Magnify glass

Buddleja davidii Santana

Butterfly bush

Perfect for attracting bees and butterflies

A superb, vigorous variety of the common buddleja growing to 1.8m (6ft) with arching branches and deep green leaves edged with bright creamy-yellow. Massive clusters of red-purple flowers appear in late summer, each flower with a tiny deep orange eye. The fragrance is strong and sweet and the blooms are very attractive to bees and butterflies, hence the common name - butterfly bush. The deep coloured flowers and variegated leaves make a striking combination.


Plant in full sun. Ideal for dry gardens and coastal conditions. Perfect at the back of a border to rise above other shrubs, roses and perennials.


Any well-drained soil. Thrives on poor soil and chalk. Prune hard in late winter cutting back to 90cm (3ft) or less. Deadheading as the flowers fade prolongs the flowering season. 

One of the few buddlejas with variegated leaves, lovely even when it's not in bloom

Plant details

In depth plant information

Property Value
Plant type Ornamental shrub
Flower colour
Foliage colour
Typically available April - September
Season of interest Summer, Autumn
Flowering July - October
Evergreen Yes
Plant height 300 cm - 400 cm
Plant width 300 cm - 400 cm
Fragrant flowers Yes
Hazardous No
Attracts bees Yes
Attracts butterflies Yes
Plant height in 5 years 400 cm
Medicinal No
Hardiness zone (?) H4

Will perform best in these conditions

Property Value
Soil type Chalk, Clay, Sand, Loam
Light exposure Full sun, Part shade
Soil drainage Well drained, Moist
Planting instructions

Water the plant in its pot thoroughly before planting – give it a good soaking. Prepare the area by digging a hole twice the size of the pot. Dig compost into the base of the hole. Remove the pot and position the plant in the hole, with the top of the rootball about level with the surrounding soil. Refill the planting hole with a mixture of garden soil and compost, firming as you go. Water in well and keep well watered during the plant's first year.

Planting site Cottage garden, Informal garden, Flower border and beds, Coastal or drought resistant, Wildlife garden

Typically available

From April to September