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Buddleja, Butterfly Bush, Orange-eye Butterfly Bush, Summer Lilac 'Empire Blue'

Buddleja davidii

Family: Buddlejaceae
Genus: Buddleja (BUD-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: davidii (duh-VID-ee-eye) (Info)
Cultivar: Empire Blue
Synonym:Buddleia davidii
Synonym:Buddleia variabilis
Synonym:Buddleja variabilis




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 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)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:



Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall



Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Patent expired

Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


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

Kissimmee, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 2, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is an older cultivar. The RHS withdrew its Award of Garden Merit after the 2008-2010 Buddleja trials.

This species isn't long-lived (usually under 10 years). Hard pruning (to 6") annually in early spring helps it renew itself and improves bloom.

All B. davdii cultivars require weekly deadheading for them to look and bloom its best.

Butterfly bushes may be good nectar sources for adult butterflies, but they are not food sources for the caterpillars of any Lepidoptera native to the continental US.

In some places, B. davidii can be an invasive weed: England, France, New Zealand, and the states of Oregon and Washington. It has naturalized in eastern N. America but is not considered invasive there. Recent cultivars are usually sel... read more


On Jun 26, 2007, alddesigns from Saint Cloud, FL wrote:

I got 3 of these a few months ago and the plants looked quite tiny, they are bursting with blooms now and so pretty. They appear to really thrive in full sun, I have one in a shadier spot and it is growing more slowly and has not flowered yet. The flowers are a lovely pale periwinkle blue with a vibrant orange eye. The contrast is very striking. I'm also growing the black knight, white profusion, and bicolor. Now that I've seen these bloom, I am pretty pleased! Highly recommend!


On Mar 16, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Buddleia davidii 'Empire Blue' BUTTERFLY BUSH Dec (z5) (Fra,Bfly,Cut)
Fragrant trusses of rich violet-blue flowers with an orange eye are wonderful in the late summer border or the late summer bouquet. Sun/Med