Buddleja, Variegated Butterfly Bush, Orange-eye Butterfly Bush, Summer Lilac 'Santana'

Buddleja davidii

Family: Scrophulariaceae (skrof-yoo-larr-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Buddleja (BUD-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: davidii (duh-VID-ee-eye) (Info)
Cultivar: Santana
Additional cultivar information:(PP12383)
Hybridized by Dransfield
Registered or introduced: 1999




Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Good Fall Color

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone



Bloom Color:

Fuchsia (red-purple)

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

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:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

San Diego, California

San Jose, California

San Leandro, California

Dracut, Massachusetts

Coos Bay, Oregon

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Lexington, Virginia

Manassas, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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

This is a sport of 'Royal Red'. Unfortunately, it's one of the shortest-lived cultivars of a short-lived species.

The species itself usually survives less than 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 usua... read more


On Jun 19, 2013, natureguyfrog from San Diego, CA wrote:

Confirm Cv "Santana"?_Pruning in nearly frost-free clime_Controling major pests:

This is one of the most attractive yellow-variegated plants! The saturated yellow may darken to chartreuse to light green on older leaves. The yellow runs predominantly on the outer part of the leaf with the green "brushed" from the central vein like an "overlay". Yellow is very CLEANLY separated from the green even if the line is very irregular. Looking very closely reveals subtle translucent layers each of which is evenly saturated. This is why I doubt the pictures by 'rcn48' and 'chicochi3'.

The rest of the photos by 'Calif Sue' and 'Kell' are very typical of 'Santana'.

In addition the fragrant purple flowers with an orange eye are a magnificent compliment to th... read more


On Feb 8, 2012, bosoxbum from Manassas, VA wrote:

This plant (and its close relative 'evil ways') is an incredible find for our very shady woodland border garden in Northern Virginia. Stunning variegated leaves up close, and year-long (at least so far) contrasting yellow color from a distance. Deer don't mess with it at all, and it still grew dense with only 3 hours of direct sun a day. No problems whatsoever, even in mostly clay soil, competing with poplar roots, wet or dry, temps down to 20F. The contrasting purple blooms aren't large, but they are more than a bonus. Good luck finding it at retailers.


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

Buddleia davidii 'Santana' GOLDEN VARIEG. B'FLY B Dec (z5) (Fra,Bfly)
Lovely deep-green splashed with yellow foliage and fragrant, June-to-frost red-purple flowers make this 4-6 footer an all season treat; a winner you'll enjoy from Blakedown Nurseries in England.


On Jan 30, 2006, rcn48 from Lexington, VA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Wondeful contrast of bright yellow and green variegated foliage with purple-red blooms. Introduced by Blakedown Nurseries in England. Patented plant: asexual propagation of this plant is prohibited.

Unlike the white and green variegated Buddleia 'Harlequin', which often proves to be a weak grower, hopefully this new gold and green variegated Buddleia is an improvement. Hardy to Zone 5.