Much Maligned Buddleja

Buddleja often gets a raw deal as a garden plant! As it is often seen growing like a huge weed at the side of railways, on derelict ground, and from the brickwork of abandoned buildings, it is classed as an invasive species and does not always get the praise it deserves in what it can bring to the garden.

Commonly known as the Butterfly Bush, its nectar rich flowers, set so close together, prove to be a magnet for long-tongued butterflies. The Butterfly Conservation charity have found that buddleja is an important food source for almost 30 different types of butterfly.

Buddleja produce conical, wand-like flowers on an arching bush of silvery foliage with an attractive honey scent. Once in bloom, flowers can be deadheaded as they go over to encourage side shooting flowers which will extend the display for longer.

Buddleja can be a great addition to a sunny garden border, as some varieties can grow up to 2.5 metres tall. There are, however, dwarf varieties which at less than a metre high, can also be grown in pots.

Not only are there taller and shorter varieties of buddleja, but there are a myriad of colour varieties and tones from purples and pinks through to oranges and whites – there is bound to be a buddleja to suit every garden!

To get the best from your buddleja, it needs to be cut back hard in spring, almost down to two buds which may seem harsh, but this will encourage an abundant display of blooms in late July and keep the shape from becoming too straggly.

The other fabulous thing about growing buddleja in your garden is that it is pretty much a low maintenance plant, requiring no fussy care or maintenance. Plant it in a sunny spot in free-draining soil, prune it down in spring, and just let it do its thing!

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