A Spiraea with Fragrant Blue Flowers?


Image if you can - a new selection of Japanese Spiraea

One with blue flowers ...
that's fragrant ...
that blooms from mid-summer to frost ...
that attracts butterflies ...
Can it be true? Does such a plant exist?

The answer is NO and YES.

No - there is no such thing as blue flowered Spiraea. I’ve looked.

Yes - there is a plant that has the same neat mounded habit as a Japanese Spiraea and that has loads of fragrant blue flowers. What is it?

Lo and Behold‘Blue Chip’ - A new Butterfly Bush (Buddleia hybrid).

Personally I have a love hate relationship with Butterfly Bush. I love the bright colors, I love the sweet fragrance, I love the long bloom time, I love the flock of dancing butterflies that it attracts and I love that it’s easy of grow.

But at the same time, I hate that it can look so darn scraggly and beat up. Let’s face it people don’t know how to prune buddleia and with time the plant can look really bad! I also hate seeing the blown out - overgrown containers that some growers put out on the market. One day you have a really nice looking three gallon, but the next day you have a tangled mess on you hands. Buddleia can grow too fast for it own good.

But now, Lo & Behold ‘Blue Chip’ is about to change the way we think about buddleia and how we use it in the garden and in the landscape. Credit for this revolutionary breed goes to Dr. Dennis Werner of The J. C. Raulston Arboretum . This is the first of a series of dwarf and compact plants that will be sold in the Lo & Behold series name. This remarkable plant is perfectly at home in a perennial garden, it makes a very cool patio container, and it can even be used a mass planted ground cover.

As an added bonus it does not have to be dead-headed to keep on flowering. Normally you have to remove the old flowers on buddleia to keep it looking good and keep it flowering. With this new plant, the new flowers just keep on coming while the old flowers fade away. And if that was not enough, this plant is essentially seedless – you need not worry about stray seedlings popping up around the garden.

Don’t bother asking me where to buy it - because it’s not yet available for sale.
Better independent garden centers will have a limited number of plants in the summer of 2008. There should be wider availability in the spring of 2009. Lo and Behold 'Blue Chip is a Proven Winners ColorChoice flowering shrub, so garden center buyers will have to contact a Gold Key Proven Winners ColorChoice grower if they hope to offer this plant in 2008.

Kudos to Dr. Dennis Werner for redefining the Butterfly Bush.

10 comments:

  1. I agree with you assessment of Butterfly Bush completely! I have avoided them for these reasons. The new one looks promising though and the color is perfect! Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

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  2. Looks like a great plant find. The big Buddleia davidii look great in my wild gardens but I have also been growing a dwarf with white flowers in a perennial bed for about 4 years.I will be looking for the blue dwarf and hoping that it is butterfly friendly. I say this because the white dwarf does not attract many butterflies pretty as it is with it's silvery leaves even now in November Chicago.

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  3. This plant is a butterfly magnet.

    In addition

    - It is the only true dwarf buddleia with colored flowers.

    - It blooms continuously right until frost.

    - It looks great planted in multiples – not just one like other buddleia

    - It is a very poor seed producer and will not be weedy.

    - It does not need to be deadheaded to rebloom or to look good. The old blooms are smothered by the new flowers.

    - It can be used as a ground cover, a perennial or a container plant.

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  4. Please, please please! Can you tell me if there is anyone in the Boston (or preferrable Cape Cod) area who will carry this fantstic looking buddleia in Spring of 2008?

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  5. At this time, I do not know what retailers will have this plant in 2008. I think that Wayside Gardens will have plants available but I am not sure yet.

    I suspect that retailer will have plants in summer or fall of 2008, but the main retail release is in spring of 2009 and Lo & Behold 'Blue Chip' should be available at "better retail garden centers."

    If you are on good terms with your local garden center, you might ask them to carry the plant.

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  6. Thanks for article, it helps me i believe

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  7. Anonymous9:16 PM

    i suggest you try another choice of blue flowers called blue mist spirea!

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  8. just to let you know we are now stocking this plant in the UK. Chris - Gardening Express

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  9. If anyone needs to get hold of Buddleja Lo & Behold Blue Chip in the UK look no further than Floraselect.

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  10. we ordered some of these from floraselect arrived in great condition.

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