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Plant of the Month: Buddleia

Lo & Behold Blue Chip

Buddleia ‘Lo & Behold Blue Chip’
Butterfly Bush

Latin name: Buddleia x hybrid  ‘Lo & Behold Blue Chip’
Common name: Butterfly bush
Flowers: Blue-purple spikes all summer
Mature height: 24”-36”
Hardiness: Perennial Zones 5-9
Soil: Well-drained
Exposure: Full sun 
Water usage: Medium
Sources: Local nurseries

Buddleia ‘Lo & Behold Blue Chip’ is the first in a line of dwarf butterfly bushes introduced by the JC Raulston Arboretum. No longer is butterfly bush relegated only to the back of the border; now it can take center stage as a container plant or as a mass planting. 

‘Blue Chip’ forms perfect, 24-inch mounds of foliage that are constantly covered in 3- to 4-inch spikes of blue-purple flowers from early summer until first hard frost. Unlike most butterfly bushes, this one doesn’t bloom in waves, but almost continuously. The flowers are fragrant and are apparently attractive to both butterflies and hummingbirds, which are always flitting about them.

Like all butterfly bushes, this one prefers full sun and rich soil. Its dwarf size makes it perfect for container use, and that is where I like it best. The constant bloom and small size make the plants perfect for growing by themselves in pots or mixed with trailing plants. I’ve experienced very few disease or pest problems with this variety. If grown in light shade, though, it may suffer from spider mites and powdery mildew.

I do recommend regular fertilization to keep plants in constant growth and blossom. After the first hard freeze in winter, you can cut the plants back to 12 inches tall to keep them compact the next season. Once established, the plants are very drought- and heat-tolerant.