There have been many Butterfly Bushes introduced to the market which claim to be ‘miniature’. The run-of-the-garden-mill varieties grow anywhere from 8–12 feet tall and 6–8 feet wide. The ever shrinking size of the average residential property does not lend itself to the rather significant commitment of real estate required by most Buddelias. It’s no wonder we’ve been taken in by dwarf forms which are only 6–8 feet tall and 5–6 feet wide.
Proven Winners introduced ‘Blue Chip’ as the first in the “Lo and Behold” series (I know, I know, someone needs to tell all the marketers to lay off the excess branding of every dang thing!). They claimed that this plant would only grow to a dimension of 3 feet tall and wide. RIIIGGGGHHHTTT! I thought.
But I bought a few anyway. After all, what IF this turned out to be ‘The One’. A Butterfly Bush that size would be useful in all sorts of landscapes! I have now grown ‘Blue Chip’ for 2 seasons in our cold dessert climate. Lo and behold, (ha ha!) it has performed exactly as promised! My 3 plants are grown in areas which get part-to-full sun. The 2 grown in full sun have filled out to 2 1/2– 3 feet tall and wide while the part-shade plant grew a little larger– 3– 31/2 feet tall and wide.
All three die down to the base in winter and will regrow from there. I just prune off the dead branches in early spring to within 6 inches of the base. It will take a little while for the plants to fill out again and I found that my ‘Blue Chip’ Buddleias didn’t bloom until August– well after the full-sized “Dark Knight” I have in another corner of my garden.
Once they got started, however, the blooms did not stop until late into November. The purple late-season blooms are a great foil for the yellows, oranges and reds more prominent in the fall. This shrub bloomed much longer than other Buddleias I’ve tried over the years.
A downside is that it can still be hard to obtain. I can’t use it on plans I create for contractors or self-installing homeowners UNLESS I am involved in the plant purchasing/install. If I specify it on a plan and the nursery doesn’t have it, invariably someone will substitute another cultivar of Buddleia which is entirely wrong for the space and messes up the design. Still, for the gardening-knowledgeable (or at least teachable), it’s a fantastic plant to use!
Note– Proven Winners is introducing the next Buddleia in the ‘Lo and Behold’ line this year, ‘Purple Haze’ which has more of a weeping, mounded form. I can’t wait to add it to my collection!