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Buddleja davidii 'Dartmoor'

Buddleja davidii 'Dartmoor'

Buddlejas are attractive to butterflies as well as gardeners, with their long panicles bursting with small flowers and sweet scent. Buddleja davidii 'Dartmoor', found in the 1950s in a garden in Yelverton, Devon on the edge of Dartmoor, is a compact selection bearing light purple flowers with orange throats and lance-shaped leaves. 

You can find Buddleja davidii 'Dartmoor' in the long border at Rosemoor, no doubt covered with butterflies.

Vital statistics

Common name
Butterfly bush ‘Dartmoor’
Family
Scrophulariaceae
Height & spread
5m x 4m (15ft x 12ft)
Form
Deciduous shrub
Soil
Fertile and well-drained
Aspect
Full sun
Hardiness
Fully hardy

Buddleja

This is a genus of about 100 species of evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous shrubs, sometimes trees and climbers and a few herbaceous perennials. Buddleja was named in honour of Rev. Adam Buddle (1806 – 1858), an English botanist and vicar of Farmbridge in Essex.

Native to Asia, Africa and the Americas, buddlejas are cultivated for their large panicles of small, tubular, often fragrant flowers, many of which are attractive to butterflies and other insects. The leaves are lance-shaped and usually opposite.

The plants in this genus are tough, quick growing, sun-loving and salt tolerant, however, only a few of the tree-like species are garden grown. 

Buddleja davidii 'Dartmoor'

This cultivar is easily distinguished by the very broad, branched, 'bushy' inflorescence. The mauve flower colour of 'Dartmoor' is typical of B. davidii, and was found on the edge of Dartmoor in around 1957 and propagated from cuttings.

It is a vigorous deciduous shrub growing to 5m (17ft). Its arching branches have lance-shaped leaves that are white underneath. The light purple flowers are scented, in broad, branching panicles at the ends of the current year’s shoots.

Other cultivars have been selected for their white, red-purple or dark purple flowers, but they have slender, generally unbranched inflorescences.

Cultivation

  • Grow in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun.
  • Prune by cutting back flowered shoots to a strong bud or to young lower or basal growth. On established plants cut back a quarter to a fifth of old shoots to the base to encourage new growth.
  • Capsid bugs, caterpillars, figwort weevil, mullein moth and red spider mites may cause problems.

Propagation

AGM

The RHS Woody Plant Committee awarded Buddleja davidii 'Dartmoor' an Award of Garden Merit (AGM) with the description:

'Large vigorous deciduous shrub branches arching. Leaves lance-shaped, white beneath. Flowers scented, light purple, in broad, branching panicles at ends of current year’s shoots.'

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