Buddleja 'Bicolor'
Common Name: butterfly bush 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Yellow and raspberry
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Clay Soil


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Becomes weedy and sparse with diminished flowering performance if not grown in full sun. Does poorly in wet, poorly draining conditions. Will adapt to clay soil if properly amended. In USDA Zones 5 and 6, this plant will often die to the ground in winter and therefore is often grown as a herbaceous perennial. Even if plants do not die to the ground in winter, they usually grow more vigorously, produce superior flowers and maintain a better shape if cut close to the ground in late winter each year. Removal of spent flower spikes during the growing season may encourage additional bloom.

‘Bicolor’ is reportedly winter hardy in USDA Zones 6-9. In the St. Louis area (Zone 5b-6a), it should be grown in a protected location with a winter mulch.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Buddleja is a genus of about 100 species of mainly shrubs but also some trees and climbers. They are native to Asia, Africa and North and South America. Commonly called butterfly bush, they are very attractive to butterflies and other pollinators.

Genus name honors the Reverend Adam Buddle (1660-1715), English botanist and vicar of Farmbridge in Essex.

The genus name is frequently listed today as Buddleia. However, Linnaeus named the genus Buddleja (pronounced with a silent “j”) which is still considered to be the proper spelling (first name survives) according to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

Common name refers to its attractiveness to butterflies.

‘Bicolor’ is a hybrid cultivar that was selected by Michael Dirr from open pollinated seedlings of B. x weyeriana ‘Honeycomb’ (usually a sterile hybrid) in a planting at test gardens at the University of Georgia. As the cultivar name suggests, ‘Bicolor’ is noted for producing both yellow and raspberry colored flowers within the same flower panicle. Panicles (to 5-6” long) bloom from late spring through summer, often continuing into fall. Flowers are fragrant, and very attractive to butterflies. Lance-shaped dark green leaves (to 8” long). When hard-pruned annually, butterfly bush will typically grow to 6-8’ tall per season with an upright-arching to spreading habit.


No serious insect or disease problems. Nematodes can be troublesome in the southern United States. Rabbits tend to avoid this plant. This plant can spread readily by seed and is considered invasive in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and certain parts of the United States and Canada. Check local laws and invasive plant resources before adding this plant to your landscape.


Provides attractive summer to early fall flowers when few other shrubs are in bloom. Grow in borders, cottage gardens, rose gardens or butterfly gardens. Popular fresh cut flower.