How to grow: Buddleia ‘Pink Delight’

RHS Wisley currently has a new buddleia trial close to the heather garden that includes some new red varieties. The trial should look stunning throughout late summer and autumn and has already been attracting butterflies. If you visit Wisley in August you can vote for your favourite.

Buddleias are named after the Reverend Adam Buddle (1660-1715). This parson naturalist produced Britain’s first herbarium and his contemporary Carl Linnaeus honoured his work by naming the buddleia after him. There are 100 species, mainly shrubs or trees found in Asia, the Americas and Africa. Many grow at medium or high altitudes on rocky slopes but hardiness varies. One of the NCCPG National Collections is attractively displayed at Longstock Park Nursery.

Other first-rate cultivars include the dainty, lavender-blue ‘Lochinch’. This hybrid has wonderful silver-white foliage through winter. It is also later to flower and always looks stunning in September. The almost airy B. davidii ‘Nanho Blue’ produces narrow spikes of deep blue flowers, pin-pricked in bright orange.

Taller varieties include the ‘White Profusion’, the magenta-red ‘Royal Red’ and the violet-purple ‘Black Knight’, all AGM winners. It is vital to dead head to encourage fresh flowers and prevent seedlings popping up where you don’t want them (buddleias self-seed freely).

However, spontaneous self-seeding can produce the odd stunner like ‘Dartmoor’, with fists of fingered, lilac-purple flowers. This was spotted growing in a ravine at Yelverton in Devon by a sharp-eyed retired gardener. B. davidii grows naturally in similar rocky terrain through many provinces in China. I’m sure the Rev Buddle, who clambered over many a rock on his travels, would have approved of this wild-collected specimen.

How to grow

Hardy buddleia such as ‘Pink Delight’ are trouble-free, adaptable shrubs for sunny, warm positions. They sulk in shade and prefer well-drained soil. Deadhead to extend the flowering season, then remove spent flower heads in autumn to prevent unwanted seedlings.

Leave the attractive framework of deciduous buddleias intact during winter. Once spring arrives cut the shoots back hard to within 12in – but not until the end of March or slightly later. If you want to keep more height and produce earlier flowers take the stems back to 3ft. Harder-pruned buddleias tend to live longer, though.

Good companions

Smaller buddleias such as ‘Pink Delight’ make ideal specimen plants in full sun because they are graceful enough to hold a good shape. Taller varieties can add extra height to a sunny herbaceous border. The violet-purple ‘Black Knight’ and magenta-toned ‘Royal Red’ look splendid against tall, pallid lemon daisies such as Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ or against white dahlias. But ‘White Profusion’ would need dark companions like the purple dahlia ‘Admiral Rawlings’ or the spoon-shaped leaves of Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’. Flower colour doesn’t seem to matter to the butterflies.

‘Pink Delight’ also blends with other silver-leaved plants, including the dark spires of Teucrium hircanicum ‘Purple Tails’ and frost-hardy salvias, such as the purple ‘Christine Yeo’.

Where to buy

Longstock Park Nursery, Longstock, Stockbridge, Hants SO20 6EH (01264 810 894;

Burncoose Nurseries, Gwennap, Redruth, Cornwall TR16 6BJ (01209 860316;

Buddleia offer

Pink Delight Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) Plants

Note: Sales of Butterfly Bush in Oregon is prohibited. We can not ship this plant to Oregon. Thanks!

Pink Delight Butterfly Bush Quick Facts!

Non-Native in the US

Fantastic Nectar Plant for Butterflies


Hardy in USDA zones 5-9


Full sun

Medium moisture, Drought tolerant

Large pink/rose flower panicles, 6-12 inches long, fragrant

Blooms summer to fall

Grows 6-8 feet tall, 4-6 feet wide

Deer and rabbit resistant

Butterflies flock to Pink Delight!

It is known to be one of the most attractive Butterfly Bush colors for butterflies and its high nectar production feeds pollinators all summer/fall. Pink Delight is large with a dense habit (for a looser habit and slightly smaller butterfly bush you may want to take a look at Royal Red Buddleia). It is a strong grower and will respond well to a hard cut back in late winter. Pruning throughout the year will keep it shapely.

Pink Delight is a great butterfly bush cultivar with it’s pink/mauve flowers standing out against a dense silvery foliage. It is a beautiful shrub in the butterfly garden and is sure to be a greatly loved by your butterflies and other pollinators (Royal Red has darker red/purple blooms and is also attractive to hummingbirds)!

Note: Butterfly bush is considered invasive in some areas (spreading by lightweight seed in the wind) and should be deadheaded, especially in areas where the bush is particularly invasive (Northwest Coastal US, and Eastern coastal areas). In fact sales/cultivation of butterfly bush are prohibited in Oregon so we can not ship plants to Oregon.

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