August 12, 2013

Buzz Purple, Miss Molly and Blue Chip Dwarf Butterfly Bushes

We planted just over a hundred shrubs in the backyard this year, and ten of those were dwarf butterfly bushes (Buddelia).  Two 'Buzz Purple' (above), two 'Miss Molly', and six 'Lo and Behold Blue Chip'.  In addition to being smaller than most butterfly bushes, these types are supposed to have little to no reseeding.  They are hardy in zone 5-9.

'Buzz Purple' is the most fragrant of the bunch - you can catch a whiff of its very sweet fragrance several feet away.  It's expected to grow 3 to 5 feet, though around here it will probably stay on the smaller side.  There are five other colors in the Buzz series from Thompson and Morgan. 

I also planted two 'Miss Molly' bushes, which are a Proven Winners variety and are expected to grow 4-5 feet.  The flowers are touted as being the closest to true red that you can find on a butterfly bush, especially in hot climates.  The buds that form when our temperatures are reaching the 90's open with fuschia colored flowers, while the buds that form in cooler weather form magenta blooms. 

I was hoping these flowers would form a color echo of my 'William Shakespeare 2000' English rose, and in hot weather the color of both types of flowers are very close.  Not so much in cooler weather. 

'Lo and Behold Blue Chip' is the last type of dwarf butterfly bush in my garden.  It is supposed to stay less than 3 feet in cooler climates like ours and is sterile.  None of these bushes need deadheading to keep blooming, though they'll look tidier with the dead flower clusters removed.  I read somewhere that they tend to stop blooming once night temperatures get below 45 degrees, so around here they'll be a strictly midsummer bloomer.  That's great because I have fewer plants flowering at that time than at cooler parts of the year.

Up close you can see how the petals on the double flowers curl around each other.  It's not something you notice from far away, but I think it's especially pretty.  You might ask which of these bushes the butterflies seem to prefer.  Honestly I haven't seen many butterflies on any of my tiny shrubs this year - though the bees love them - so I'm looking forward to next year to see what happens then.   


  1. Hi VW,

    Good luck with the dwarf Buddleja; my experience of Thompson and morgan hasn't been great - I've two of the buzz series and, well. Let's say neither have blooms on them and both aren't yet even 20cm. Given up buying from them.

    I hope you get flutters next year :) I'm sure you realise, but also try to provide somewhere for them to lay/larva to feed. After all, the adults will lay and then feed off your plants. I have a patch of nettles for example and allow a corner of grass to grow long only cutting back a couple of times a year as many butterfly species feed off grasses (and nettles). I know you have young children so it makes keeping nettles more difficult, but it's also a good lesson for them - I know I never went near them after being stung!

  2. Liz, you are obviously a butterfly expert so I appreciate your advice! I have been thinking more about food for the caterpillars. I planted a bunch of parsley as an edging plant around the path as it is a food source for some caterpillars. I also have milkweed seeds that need to get planted. I read that some like carrot leaves, and I was thinking they're so pretty that I could scatter some about in my ornamental beds. Queen Anne's lace is gorgeous but I wonder if I could keep it in control. I'll have to think about the nettles. Ugh. I'm sorry T&M hasn't been so good for you. I guess I'm glad I only bought 2 of those bushes and will find out next year how they make it through the winter and whether they bloom without time in a hothouse.

  3. I added Miss Molly to my collection this year and she is fabulous. I haven't noticed much of a color variation, but then, we've been mostly screamin' hot here. Try planting dill to attract TigerTails... it is a host plant for them.

  4. I appreciate your shrub reviews. I'll have to see if either of the nurserys here have these dwarf types. I wouldn't mind a butterfly bush, especially out front, but I don't have space for the super tall ones.

  5. I have 'Lo and Behold' it is doing fine, not stellar. Like the color of 'Miss Molly' -- almost electric.


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