Buddleia ‘Blue Chip’ a solid investment
Andrea Bellamy |

<i>The humble butterfly bush gets an image makeover with 'Blue Chip'</i>

Humble butterfly bush gets an extreme makeover with 'Blue Chip'

Earlier this summer, Proven Winners and Gardenimport kindly sent me a selection of new shrubs to trial. One of those was Buddleia Lo & Behold ‘Blue Chip’ – a new miniature butterfly bush.

By name alone, I wasn’t totally stoked on this plant. I’ve always wanted to like buddleia (also spelled buddleja). What’s not to like about a plant that attracts beneficial insects – especially one with the fanciful name of “butterfly bush”? But the buddleias I have known have been unruly, straggly beasts – completely unsuited to my small space.

Buddleia ‘Blue Chip’ promises to be a new breed all together – it’s tidy and compact, growing to a maximum of 2-3′ (60-90cm) with a spread of 30″ (75cm). The specimen I received was full and well-shaped (‘Blue Chip’ is said to form a “tidy mound”) – not the spindly vase-shape usually associated with buddleia. It would work well in containers or even as a ground cover.

Buddleia Lo & Behold 'Blue Chip'

Buddleia Lo & Behold 'Blue Chip'

Gardenimport says, “it blooms continuously [rather than in waves]… old flowers melt away and are covered by new blooms mid-summer to frost.” It is hardy to zone 5, enjoys full sun, and never needs deadheading. And while there is some controversy about buddleia’s tendency to become invasive in certain locales, Buddleia ‘Blue Chip’ produces little if any seed, so you can sleep easy there.

Anyway, despite my misgivings about its genus, I went ahead and planted Buddleia ‘Blue Chip’ in my “cool bed” alongside dark purple heucheras, blue hostas, silvery brunneras and white-flowering annuals. And wouldn’t you know it – the little guy bloomed for me a couple of weeks later. (It looked fabulous.) Despite its name, I wouldn’t say ‘Blue Chip’s blooms are a true blue. Like many “blue” flowers, they are a cool mauve – at least to my eye. It also didn’t flower until frost as advertised – it put on a show for a few weeks then conked out. However, that could be because it’s its first season. Or that I planted it in part-sun. We’ll see how it does next year. I have high hopes.

Buddleia Lo & Behold ‘Blue Chip’ is the first in a series of miniature butterfly bushes from ColorChoice Shrubs by Proven Winners. Look for it in the nursery next spring.

Photo credit: www.provenwinners.com

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