Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Butterfly Bush, Summer Lilac, Orange-eye Butterfly Bush
Buddleja davidii 'Black Knight'

Family: Buddlejaceae
Genus: Buddleja (BUD-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: davidii (duh-VID-ee-eye) (Info)
Cultivar: Black Knight

Synonym:Buddleia davidii
Synonym:Buddleia variabilis
Synonym:Buddleja variabilis

14 vendors have this plant for sale.

63 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Dark Purple/Black

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 41 photos.
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28 positives
3 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive kmm44 On Jan 8, 2014, kmm44 from Dayton, OH wrote:

I have 3 of these at my main home and one at the lake house. I love them! They bloom for a long time with minimal deadheading and, if pruned well, do not spread. The butterflies love them, too, and at times are covered with them.
I looked at the neutral and negative responses and think it must be the areas that are causing problems. Here in SW and NC Ohio we do have heat and drought at times, but not prolonged.
I love the dark purple color. Once established they don't need constant watering. I use them as a backdrop or centerpiece for other perennials in layered heights.

Positive wakingdream On Jan 6, 2014, wakingdream from Allentown, PA wrote:

Our Black Knight butterfly bush was quite lovely for several years, but succumbed to encroaching shade. We cut it back to about 12" annually in late winter, and it successfully resprouted to a manageable size, but eventually it did not return for us. The color of the flowers was dramatic, with a fragrance so rich it was almost culinary. Monarch butterflies were regular visitors as were Yellow Swallowtails and Mourning Cloaks. The offspring of this plant bloomed medium purple 90% of the time.

Positive snorklewort On Jan 6, 2014, snorklewort from Conyers, GA wrote:

Does not like wet feet, do a raised bed if in a wet clay area. Beautiful with low growing yellow lantana under planted.

Positive bobbieberecz On Jul 18, 2013, bobbieberecz from Concrete, WA wrote:

LOVE this bush!! It likes at least some water and will pout if it dries out in my sandy-loam soil. My Black Knight grew very quickly to at least 15 feet, is covered with large (well over a foot) wonderfully scented panicles. I also have this plant in raspberry (beautiful and almost as vigorous), yellow (a more "bushy" shape with smaller, less fragrant flowers), and lavender (after pruning this spring it grew 6 feet in just a few months!). I have 5 acres and if I or my friends want a bush, I just put a branch into the ground and let it get watered with the rest of the flowers. Ignore it if the leaves fall off. By next spring you'll have another bush to share. Black Knight is the easiest of all to root and grows jubilantly right from the start. I have one happy bush in all day dappled sun and another with it's feet in the shade and it's head in full sun. Others are in morning shade /afternoon sun and vice versa. They all seem very happy.

Negative Gardeningman On Feb 13, 2013, Gardeningman from Kingman, KS wrote:

I had planted two of these the spring of 2013 right next to my lantana flower bed. However, both last year and this year they were infested by spider mites. I tried to treat them but couldn't seem to get on top of the problem. After the spider mites began to spread to my Froebelli Spireas, I decided that it was time for the butterfly bushed to go, so I shovel pruned them.

Positive Dosetaker On Sep 3, 2012, Dosetaker from Mason, NH (Zone 5b) wrote:

As with most Butterfly Bush, this is a great plant. Nice dark color and that thick scent that fills the air. Brings in the butterflies in droves.

Positive Mike_W On Sep 1, 2012, Mike_W from Sterling, MA wrote:

Great plant! I have 4 of them out in my garden and the bees and butterflies go nuts for the flowers. Butterflies will swarm all over the blooms and when they try to fly away, they can't help but turn around and come right back. I plan on getting a few more in different colors and planting them along a fence.

Positive Sandwichkatexan On Apr 1, 2012, Sandwichkatexan from Copperas Cove, TX wrote:

I hack these to the ground every year . They are the backbone of my largest flowerbed . I have them underplanted with cuphea ignea , king alfred type daffodils , phlomis russelana , several smaller growing agaves , variegated yucca, iris pallida variegata , katie ruellia , coryopsis route 66, salvia greggi of all colors , ham an egg lantanas , tecoma stans , golden splendor lilies , foxtail lilies , and two ocotillos for accent . This is my knockout flowerbed when its in full bloom it is amazing and hummingbird turf wars frequently break out .

Positive joey62 On Jul 8, 2011, joey62 from Gun Barrel City, TX wrote:


Positive virginiarose On May 3, 2011, virginiarose from Southeast, VA (Zone 8a) wrote:

My bush was up to ten feet high last year before the first frost. I almost never watered it because it was on the back side of garage where hose will not reach. It responds very well to pruning and dead-heading. :)

Positive suentommy On Sep 7, 2010, suentommy from Souderton, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I planted one of these bushes about twenty years ago. I think that one died - but it is hard to tell since I now have about ten of them - none which I have planted. They are beautiful in bloom and if you dead head them the flowers just keep on coming. Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds love them. It is a real treat to watch them from my office window all day as they move between those, crape myrtles, and heptacodium trees. They bloom from mid summer to late fall. They don't seem to die back here, but in the years I forgot to cut them back to about a foot or two the bushes became unruly, huge, and not very attractive. Lesson learned. Remember to cut them back if you want them to remain attractive. They have brittle wood, especially on older plants that will split. I don't know if they propagate from seed or by undergroung runners but they do tend to pop up all over the place, which is good if you decide you want a large shrub to hide something and don't want to go out to the store and buy one. Generally they will sprout up just about everywhere.. I even have another variety which I never planted with smaller flowers that grew up on a south facing hill that I only water occassionally and it is now a large shrub. They are invasive and if you want a plant that does not reproduce all over the place this is not the plant for you. If you don't mind pulling out those you do not want and enjoy the never ending parade of wildlife that these plants attract - then by all means plant it. You will never be without summer color.

Neutral bariolio On Aug 22, 2010, bariolio from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Have 3 of these planted in full sun. They are really struggling in the intense heat this summer. The leaves turn yellow with brown spots, ends get brown and crunchy (dead!) and fall off. We just put a shade over them in hopes that they will survive. I LOVE this color and will replace them if they don't make it. Will update if I remember!

Positive CouchHogs On Jul 25, 2010, CouchHogs from Rockford, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I am loving this plant. Never seen so many different butterflies. I deadhead often to ensure it has fresh flowers for them. Yay!!

I do have seeds for trade-see my trade list.

Positive RussS On Oct 13, 2009, RussS from Saint Louis, MO wrote:

I find it interesting that the state of Oregon will ban the Buddleja plants because the plants are considered invasive. While I agree that the plants can be propogated from the seed quite easily, I do not agree that the nurseries should benefit from this decision. A similar situation has taken place with new varieties of corn that will not reproduce from the seed. Where are we headed if we try to re-engineer nature? I collect the butterfly seeds and have spread them around my garden. Each year a handful of new plants appear, but they do not appear to be taking over the world. I hope to some day have many more of these bushes and continue to attract more butterflies. This is one of my favorite plants in my garden.

Neutral ospreyhome On Jul 19, 2009, ospreyhome from Chiloquin, OR wrote:

This shrub dies back to the ground in my area (z5) and Butterfly Bush 'Nanho Blue' does much better. All Buddlejas will be banned for sale in Oregon by the end of 2009.

Neutral khabbab On Jul 13, 2009, khabbab from lahore
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

This is a difficult plant to grow in lahore Pakistan as it does not tolerate hot summer here. I have planted one in a clay pot with lots of mulching and it just survived our 45c hot summers. Growth is retarded but has resumed in mid july with start of rainy season. Have not seen it bloom yet. It grows easily in hilly areas specially in murree and blooms well there.

Positive Bookerc1 On Sep 10, 2008, Bookerc1 from Mackinaw, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Our Black Knight is in its second year, and is really thriving. The blooms are much larger and fuller than last year. I've found that it is so irresistible to butterflies and bees that they will fly all around me when I am weeding at its feet. I've turned my head and found them just beside me, so absorbed in it's fragrance they they don't even seem to notice me there. I understand. . .I can get lost with my nose buried in one, too!

Has anyone saved seed and successfully grown it out?

Positive CharmingGarden On May 24, 2008, CharmingGarden from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I really like this plant and flowers are non stop until the winter time. I deadhead all the spent blooms just to promote new blooms which seems to work well. However, the color of the blooms have gone from dark purplish-blue to pinkish magenta. Has anyone else experienced this?

Positive DATURA12 On Feb 5, 2008, DATURA12 from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love these plants, they attract tons of butterflies and are really easy to propagate by cuttings any time of the year. I deadhead constantly and cut it back late winter by one third.

Positive soapwort243 On Oct 9, 2007, soapwort243 from South Milwaukee, WI wrote:

I have a couple of these. For me, every year they get shorter - (maybe a little) but and they get alot wider. I cut all the way to the ground in late fall.(which was what I told when I purchased because the new growth comes out of the ground.) Every year I think that they died over winter because they do not show any life until the end of May-beginining of June. The best thing about them is that they really do attract LOT of butterflies and bees !!!

Positive BlackDogKurt On Sep 18, 2007, BlackDogKurt from Seymour, CT wrote:

Beautiful shrub. It really does attract tons of butterflies! I deadhead the spent blooms to encourage more blooms, which will continue all summer and into the fall. Also, the individual blooms do not last a long time, so regular deadheading cleans up the plant. It is a little slow to get started in the spring, but once it does, it really grows fast! Also, in colder climates (such as where I live in zone 6), cut the plant all the way back to within about 12 inches of the ground in late winter. It may seem drastic but it really does encourage it to come back bigger and better each year. This is the most fragrant plant on our property.

Positive jt0791 On Jul 13, 2007, jt0791 from Pembroke, MA wrote:

For those who want to attract butterflies this plant takes the cake by far, Black knights flowers are super sweet and irresistable to butterflies,

Positive alddesigns On Jun 18, 2007, alddesigns from Saint Cloud, FL wrote:

I've recently gotten 3 different types of butterfly bushes. This one is probably my most favorite. The flowers are such a rich blackberry color and the sweet honey scent is like alyssum, but 10 times sweeter. My plants are still pretty small and already it is flowering. I'm so pleased with it!

Positive cjbnc On Apr 26, 2007, cjbnc from Raleigh, NC wrote:

In my zone (7ish), this plant doesn't die back in the winter. My mom has one in zone 5 and it does die to the ground every year, but keeps coming back for her. My Black Knight is the most bushy of the Buddlejas in my yard: it has lots of thin stems where the others tend to put out just a few main trunks and branch out from there. As others have said, the smell is wonderful. It reminds me of fresh grape jam.

Positive ccjacko1910 On Nov 21, 2006, ccjacko1910 from Crescent City, CA wrote:

Purchased this plant the previous spring and planted it next to the steps. Plant grew to 10ft. tall 6ft. diameter. numerous flowers and attractive to birds and bees. This area is on the coast, has fog in the summer and rain in the winter with occasional frost. Summer temp 60 to 70s with occasional 80.Awesome grower but needs to be clipped back to keep within bounds.

Positive Marilynbeth On Nov 20, 2006, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

Beautiful! BF's love it!

Positive renatelynne On Jul 25, 2006, renatelynne from Boerne new zone 30, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

With our mild winters this plant bloomed all winter and is still blooming into our HOT hot summer. It is planted in full sun next to the road and driveway. I rairly water it.

Positive CaptMicha On Jan 13, 2005, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Black Knight is a very durable, rewarding plant. It requires little care, however, it'll benefit from deadheading the spent blooms.

Butterflies, bees and hummers CANNOT resist this plant. It has an almost overpowering sweet smell. Flower cones are of medium length, not as long as some of the other Buddleja cultivars. It's color is a rich, almost black purple, hence the name, Black Knight.

Plants can be trained to bush out or to grow more upright which lets it fit perfectly into a butterfly garden setting.

Positive saya On Jul 2, 2004, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

Black Knight is blooming for the second year now. The flowers are much bigger least the triple size as last year. I guess the plant has settled now and grew more mature. Black Knight has a wonderfull colour..a very warm and dark purple (you can call it purple black with a red glow in it) with a dark orange eye. I think it is one of the prettiest among the Buddleia. It has a strong honey scent that can fill a room if you put a branch in a vase. I understand now better why butterflies love this bush. If you want butterflies..please plant a Buddlea...I've just counted about 50 butterflies on it!

Positive ldygardenermd On Apr 27, 2004, ldygardenermd wrote:

My black knight is prolific in bloom all season long! As long as the flowers are dead headed on a regular basis it maintains it beauty!! I have them planted in a variety of conditions, clay soil with full sun, enriched soil in part sun that stays moist to wet, and part sun in moderate to dry soil. Wonderful plant!!!

Negative angelam On Apr 26, 2004, angelam from melbourne
Australia wrote:

While I find the plant very drought tolerant. I find the flowers less so. This plant flowers with us in mid-Summer. In dry weather they are often spent in a day and the repeats are very small. I am disappointed in this plant, I have another variety that flowers in Spring and is much more rewarding.

Positive lauburt On Jun 1, 2003, lauburt from Vancouver, WA wrote:

Easy to grow and drought tolerant. Wonderful dark purple blooms that are an average of 5 inches long...but some get up to 8 or 9 inches here! Very sweet scent. Nothing beats a buddelia for scent, except maybe a lilac or heliotrope!

Positive Abutilon On Jul 31, 2002, Abutilon from Coal Center, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Well recommended buddliea. Wonderfully fragrant and highly attractive to butterflies.
Easy to bloom and good grown habit.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Enterprise, Alabama
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Anthem, Arizona
Flagstaff, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Prescott Valley, Arizona
Dermott, Arkansas
Gentry, Arkansas
Brea, California
Chico, California
Clayton, California
Crescent City, California
Crockett, California
Elk Grove, California
Fairfield, California
Fremont, California
Hesperia, California
Knights Landing, California
Long Beach, California
Madera, California
Merced, California
Paradise, California
Pittsburg, California
Redondo Beach, California
Sacramento, California
Upland, California
Valley Center, California
Parker, Colorado
Seymour, Connecticut
Sherman, Connecticut
Bear, Delaware
Lewes, Delaware
Wilmington, Delaware (2 reports)
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Orange Park, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Saint Cloud, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Barnesville, Georgia
Conyers, Georgia
Cordele, Georgia
Dacula, Georgia
Lawrenceville, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois (2 reports)
Godfrey, Illinois
Mackinaw, Illinois
Rockford, Illinois
Anderson, Indiana
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Sheffield, Iowa
Kingman, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Frankfort, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Smiths Grove, Kentucky
Plain Dealing, Louisiana
Aberdeen, Maryland
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Franklin, Massachusetts
Pembroke, Massachusetts
Sterling, Massachusetts
Topsfield, Massachusetts
Wellesley, Massachusetts
Bay City, Michigan
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
Stanwood, Michigan
Warren, Michigan
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Mathiston, Mississippi
Saint Louis, Missouri
Henderson, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Auburn, New Hampshire
Greenville, New Hampshire
Manchester, New Hampshire (2 reports)
Jamesburg, New Jersey
Johnsonburg, New Jersey
Stanhope, New Jersey
Kirtland, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Elba, New York
Jefferson, New York
Port Washington, New York
Poughkeepsie, New York
Broadway, North Carolina
Candler, North Carolina
Carthage, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina (2 reports)
Murphy, North Carolina
Oxford, North Carolina
Raeford, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Dayton, Ohio
Felicity, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Saint Marys, Ohio
Westerville, Ohio
Chiloquin, Oregon
South Beach, Oregon
Tillamook, Oregon
Albion, Pennsylvania
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Ambler, Pennsylvania
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
Brookhaven, Pennsylvania
Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Reading, Pennsylvania
Souderton, Pennsylvania
Wood River Junction, Rhode Island
Bluffton, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Greeneville, Tennessee
Oliver Springs, Tennessee
Toone, Tennessee
Alice, Texas
Austin, Texas
Boerne, Texas
Bulverde, Texas
Copperas Cove, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
Houston, Texas
Irving, Texas
Lewisville, Texas
Liberty Hill, Texas
Lindale, Texas
Mabank, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Farmington, Utah
Ivins, Utah
Kaysville, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah (2 reports)
Alexandria, Virginia
Herndon, Virginia
Portsmouth, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Sterling, Virginia
Concrete, Washington
Grand Mound, Washington
Kalama, Washington
La Conner, Washington
North Bend, Washington
Quincy, Washington
Seattle, Washington (3 reports)
Vancouver, Washington (2 reports)
Petersburg, West Virginia
Cambridge, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Riverton, Wyoming

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