Butterfly Bush ‘Empire Blue'
Butterfly bush ‘Empire Blue’ is one of the oldest varieties of buddleja, and was once the only choice of blue available. ‘Empire Blue’ is an American cultivar, and was patented in Ohio in 1942 and awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1993. Its characteristic blooms grow in long, spiny clusters at the tips of this year’s growth. Buddleja ‘Empire Blue’ will bloom from July to October, during which time its fragrant deep blue-violet flowers will attract butterflies, bees and other useful insects to your garden – an added bonus that makes the butterfly bush a popular choice for summer borders. ‘Empire Blue’ has slightly smaller flowers than other types of butterfly bush, however they do not lack at all in colour or scent.
Butterfly bush is a deciduous plant that can attain an ultimate height of 2.5-4 metres and an equal ultimate spread, during a five to ten year period. To promote maximal growth of flowers, pruning hard in March or April is recommended. This will also ensure that your butterfly bush maintains a dense, bushy habit. Buddleja is generally disease free and can subsist even in difficult soil types such as clay. So long as it has full to partial sun and moist well drained ground, ‘Empire Blue’ is a fast growing, undemanding hedge plant requiring only moderate upkeep.
Buddleja varieties are popular in as hedges, borders, shrubberries and as accent plants. Due to their fast growth, height and neutrally coloured leaves, they are a perfect backdrop for perennials, while adding their own interest in the late summer when their gracefully arching branches burst into vibrant bloom. When pruned appropriately, buddleja ‘Empire Blue’ will maintain a dense yet excellent upright habit, which makes them so exceptionally suitable as a border backdrop.