might even see hummingbirds visiting this beauty.
You can purchase this variety in two-and-a-half-quart containers available from Home Depot.
Yellows and Oranges
Maybe it’s because the yellow and orange varieties are so bright and colorful, but for some reason my mouth waters when I see these yellow blooms. I bet the butterflies agree.
Sunshine on a stem, the orange-eyed yellow flowers of Buddleia x weyeriana ‘Honeycomb’ bloom in clusters, contrasting with the green leaves of this tall beauty. It can reach heights of five to 12 feet, with a spread of four to eight feet.
‘Honeycomb’ was selected from a very floriferous ‘Sungold’ plant, which is another yellow variety with yellow-orange eyes. Both varieties are still available commercially, but ‘Honeycomb’ has larger and more profuse flower panicles.
Purchase plants in two-and-a-half-quart containers (yes, plural – why not?) at Home Depot.
13. Kaleidoscope Bicolor
Why not combine all the best colors of butterfly bush in one bloom? That’s exactly what B. x weyeriana ‘Kaleidoscope Bicolor’ achieves.
The bottom of each bloom blushes yellow, transitioning to raspberry and finishing with purple buds at the tip. Orange eyes and gray-green foliage complete the look.
Sometimes referred to simply as ‘Bicolor,’ this hybrid grows six to eight feet tall and five to seven feet wide. This variety is not as cold tolerant as other butterfly bushes, and it is hardy to Zone 6.
Find this variety in one-quart containers at Nature Hills Nursery.
Eye-catching snowy blooms providing stark contrast against green foliage and other more colorful specimens in the garden – sounds pretty, doesn’t it?
14. Ice Chip
Butterfly bush as a groundcover? Buddleia x ‘Ice Chip’ from the Lo & Behold® series may just be the first of its kind in this category, often spreading over twice as wide as it is tall, and maxing out at about six to twelve inches in height.
It’s a beautiful, sterile dwarf hybrid that’s ideal for small gardens, with bright white flowers layered over gray-green leaves.
You can find plants available at Nature Hills Nursery.
Aptly named, B. davidii Buzz™ ‘Ivory’ produces an abundance of creamy white flowers over gray-green leaves. Ideal for growing in containers on the patio, it grows three to five feet tall and two to three feet wide.
You can find plants in one-quart containers available at Nature Hills Nursery.
16. Pugster White
This hybrid bush is all flowers. The green-leafed shrub itself is small, growing two feet high and two to three feet wide, but it produces loads of big, fragrant, bright white flowers.
With sturdy stems, B. x ‘Pugster White’ has a dense, compact growth habit and doesn’t become leggy.
This cultivar is available in three-gallon containers at Nature Hills Nursery.
17. White Profusion
B. davidii ‘White Profusion’ could easily win a white butterfly bush popularity contest. And with huge, pure white flowers arching over dark green foliage, this variety is a stunner.
It’s a vigorous shrub, growing up to six feet tall and wide. Granted the Award of Garden Merit by the RHS in 1993 and again in 2010, it’s proven itself repeatedly throughout the years as a winner.
Rainbows and Butterflies
If reading through this list didn’t leave you with bright visions of color, the butterflies your Buddleia attracts will.
Once established, butterfly bushes are easy to care for. They’re drought and heat tolerant, love full sun, and don’t require much maintenance. Prune every year to keep the vigorous growth in check and enjoy!
Which butterfly bush cultivar strikes your fancy? If you have Buddleia in your garden already, which varieties do you grow and what types of butterflies like to visit them? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.
And for more information about other flowering shrubs to grow in your garden, check out these guides next: