Buddleja/Buddleia Davidii, ‘feral’
The Orange-Eye Butterfly Bush, or Summer Lilac (listed formerly as Buddleja variabilis), is a fast-growing, semi-evergreen to evergreen shrub that has an upright, stretching habit, capable of reaching 12-15 ft! Native to China its natural habitat consists of forest clearings, riverbanks and limestone outcrops. Its ability to grow on waste ground, demolition sites, railway-lines and even in the mortar of walls is remarkable. The largest feral and garden specimens can become small trees, but can be kept a more modest size in a garden by regular pruning.
Wild Buddleja Davidii has long, arching branches with tapering spires of massed, fragrant flowers of various colors ranging from white to light pink to lavender to magenta/purple. Bloom starts in early summer and continues into autumn. If dead-headed, flowering will persist until frost.
These seeds were originally collected from an open-pollinated wild/feral plant. We grew the seeds out and collected seeds from the largest plants we had in the garden with seed plants reaching over 7 ft in height thefirst year (when started indoors in late winter.)
For the healthiest looking growth and best plant structure, it is recommended to soft-prune Butterfly Bushes in late autumn to prevent winter wind-rocking (damages roots), and then in April hard prune down to your knees. Even with pruning… or maybe we should say especially because of pruning, established plants will reach 8+ ft before August! Blooms start in summer and continue well into the first frost, with deadheading.
The highly aromatic honey-scented flowers are highly attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators.
The photos show a selection of seed grown feral Buddleja davidii plants.
Height: 12-15 ft
Zones: 5- 9