Buddleja, Butterfly Bush, Orange-eye Butterfly Bush, Summer Lilac 'Royal Red'

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: Royal Red




Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

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

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 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 is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Bessemer, Alabama

Chico, California

Sacramento, California

San Clemente, California

San Jose, California

Gainesville, Florida(2 reports)

Kissimmee, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Dacula, Georgia

Rincon, Georgia

Oskaloosa, Iowa

Kingman, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas

Hebron, Kentucky

Merryville, Louisiana

California, Maryland

College Park, Maryland

Silver Spring, Maryland

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Mount Clemens, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Brainerd, Minnesota

Candia, New Hampshire

Clinton Corners, New York

Rochester, New York

Raleigh, North Carolina

Glouster, Ohio

Xenia, Ohio

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Albany, Oregon

Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

Glenshaw, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Waterford, Pennsylvania

North Augusta, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Knoxville, Tennessee

Middleton, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Irving, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

West Dummerston, Vermont

Olympia, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Black Earth, Wisconsin

Marinette, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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

This is one of the most deeply colored "reds", but it's recently been superseded by 'Attraction'. It's an older cultivar, introduced by Good and Reese Nursery of Ohio in 1928.

Average inflorescence size 37x8cm. Height and spread 170x180cm.

The Royal Horticultural Society as given this cultivar its coveted Award of Garden Merit. http://apps.rhs.org.uk/planttrials/TrialReports/Buddleja 201...

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

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.
... read more


On Jul 17, 2013, irishmist from Rochester, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This has grown well and bloomed beautifully in my Zone 6A for 5-6 years. Just started to bloom on 7/14 and now instead of solid panicles, the spray consists of smaller tufts of flowers along the panicle's stem which increase in size from the tip to the central branch. It looks like the yellow buddleia (Honeycomb I think). Anyone know what caused this change. Weather was very rainy for several weeks then hot and humid during flower formation. Related?


On Feb 11, 2013, kydrummer from Silver Spring, MD wrote:

I have been growing buddleja davidii in Maryland for 20 years and have never had a volunteer seedling. Japanese barberry is very invasive in the woods here though, and porcelain berry vine is a nightmare.


On Jul 28, 2011, Patmisty1 from College Park, MD wrote:

This plant is beautiful but needs to be deadheaded and not allowed to go to seed. It is invasive in many states and crowds out native species. Maryland is one of the states that has it listed as invasive and to be removed from the wild. Please check with your extension service to see if it is a problem in your state.


On Jun 12, 2010, crablegs from Vienna, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

I grew Buddleia davidii [not sure which one] several years ago, about 1995-2004 in California, Maryland. It grew well with little attention. Recommendations at that time were to cut it back in late March, early April. Sometimes that didn't happen, but it surely did attract butterflies and bees, regardless. I say it grew until 2004. It might be growing still. That is when I moved to Maine.
Today I found the plant again.
While the hang tag says to zone 5, I'm going to try it in zone 4.
Hopefully, I will remember to report back to you next year on my Maine experience with Buddleia davidii "Royal Red."


On Nov 24, 2009, stormyla from Norristown, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have 3 of these bushes growing as understory plantings in a dry windy bed under Maples. They grow and bloom very well there.


On Mar 17, 2006, zarcanat from Montreal, QC (Zone 4b) wrote:

I do have this one plus Nanho blue and Nanho pink and definitly, it is the best fragrance of all!


On Nov 25, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This variety is a 1928 hybrid from Good and Reese Nursery in Ohio. It's really not "red", but more of a deep scarlet or bright violet.

Most butterfly bushes are hardy in zones 5 - 9. If you live in zone 5 or a colder zone, the tops in your butterfly bushes will likely die back over the winter. Even so, they will come back the next growing season bigger and better then before. Butterfly bushes prefer full sun (they must receive eight or more hours of sun a day to thrive).