Lo & Behold® Blue Chip Jr. Butterfly BushBuddleia ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ (PP 26,581)
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The Lo & Behold® Blue Chip Jr. Butterfly Bush, also known as Summer Lilac, is a wonderful new, dwarf form of the old-fashioned butterfly bush, with all the good points, and none of the bad ones. It forms a dense dwarf shrub a little over 2 feet tall, and from early summer to the first frost it is smothered in long spikes of vibrant flowers of a purple-violet color close to true blue. The narrow, tapering deciduous leaves are a perfect complement, being a slightly gray shade of green. This is a very easy shrub to grow in a sunny spot, and it looks great in front of taller shrubs, mass planted in beds, filling containers and pots, or mixed with flowering plants for a colorful display. The flowers will attract many different kinds of butterflies, and children of all ages love this opportunity to see these gorgeous creatures close up, as they feed on the delicious nectar of the flowers, attracted by the sweet honey scent that will fill your garden.
The Blue Chip Jr. Butterfly Bush grows easily in any sunny spot, in almost any kind of soil that is well-drained. It needs no special care, it is free of significant pests or diseases, and it just needs an annual trim in spring as the new growth is emerging. This plant is hardy right down into zone 5, so it can be enjoyed by almost everyone. This complex hybrid plant is effectively sterile, so it will not spread via seeds into surrounding natural areas and become a pest species. Even in states which ban the sale of regular butterfly bushes, this plant can be sold, and shipped to you, under the name Summer Lilac.
The Lo & Behold® Blue Chip Jr. Butterfly Bush is a dwarf shrub growing to around 30 inches tall and 24 inches across. It is covered continuously from early summer to the first frost with long spikes of purple-violet, almost blue flowers, that are sweetly scented and attract butterflies. It forms a dense, shrubby plant, unlike the tall and awkward shape of old-fashioned plants of this kind.
The leaves are about 2 inches long, and narrow, in a green color shaded an attractive dusky gray. This color compliments the purple tones of the flowers beautifully. These are tiny, but many are clustered together in long spikes a full 4 inches long. The plant is compact and densely-branched, so the overall form is full, not open. Unlike older types, because the flowers are sterile, they will wither and die, and old flower spikes will fall off, so no tedious dead-heading is needed.
The Lo & Behold® Blue Chip Jr. Butterfly Bush is a dwarf growing plant, very different from those tall, open plants we remember of this group. This easy to grow plant is ideal for mass plantings, forming attractive drifts of continuous color. It is small enough to grow well in containers and planters, alone for a stunning display, or mixed with other dwarf shrubs and flowering plants. It even looks great growing among perennial flowers, in a traditional border setting, where it contributes it vibrant coloring to the overall display of your garden.
However and wherever you choose to grow it, plant the Lo & Behold® Blue Chip Jr. Butterfly Bush in a sunny location with at least 6 hours of sun every day, and preferably more. In colder areas choose a spot where it will not be buried under snow. It will grow well in any well-drained soil, and grows perfectly in poor, sandy or gravelly soils. Once established it will survive periods of moderate drought, but it will always benefit from some water when it is dry, and from some fertilizer from time to time.
In spring, trim your bush back a little, waiting until the new buds appear, so that you can easily see any dead branches. Remove these, and leave a framework of the sturdiest and thickest branches. This is the only pruning needed for this easy-maintenance plant, which does not have any significant pests or diseases.
Butterfly bushes are wonderful plants to have in your garden. Their long plumes of brightly-colored flowers keep coming and coming all summer long, and they attract dozens of different butterflies that fascinate and enchant children of all ages. But there is a problem. They can grow tall, and take up a lot of room, and worse, some varieties produce a lot of seed which escapes into surrounding areas and grows into wild plants. These wild plants compete with native species and disrupt local ecosystems. The problem is severe in some areas, and the states of Oregon and Washington have banned the sale of these plants.
As often happens in situations like this, plant breeders have come to the rescue of lovers of the butterfly bush. In recent years, there have been many new varieties bred, which are effectively sterile, and do not produce any significant amount of seed, so they cannot spread into surrounding areas. This has been so successful, the states who ban this plant are very confident that the new forms cannot spread, and they allow their sale, under the name Summer Lilac. With our commitment to environmental responsibility, here at the Tree Center we are proud to be offering these new plants, and an outstanding one is the Blue Chip Jr. Butterfly Bush.
In breeding these new, sterile butterfly bushes, breeders have drawn on many different species of Buddleia, to achieve the results they seek. Dennis Werner and Layne Snelling are breeders at the J C Raulston Arboretum, part of North Carolina State University, in Raleigh. They began breeding different species together in 2001, using Buddleja davidii var. nanhoensis, B. lindleyana, B. fallowiana, and B. globosa. By 2007 they had a compact, blue-flowering sterile plant, which they called ‘Blue Chip’ ready to release to waiting gardeners.
Since then they have released several varieties with purple and white flowers, and these are all gathered together in the Lo & Behold® series. As the name suggests, ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ is an improved form – even more compact and full of flowers than the others in the series – released by the breeders in 2014. In 2015, this plant won a Silver Medal at Plantarium, a major plant show in Boskoop, Holland, and it is truly outstanding, while respecting environmental concerns. This plant is patented, and only licensed growers can reproduce it, so our plants are guaranteed to be true to the name of this remarkable plant.
Because they give gardeners freedom from the worry of seeds spreading, these new butterfly bushes are extremely popular, and demand is very high. We know that our stock will not last long, so order now, or you will lose the opportunity to grow these enchanting flowers in your garden. If you like this plant, we encourage you to check out other varieties from the Lo & Behold series, like the Pink Micro Chip Butterfly Bush.