Photo Credit: Walters Gardens

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Interesting Facts

As their common name suggests, Butterfly Bushes attract butterflies, but these plants are not limited to just butterflies. Buddlejas also attract bees, moths and hummingbirds. They are notable for their flower color and fragrance. The genus name itself has been a source of confusion. The famous Swedish taxonomist Carl Linnaeus accidentally spelled the genus as "Buddleja". In the common Latin practice used by taxonomists, it would be spelled as "Buddleia". Since Linnaeus never corrected his mistake, the genus is spelled with the letter "j" but is considered to be spelled correctly if spelled with the letter "i" as well.

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Butterfly Bush   Santana (Buddleja davidii)

Buddleia davidii 'Santana' is a delightful new butterfly bush with bright variegated foliage! The dark green leaves are surrounded by a neat bright yellow margin which makes a wonderful accent for the purple-red flowers.  Will work very well in the back of a deep planting border and for screening a fence line.  Works fantastically in drought tolerant gardens and also has great deer resistance for woodland gardens.  Obviously attracts butterflies as well as hummingbirds.  Blooms are bigger and more of them when you severely prune this back in the spring time.  Make sure to put this in a place where you can enjoy its wonderful fragrance.

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Plant Types: Perennial, Shrub
Light: Full Sun
Height: 6 feet
Width: 5 feet
Zones: 5a to 10b
Bloom Color: Purple, Red
Bloom Seasons: Late summer, Early fall, Mid fall, Late fall
Leaf Color: Green
Special Features: Deer resistant
Shape: Upright or erect
Fertilizer: Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food
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Plant Care

Sow seeds in spring at 66-75°F (19-24°C). Can propagate from semi-ripe cuttings in summer. Semi-ripe cuttings are cuttings taken from semi-mature wood.

Plant Growth:

Evergreen, semi-evergreen, and deciduous shrubs. Some are trees, climbers, and herbaceous perennials. Buddleja grows best in full sun with good ventilation. All species, except climbers, work well in a mixed or shrub border. In frost prone areas, raise Buddleja in a cool greenhouse that has a minimum temperature of 35°F (2°C).


Bloom times for Buddlejas vary from species to species. Blooms fragrant tubular flowers.

Soil and Irrigation:

Butterfly Bushes can generally tolerate many soil-types, but the soil must be well-drained soil. Water freely during the growing season, much less in winter.


Feed the Butterfly Bush in the early spring and early summer.


In early spring, cut back shoots to permanent framework to prepare for new growth.


Butterfly Bushes are susceptible to aphid infestations and should be controlled. Control the infestation by either washing them off with a strong stream of water or by applying Neem oil. Many species attract butterflies.