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Butterfly Bush, Summer Lilac 'Ellen's Blue'


Family: Scrophulariaceae (skrof-yoo-larr-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Buddleja (BUD-lee-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Ellen's Blue



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




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

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers



Bloom Color:

Dark Blue

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From hardwood cuttings

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

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


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

Richmond, California

Plant City, Florida

Savannah, Georgia

Hebron, Kentucky

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

North Augusta, South Carolina

Clinton, Tennessee

Cosby, Tennessee

El Paso, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

Puyallup, Washington

Seattle, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


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

Found by Ellen Hornig (of Seneca Hills Nursery fame) as a self-sown seedling in her NY garden. A great performer, and one of the closest to blue (it's still bue-violet). This received favorable notice at the RHS 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 Or... read more


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

Buddleia 'Ellen's Blue' BUTTERFLY BUSH Dec (z5) (Bfly,Cut,Fra)
Large clusters (a bouquet all by themselves!) of some of the deepest, truest blue Buddleia flowers are complemented by the handsome grey-green foliage of this 5-6'shrub. Sun/Med


On Nov 17, 2006, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

Love the color! I got this for the first time this Summer and the BF's love it too! Of all my Butterfly Bushes (have about a doz. different ones), this one is the one they flock to most of the time! I try a keep my Butterfly Bushes deadheaded for them and also to keep them blooming for me. I keep most of the Bushes pinched back so they stay more compact.

I just read today (11/20/06) that the flowers get bluer the bigger it gets, so I try not to pinch it back next year. Interesting.


On Oct 3, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

'Ellen's Blue' is a really nice probably hybrid buddleia, well-behaved, and with that soft medium blue that's so wonderful in any garden. It is very fragrant, and a butterfly favorite. I planted it nearly a year ago, and it is 4' tall and a bit wider after light pruning a month ago, just removing old blooms. Buddleias tend to be shorter-lived down here in central Florida, so I am interested to see how long this one will stay. I have only grown B. daividii before. Wish me luck!