Our garden buddlejas were named after an Essex botanist called Reverend Adam Buddle.
There are over 100 species ranging from 16 to 98ft tall. Buddlejas are not native to Europe; the ones we are familiar with in Britain are hybrids of Buddleia davidii which flower in July and Augustin Britain. They were named after a French missionary called Pere David who worked in China in the late C19. I particularly like these buddleias as they remind me of my father, whose name was David.
I have tried to extend the flowering season by introducing some other varieties into the garden. Here is a description of my Buddleia year:
May – June, Buddleja globosa – bright orange balls appear on quite a sprawling plant. The flowers provide some early food for butterflies.
June, Buddleja alternifolia – has silvery green fine leaves with pale lilac flowers. It is a very pretty shrub which can be trained to grow into a small tree.
July – August, Buddleja davidii varieties are in flower. I grow:
- Pink Delight – pink flowers, and not as vigorous as the species. One of my favourites.
- Black Knight – a good variety with striking dark purple flowers.
- Lochinch – silvery leaved when young with light purple flowers. It is a good variety and not too vigorous but the leaves tend to go a bit anaemic looking after flowering.
- Harlequin – a lovely buddleja with variegated leaves and red/purple flowers. This is the longest flowering variety in the garden.
- Nanho White – a much smaller Budddleia, about 3ft high with white flowers. There are also Nanho Blue and Nanho Purple varieties which are suited to smaller gardens.
August- September, Buddleia weyeriana Golden Glow – a later flowering Buddleia with similar ball shaped flowers as globosa but a more golden yellow colour.
All Buddlejas like a warm, sunny position, preferably in well drained ground – you only have to look at railway embankments to see what they like! It is usual to cut the stems down to 1- 3ft in the Spring as this keeps the plants from becoming too ungainly and also helps flowering. I hardly prune Nanho White and am also quite sparing with Pink Delight and Lochinch.
Buddlejas are great butterfly plants, so to even the balance I have been out in the garden looking at plants which attract bees, boverflies and other insects.