• buddlejagarden

  • Neotropica Vol 81:

    by Eliane Norman
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    Buddlejas by
    David D. Stuart
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    The Buddleja Garden

    Click images to enlarge

    Unnamed Hybrid

    Posted 20th September 2020

    I raised this hybrid back in 2011 and, by planting it behind a bigger more vigorous sibling, forgot just how pretty the flowers can be. This time of year the lavender fades, revealing a delicate yellow colour underneath. I now have a new plant to put where I can actually see it. If it does well, I'll have to find it a name.

    Buddleja Butterfly Gold

    Posted 20th August 2020

    Both Florence (syn.:Variegata) and Burncross have variegated foliage with cream-white margins and pale violet flowers. Both can be disppointing in a real garden situation.

    I am hoping the new Butterfly Gold, available from Thompson & Morgan, will prove a better doer. I picked one up recently and it does look more robust than the competition. In the garden centre, the flowers on various plants looked subtly different shades and I chose the one with the darkest, almost blue, flowers. I suspect the variation in colour was only an artifact of its growing conditions and they will be the normal violet next year.

    Buddleja myriantha W/O 8047

    Posted 13th August 2020

    The name Buddleja myriantha is egregiously misapplied in the horticultural trade, either to a form of B. curviflora or to the blue form of B.salviifolia. Last year I tracked down an authentic B. myriantha (H&M 1520), collected from the Cangshan (Yunnan, China).

    And now I have another one. W/O 8047 is a seed-collection also from the Cangshan in Yunnan, collected by Chinese Alpines at an elevation of 2200 metres. The seedlings were a nightmare to grow: very leggy and lax, and slow to mature. I persevered and they over-wintered surprisingly well. Finally a couple are flowering, and the photo shows the most robust plant. I can, with some confidence, identify the plant as B. myriantha as it matches both the description and illustration in Flora of China.

    The individual flowers are tiny; the species gains its name from the huge number of these diminutive flowers in each long and triple panicle. This example is a pinky colour rather than purple, a colour common in the similar species B. albiflora. B. myriantha can be distinguished from B. albiflora as follows: B. albiflora has rounded or subterete stems, whereas B. myriantha has noticeably four-angled stems; the calyx and exterior of the corolla tube are smooth in B. albiflora, but in B.myriantha the calyx and outside of the corolla tube are distinctly tomentose (hairy), as can be seen in the lower photo.

    Just How Dark Can You Get?

    Posted 26th July 2020

    The cultivars of Buddleja davidii come in a remarkable range of the colours; whereas the wild plants are usually pastel shades like lilac and lavender, mutation and selective breeding has given us some very intense hues - blues, purples, magentas and pinks. The two darkest, to my eyes at least, are the ever-popular Black Knight and the recently introduced Buzz Indigo (syn. Midnight) from Thompson and Morgan.

    There is the potential to go even darker. This seedling, a second generation plant bred from one of my own seedlings, appears almost black from distance, resolving into a very deep purple up close. It's a fine upright plant with a well-branched habit, and not too vigorous: unpruned, it has remained at about two metres in height.

    Buddleja seedlings actually take a few years to mature and show their true colours (pun intended), so I'll have to give it another year to be certain it's a worthwhile addition to the Buddleja canon. Then I'll have to think up a name for it.

    Buddleja fallowiana F1 Hybrid

    Posted 24th July 2020

    A second round of Buddleja fallowiana X Buddleja davidii hybrids using the 'Alba' form crossed with alternative deep blue B. davidii cultivars gave me plants a little different from the first, and this one is my pick of the bunch. An intense sapphire blue and retaining the unusual eye and petal shape of the parent, the compromise is that the foliage is not particularly grey or felted. Its siblings are not bad either: half of them are violet-mauve rather than blue and those I've kept have the grey foliage.

    I'm waiting on other similar hybrids to flower and, if I get a suitable seedling with a good colour and B. fallowiana type foliage, I'll certainly try another F2 generation using this cultivar.

    Buddleja fallowiana F2 Hybrid

    Posted 23rd July 2020

    Buddleja fallowiana is a fine species, but is a little more temperamental than B. davidii. The challenge is to breed a plant that has the same soft, felty foliage with a more robust constitution. Culitvars like Lochinch and Westhill are B. fallowiama hybrids; neither is particularly striking. My first round of hybrids used the 'Alba' form crossed with deep blue B. davidii and I've a few plants that are quite nice. This plant is an F2, accidentally created by crossing two F1 hybrids. The colour is pale, and mostly confined to the edge of the petals. The foliage is pale and glaucous, and the habit looks restrained. It's quite unlike anything else I've seen.

    I'm trying again to create more of these hybrids, this time using both the white and coloured forms of B. fallowiana. Eventually, I hope to have deep, intense coloured flowers while retaiing the glaucous foliage B. fallowiama.

    Buddleja forrestii F1 Hybrid

    Posted 21st July 2020

    One of the Buddleja forrestii plants I grow is self-fertile, and the seedlings I've grown are mostly near-identical to the parent. One, though, is rather different with smaller foliage and a more compact growth habit. And it has finally flowered (left); the colour is the softest pink and the flowers quite delicate, although the panicle is the same form as the parent. I am assuming this is a hybrid, and I'm pretty sure the pollen came from Buddleja davidii, as the longer and cylindrical corolla tubes (see the lower photo) are unlike Buddleja forrestii.

    I've planted the seedling out and I'm hoping it will prove hardy and grow well, possibly being a little more restrained than the large and vigorous parent.

    Years ago, a B. forrestii X B. davidii hybrid called Buddleja X 'Hotblackiana' was listed, and it's believed to have died out. Based on the evidence of this new hybrid, I suspect that one of the plants I have always known as B. limitanea (a synonym of B. forrestii) is the long-lost 'Hotblackiana'.

    This atypical B. limitanea plant also has longer, cylindrical corolla tubes and the overall shape of the individual flowers is very similar to my new hybrid. All other specimens I've seen have short, wide and conical corolla tubes typical of all the different forms of B. forrestii, including the 'limitanea' type. The difference could well be evidence for its hybridity.

    Unfortunately, the trail has gone cold on this plant's origins, so this remains just a theory.

    Buddleja nivea X Buddleja forrestii

    Posted 29th June 2020

    I've grown a few hybrids of the various B. forrestii and B. nivea cultivars. Mostly they resemble B. nivea, with furry foliage and rather small flowers. The parents of this one are B.nivea - pink form and a relatively restrained white-flowered B. forrestii. It's a bit of an exception in that the B. forrestii features are dominant. The foliage is not particularly hairy; the flowers show their B. nivea heritage only with the dense hairs in the mouth of the corolla tube. I've neglected it this spring, but I now think it's unusual enough to be worth persevering with.

    Buddleja forrestii W/O 7061

    Posted 25th june 2020

    Two years since I planted the seeds, and it has finally flowered! Unequivocally Buddleja forrestii. The seeds were collected by Chinese Alpines at nearly 3000 metres from Longzhoushan, Sichuan, China, so this should prove hardier than average for the species. I think it will form a large shrub once planted in the ground. It's another white flower, and so many available B. forrestii cultivars are white already. I'm still hoping to find the apocryphal marron flowered specimen described in the old literature.

    Buddleja nivea var. yunnanensis

    Posted 8th june 2020

    Some things are earlier into flower this year, because of the warmer than usual spring weather, although B. nivea var. yunnanensis is always a month or so ahead of the other members of the species. And what a monster it is, looming up over my shed. Huge felty leaves and large panicles that promise much in bud, but are rather underwhelming when their tiny mauve-purple flowers open.

    Buddleja salviifolia

    Posted 20th May 2020

    Buddleja salviifolia, the blue form, is flowering now, a couple weeks after the white 'Alba' type. This plant grows into a rather tall and ungainly shrub, but the flowers are sensational - large panicles of blue flowers with a perfume second to none, which can fil the garden with scent if the weather is warm. I've found it completely hardy and a reliable bloomer. In fact, pot-grown hothouse specimens are less inclined to flower profusely. This species hybridises with Buddleja crispa varieties quite readily, despite coming from different continents and being quite distantly related. I have a hybrid seedling growing, but it's yet to flower: maybe next year with a little luck?

    Buddleja salviifolia 'Alba'

    Posted 10th May 2020

    Now spring is in full flow several of the species Buddlejas are starting to flower. B. salviifolia is a variable species that grows across a large range in southern Africa. This is the white-flowered form, which has long pendulous leaves, and is proving hardy now it has reached good size. It always flowers several weeeks ahead of the more familiar blue-flowered type and crossing the two is proving difficult as they never seem to be open at the same time: it's gone over now just as the blue one starts opening.

    Lilac flowered examples are common in Africa, but I've not seen one in cultivation as yet. I have some seedlings growing from wild-collected seeds and I'm hoping these will be a pale lilac. The international exchange of wild plant material is becoming more restricted, what with the Nagoya Protocol and increasing phytosanitary regulations, and my seedlings will add to the ex situ gene pool of this species.

    New Variegated Buddleja

    Posted 20th January 2020

    There have been quite a few new Buddlejas in the past few years, but here's one from Thompson and Morgan that's a little different. Butterfly Gold is a Buddleja davidii cultivar with cream-yellow and green variegated foliage. I saw small plants of this variety at last year's Horticultural Trades Association National Show, the foliage was quite striking. The flowers, which I didn't see, are reported to be a violet-purple. The ultimate size of the mature plant should be around 2 metres by 1.5 metres a medium-sized shrub.

    Superficially, Butterfly Gold looks very similar to both Florence (syn.:Variegata) and Burncross, sharing the uninspiring flower colour and the variegation type, with all three having similar wide cream-coloured edges to the leaves. Florence has a poor spreading growth habit, becoming a rather lax and sparse shrub. Burncross is smaller and neater, with very pretty foliage, but its flower-panicles are short and it's also a nightmare to propagate this latter feature could be why Burncross hasn't really caught on. Butterfly Gold certainly promises to improve on the older varieties, and the publicity photos suggest this cultivar is a denser, more robust plant. Time will tell whether or not this is in fact an improved variegated Buddleja.

    Photos coutesy of Thompson & Morgan.

    B. alternifolia

    Buddleja alternifolia
    Buddleja x intermedia

    B. intermedia

    B. japonica

    Buddleja japonica
    Buddleja sessiliflora (as Buddleja verticillata)

    B. sessiliflora

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