The Varieties of the Dwarf Butterfly Bush
The butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is a deciduous shrub that gets its common name from its ability to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and pollinators, who are drawn to the species’ showy, fragrant flower panicles. While full-sized butterfly bushes have heights between 6 and 10 feet, dwarf varieties are available.
Unlike the species butterfly bushes, which are not native plants to the U.S. and are considered invasive in many parts of the country, hybrid dwarf butterfly bush cultivars do not spread aggressively.
These flowering shrubs are considered winter hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 5 to 9, though they may die back to the ground in the winter in colder climates in zones 5 and 6 and grow back in the spring.
Lo and Behold® Miniature Series
A number of dwarf bushes were developed at the JC Raulston Arboretum in North Carolina in what is known as the trademarked Lo & Behold® series. Planting these hybrid dwarf cultivars is allowed even in states where the species butterfly bush is considered a noxious weed.
The bloom time for these bushes is typically from June to September, and in some cases, they may bloom until the first frost of the fall. They come in a variety of flower colors, including pink, blue, purple and white.
Dwarf butterfly cultivars in the Lo & Behold series are not invasive and do not need to be deadheaded.
While standard-sized butterfly bushes benefit from deadheading, which is the removal of spent flowers, this step is not necessary with these hybrid cultivars, which produce little seed.
Blue Chip Buddleja
The Blue Chip buddleja (Buddleja 'Blue Chip,' zones 5 to 9) has blue flowers, as its name suggests, and heights between 1 and 2 feet.
Lilac Chip Buddleja
As its name indicates, Lilac Chip buddleja (Buddleja 'Lilac Chip,' zones 5 to 9) has light purple flowers. It is even more compact than Blue Chip.
Miss Ruby Buddleja
The Miss Ruby buddleja (Buddleja 'Miss Ruby,' zones 5 to 9) has magenta-colored flowers. It reaches heights of 2 to 3 feet in one growing season and has maximum heights between 4 and 5 feet.
Pink Micro Chip Buddleja
The Pink Micro Chip Buddleja (Buddleja 'Pink Micro Chip,' zones 5 to 9) is considered the smallest in the Lo & Behold series, with heights between 1 and 2 feet. It has orchid pink flowers.
Other Dwarf Butterfly Bush Varieties
If you are looking for a miniature butterfly bush variety with white flowers, consider White Ball (Buddleja davidii 'White Ball,' zones 5 to 9), which is one of the smaller dwarf cultivars, with heights of about 3 feet.
The Nanho Blue butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii 'Nanho Blue,' zones 5 to 9) has flowers that range from mauve to indigo. It can grow to 10 feet tall, but has heights between 3 and 5 feet when cut back.
Dwarf Butterfly Bush Care
Butterfly bushes grow best in full sun, which produces the best flowering. These bushes are also drought tolerant once they are established in the landscape and will succumb to root rot if not planted in well-draining soil. A layer of organic mulch helps with moisture retention.
Butterfly bushes benefit from pruning. These bushes flower on new growth, so the best time to prune these bushes is in late winter or early spring.
- North Carolina State Extension: Buddleja Lo & Behold® 'Blue Chip'
- North Carolina State Extension: Buddleja Lo & Behold® 'Lilac Chip'
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Buddleja 'Blue Chip' LO AND BEHOLD
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Buddleja 'Miss Ruby'
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Butterfly Bush
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Buddleja davidii
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Buddleja davidii 'White Ball'
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Butterfly Bush
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Buddleja davidii 'Nanho Blue'
Since beginning her career as a professional journalist in 2007, Nathalie Alonso has covered a myriad of topics, including arts, culture and travel, for newspapers and magazines in New York City. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Columbia University and lives in Queens with her two cats.