Butterfly bushBotanical name: Buddleia x...

PLANT NOTEBOOK

November 09, 1991|By Amalie Adler Ascher

Butterfly bush

Botanical name: Buddleia x Lochinch

Pronunciation: BUD-lee-a

Family: Loganiaceae (No popular translation)

Origin: China

Class: Shrub

Display period: All summer

Height: 6 to 7 feet

Environment: Sun

A tally of the shrubs that bloom all summer long doesn't add up to very many. So when you find one that does, it's a real boost for the garden. Buddleia x Lochinch is such an example. In a cross by natural means, it surfaced all of a sudden in the garden of the Earl of Stair at Lochinch in Wigtownshire, Scotland. The plant's parents are thought to have been B. davidii and B. fallowiana.

B. davidii, called both butterfly bush, for its attraction to butterflies, and summer lilac, a reference to its lilac-like flowers, is an old-fashioned favorite. It appeals for its fragrant spikes of lavender flowers dotted with orange in the center. Regrettably, though, the blossoms wait until August to arrive.

B. fallowiana, by contrast, is not well known. Its obscurity is explained by its lack of hardiness that prevents planting it where winters are cold. In its favor are the continuous blossoming of its showy, scented flowers, a more compact growth habit and delicate foliage.

From B. fallowiana the new hybrid inherited its beautiful long-blooming flowers, graceful foliage and shorter stature, suiting it to culture in a container, as I've grown my plant for the past two years. From B. davidii, it gained hardiness. Even so, the new buddleia, in typical species fashion, may die to the ground in winter. It bounces back, though, in the spring.

The Lochinch buddleia entered the market in England, in 1954, says John Elsley, director of horticulture at Wayside Gardens in Hodges, S.C. Wayside, one of the first and among the few U.S. nurseries to offer the variety in the United States, introduced it in 1990.

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