© RHS/Neil Hepworth


Border buddlejas

Common name: butterfly bush

These hardy shrubs are ideal for the back of a border and good for any pollinator-friendly garden. Buddleja davidii types have showy flowers and an upright habit. In contrast, the willowy stems of Buddleja alternifolia and Buddleja lindleyana lend themselves to training as weeping standards. For a large space in a hot border, grow orange-flowered Buddleja globosa or Buddleja × weyeriana.


These buddlejas are usually tall shrubs but some recent introductions are short and compact. They are mostly deciduous (lose their leaves in winter) or semi-evergreen, with grey or dark green leaves and fragrant flowers in shades of blue, purple, pink, orange, yellow and white. Flowers are clustered into balls or longer spikes at the end of shoots.


All prefer an open position in full sun. Buddleja davidii likes a hard annual prune in early spring for fresh flowering growth. Others are best kept in trim after flowering. Both deadheading and cutting back annually help prevent unwanted seeding of B. davidii. Sterile or poor seeding forms include 'Miss Ruby', 'Miss Molly', the Lo & Behold® series and many of the Flutterby series. 


Buddlejas will not grow well in deep shade and can suffer wind rock on exposed sites.

Did you know?

All buddleja are loved by pollinators, the nectar-rich flowers are irresistable to butterflies. Buddleja davidii has escaped from gardens and become naturalised in many waste places and alongside railways.

Growing guide

Border buddlejas we recommend

Buy buddlejas from RHSplants.co.uk

Every purchase supports the work of the RHS

Useful advice

Cuttings: hardwood

Cuttings: hardwood

Cuttings: semi-ripe

Cuttings: semi-ripe

Shrubs: pruning summer- or autumn-flowering

Shrubs: pruning summer- or autumn-flowering

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.