The Tree Center

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Itsy Bitsy Blue Butterfly Bush

Buddleia hybrid ‘Blue Chip’ (PP# 19,991)

Itsy Bitsy Blue Butterfly Bush

Buddleia hybrid ‘Blue Chip’ (PP# 19,991)

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How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me

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The Blue Chip Butterfly Bush, part of the Lo & Behold® series of hybrid butterfly bushes, is a medium-sized deciduous shrub growing between 2 and 3 feet tall and wide. The slender leaves are sage-green, and from mid-summer to the first hard frost this bush is always smothered with blooms. The tiny, fragrant flowers are a beautiful lilac-blue, and they are packed 200 a time into 4-inch spikes that are produced in a profusion of blooms, from mid-summer continuously all the way to the first hard frost. The specially created variety, also sold as Summer Lilac, is sterile, producing absolutely no pollen and virtually no seeds. It is completely safe for the environment, since it cannot spread.

  • 4-inch spikes of beautiful lilac-blue flowers
  • Blooms continuously from mid-summer to first hard frost
  • Sweet fragrance attracts butterflies and other insects
  • Thrives in hot and sunny places
  • Compact shrub growing less than 3 feet tall

Plant the Blue Chip Butterfly Bush in full sun, in a warm spot in any well-drained soil. Even poor urban soils are acceptable, but avoid wet or low-lying places, especially in colder zones. In cold areas the stems usually die back to the ground, but the plant re-sprouts in late spring, reaching full size and full of blooms by mid-summer. In warmer areas prune once new shoots begin, leaving a low, compact framework, for the best flowering.

**Environmentally-safe variety that can be grown everywhere, including Oregon and Washington State.

Plant Hardiness Zones 5-9
Mature Width 2-3
Mature Height 2-3
Soil Conditions Well-Drained Soil
Sunlight Full Sun
Drought Tolerance Good Drought Tolerance
Zones 5-9

Butterfly bushes are always favorites in the garden. They are so easy to grow, they bloom for so long, and children especially love the zoo of insects and butterflies they attract. It’s a pity they weren’t better behaved, because many of the older types become tall, leggy plants that crowd out your other bushes, and in some parts of the country they produce seeds that spread into surrounding natural areas, threatening some of our wild plants. Gardeners are enterprising though, and today we have solved these problems through clever breeding and selection. Top of any list of ‘new and gentle’ butterfly bushes is the Blue Chip Butterfly Bush. It’s a compact plant staying below 3-feet tall, so it’s perfect for modern smaller gardens, especially in urban areas. It has the classic sweet fragrance that attracts us and a horde of butterflies to liven up your summer garden. And of course it is smothered with a profusion of lilac-blue flower spikes that keep on coming and coming right up to the first hard frost.

Growing the Blue Chip Butterfly Bush

Size and Appearance

The Blue Chip Butterfly Bush is a rounded deciduous shrub with a dense habit and a dome-like form, growing rapidly to be over 2 feet tall in a single season, and repeating that performance each year, sometimes rising a little over 3 feet by the end of the season. The slender stems are a soft gray-brown color, and the long, narrow leaves are 3 to 4 inches long and about 1½ inches wide. They have a slender, spear-head shape, tapering to a graceful point. The texture is soft and slightly hairy, and an attractive sage-green color, with a more silvery underside. The time of first blooms depends on where you live, but blooms start no later than mid-summer, and they continue in abundance all the way to the first hard frost – weeks and weeks of color and joy exactly when many other plants in your garden have finished blooming.

The individual flowers are tiny, but they are packed into long spikes, with about 200 flowers in each 4-inch spike. These grow at the end of each branch, and then more and more sprout out from along the stems, so that your bush is covered in hundreds of flower spikes. Each tiny trumpet-shaped flower – barely ¼ inch across – is violet blue with a orange-yellow heart, releasing a lovely sweet fragrance into the air around your bush. The flowers open beginning with those at the base of the spike, each flower lasting about 5 days, and each spike up to 4 weeks. With the continuous production of new spikes as well you are guaranteed a profusion of blooms.

Using the Blue Chip Butterfly Bush in Your Garden

Wherever you have sunny places that need color in the later part of summer and fall, that’s the spot for the Blue Chip Butterfly Bush. Plant it among your smaller shrubs, or among perennial flowers, where it looks perfectly at home. Plant it on slopes and banks, in the levels of retaining walls, or among rocks and boulders. Grow it in planter boxes and pots too, to brighten your patio, terrace or balcony.

Hardiness

The Blue Chip Butterfly Bush grows best in zones 7, 8 and 9, but in well-drained, sunny spots in zone 6 and the warmest parts of zone 5, it will be happy, and come back each year. In those zones the branches often die to the ground over winter, but new shoots emerge after a few weeks of warm weather, and, wow, by mid-summer it is fully grown and coming into bloom.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Only full sun is good enough for the Blue Chip Butterfly Bush – avoid shady places. It enjoys well-drained soil, and wet soil, especially in winter, is the major reason it may not re-sprout in spring, especially in colder zones. Plant at the top of slopes, in higher beds, or on a mound of earth, and don’t plant in places where water or ice tend to accumulate. It will grow in all kinds of soil, even rough urban construction soil, and rocky or sandy soil is often preferred over rich garden beds. It is very drought resistant once well-established, but the best growth is from plant that are watered regularly through the summer.

Maintenance and Pruning

Normally free of pests or diseases, your Blue Chip Butterfly Bush thrives everywhere if it has good drainage. The flower spikes disappear under new growth as they die, but you can do some dead-heading if you wish. An annual spring pruning, cutting back to a short framework of strong branches, is all that is needed for care. Do this after you start to see some buds developing, to help distinguish dead wood from live stems.

History and Origin of the Blue Chip Butterfly Bush

The spread of the butterfly bush, Buddleja davidii, into wild places, especially in the northeast, created a challenge for responsible horticulturists’ They wanted to protect the environment, but they also wanted to enjoy attractive garden plants which are an important food source for many pollinating insects. The answer was to create, with scientific breeding methods, new, sterile butterfly bushes that made no seeds.

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 of butterfly bushes 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 was beautiful, but completely safe to grow everywhere. They patented it as ‘Blue Chip’ and with several other similar varieties they have been released by the Proven Winners® brand as the Lo & Behold® series. All of them produce no pollen, and virtually no seeds.

Buying the Blue Chip Butterfly Bush at the Tree Center

Even the states of Oregon and Washington, where selling or growing the butterfly bush is banned, allow the Blue Chip Butterfly Bush to be grown, sold with the name of ‘Summer Lilac’. So you know this plant is completely safe, wherever you live, and will never spread from where you plant it. So enjoy with a clear conscience, but order now, because everyone wants to grow these great plants, and each year they sell out very quickly.

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Itsy Bitsy Blue Butterfly Bush

Buddleia hybrid ‘Blue Chip’ (PP# 19,991)