‘White Profusion’ Butterfly Bush
Buddleja davidii ‘White Profusion’
ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY AWARD OF GARDEN MERIT
Synonyms of Buddleja davidii (5) (Updated on 1-11-21): Buddleja shaanxiensis Z.Y.Zhang, Buddleja shimidzuana Nakai, Buddleja striata Zhi Y.Zhang, Buddleja striata var. zhouquensis Z.Y.Zhang, Buddleja variabilis Hemsl.
Buddleja davidii Franch. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Buddleja. It was first named and described by Adrien René Franchet in Nouvelles Archives du Museum d’Histoire Naturelle in 1888.
The genus, Buddleja L., was named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753. Dr. William Houston suggested Linneaus name the genus in honor after Reverend Adam Buddle, an English botanist and rector who died in 1715. Dr. Houston sent the first Buddleja plants to England from the Caribbean which came to be known as Buddleja americana.
Plants of the World Online lists 113 species in the Buddleja genus (as of 1-11-21 when I am updating this page. It is a member of the plant family Scrophulariaceae with 63 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
The Buddleja genus was in the Buddlejaceae family, but that family is no longer recognized by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. The old family name is still being used by many botanists as one of several families that divide the Lamiales order of plants. The APG says divisions within the group are unsatisfactory and a major revision will probably occur soon… Just like what happened with the order Asparagales (but I am not going to get into that here).
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I bought my Buddleja ‘White Profusion’ from a seller on Ebay in the spring of 2013. I planted it in the bed I rejuvenated on the south side of the house and it has remained there. Initially, information from the seller said this cultivar would be a smaller cultivar, which is why I bought it. However, it has always grown larger than their initial claims.
I have always wanted a few Buddleja’s and ‘White Profusion’ was the first of many more to come. It is a non-stop action plant not only for their continual flowering but for all the life that it feeds. There are always butterflies, hummingbirds, hummingbird moths and other pollinators on their flowers.
Type: Deciduous shrub
Origin: South-central China, Japan, and Tibet
Zones: USDA Zones 5a-9b (-20-25° F)
Size: 5-6’ tall x 5’6 feet wide
Light: Full sun
Soil: Average well-drained soil
Uses: Great shrub for attracting butterflies & hummingbirds
As flowers fade it is a good idea to remove them. This will encourage more flowers right up till frost. Yeah, I know there are a lot, but it is worth it. The above photo was taken shortly after I had removed all the faded flowers. As you can see, it is loaded with new buds.
Buddleja davidii was named after a French missionary and explorer in China by the name of Father Armand David. He was the first European to report this species. Dr. Augustine Henry found the shrub growing near Ichang around 1887 and sent it to St. Petersburg. A French botanist-missionary, Jean André Soulié, sent seed from this species to Vilmorin, a nursery in France. In 1905 he was captured during the Tibetan revolt and shot. Buddleja davidii entered the market in the 1890’s.
It stayed relatively short and compact its first year and fit well in the southeast corner of the bed. When winter came, it died back to the ground.
Here in mid-Missouri, the Buddleja’s will die back to the ground if we have a “normal” winter. If we have a mild winter, it may not die back then the bush will get BIGGER than expected. It is recommended for Buddleja’s to be cut back each winter even though they don’t die back. Doing this will make them more vigorous, produce more flowers, and they will keep their shape better.
The Buddleja ‘White Profusion’ came back up in the spring of 2015 with no problem and was ready for a new summer of flowers.
The species, Buddleja davidii, was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Merit in 1898 and the Award of Garden Merit in 1941.
The species can grow to 16 feet in height and there are approximately 180 cultivars available. There are many hybrids between Buddleja davidii between B. globosa and B. fallowiana.
Even though Buddleja’s are a beautiful plant, this species has been declared a noxious weed in Oregon and Washington. They have naturalized and spread aggressively in parts of the east, southeast, west coast and Hawaii.
Several cultivars of Buddleja davidii hold the RHS Award of Garden Merit including ‘Black Knight’ in 1993, ‘Blue Horizon’ in 2010, ‘Camkeep’ (or ‘Camberwell Beauty’) in 2010, ‘Dartmoor’ in 1993 and reaffirmed in 2010, ‘Daren’t Valley’ in 2012, ‘Monum’ (’Nanho Purple’) in 2002, ‘Monite’ (‘Nanho White’) in 2010, ‘Royal Red’ in 1993 and reaffirmed in 2010 (also received the RHS Award of Merit in 1950), AND ‘White Profusion’ in 1993 and reaffirmed in 2010.
As I mentioned earlier on this page, if the Buddleja does not die back to the ground over the winter they can get quite large. We had a mild winter and my Buddleja ‘White Profusion’ didn’t die back. SO, to see what would happen, I didn’t cut it back. I didn’t measure it, but as you can see in the above photo taken on September 3, 2017, it was HUGE! It swallowed everything, including the Nandina domestica to the right of it.
There are always many butterflies on the Buddleja during the summer months. I have also taken photos of the hummingbird moth several times. When they get this big, deadheading is really a chore!
Luckily, it did die back during the 2016-2017 winter so I cut it back to the ground. I would have done that anyway because of the size it reached in 2016.
Buddleja davidii ‘White Profusion’ was introduced in 1945 and is still regarded as one of the best and most popular white cultivars.
Loaded with buds when the above photo was taken and ready to put on a spectacular display of white panicles.
Looks like it is just about ready for deadheading. Not all the flowers were ready for deadheading at the same time so about once every week I would cut a few off. This always kept the butterflies, hummingbirds, and hummingbird moths busy.
While it didn’t grow as huge as it did in 2016, it was around 72″ tall x 84″ wide when this photo was taken in August.
The long flower spikes are loaded with LOTS of individual flowers. It was really fascinating watching the hummingbird moths (Snowberry Clearwing Moth-Hemaris diffinis) move about the Buddleja while I was deadheading.
Cooler temps came and the Buddleja ‘White Profusion’ continued flowering right up until a good zap.
Despite the colder than normal winter, the Buddleja davidii ‘White Profusion’ emerged as usual when temps started warming up.
The Buddleja ‘White Profusion’ continuing to grow and do well.
The above photo is the last one I took of the Buddleja ‘White Profusion’ in 2018. There will be more in 2019.
The Buddleja ‘White Profusion’ was waking up from its winter’s rest when I was taking photos on April 22, 2019. It is always good to see the plants come up in the spring.
Lingering cool temps kind of kept many perennials from growing well.
Looking MUCH better by May 19. I cut out the dead stems from last year so it will look much better. A lot of people remove the dead in the fall, but I prefer to wait until spring.
The Buddleja ‘White Profusion’ is getting LOADED with buds and will soon start its summer show.
I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by. I was fairly busy in 2020 so I didn’t take many photos of my plants. I will do better in 2021.
To read growing tips for Buddleja click HERE.
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