How to Grow and Care for Blue Chip Butterfly Bush

A Noninvasive Buddleia

Butterfly bush plant with purple flower spikes

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Blue Chip is a butterfly bush, so named because the plant attracts a variety of butterflies and bees. The fact that Blue Chip butterfly bush blossoms during the latter part of the growing season means that it will display fall flowers at a time when few other shrubs are flowering, helping you to extend the sequence of bloom in your garden. Its miniature stature is also a plus, but the major selling point of this hand-pollinated cultivar is that is it not invasive.

Buddleia is indigenous to East Asia. Like many plants from China and countries in that region, the typical Buddleia grown has become invasive in many parts of North America. But with this particular cultivar, developers have succeeded in producing a noninvasive shrub. Blue Chip butterfly bush is sterile so it does not spread like other butterfly bushes.

Common Name Blue Chip butterfly bush
Botanical Name Buddleia davidii 'Blue Chip'
Family Scrophulariaceae
Plant Type Shrub
Mature Size 24-36 in. tall and wide
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Well-drained
Soil pH Slightly acidic to neutral (6.0-8.0)
Bloom Time Mid-summer to October
Flower Color Light bluish-purple
Hardiness Zones 5-9 (USDA)
Native Area Cultivar, no native range

Blue Chip Butterfly Bush Care

Blue Chip butterfly bush displays a compact, mounded habit, being categorized as a miniature Buddleia. Its numerous, small flowers form in showy spikes. Dubbed a bluish-purple, the flower really contains only a hint of bluish color. Flowering time is listed as being from mid-summer to into October. If they receive more shade than they should, this will delay bloom time. There is no need to deadhead these plants.

Besides attracting butterflies, the shrub attracts hummingbirds and so is useful in hummingbird gardens.

Butterfly bush plant with purple flower spikes closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Butterfly bush with orange butterfly on top of purple flower spike

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Butterfly bush with purple flower spikes in garden

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Butterfly bush purple flower spike on thin stem closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Light

This plant needs full sun to achieve the best display of flowers. The plant will live in lower light levels but will not bloom as fully.

Soil

Blue chip butterfly bush needs well-drained soil; otherwise, it can suffer from root rot. For the same reason, at planting time, if you have clayey soil, make your planting hole shallower than normal, so that the base of the plant sits slightly above ground level.

Water

Water young plants well to help them get established. But, once mature, the plants are considered to be reasonably drought-tolerant shrubs.

Fertilizer

Butterfly bush is not a heavy feeder. But if you would like to give your plant a boost, use a balanced fertilizer in spring. Mulch in the fall for winter protection in cold climates, but keep the mulch away from the base of the plant to avoid root rot.

Varieties of Blue Chip Butterfly Bush

'Blue Chip' was the first cultivar in a miniature butterfly bush series named Lo & Behold, therefore you will often find this plant listed as 'Blue Chip Lo & Behold', The series was created at the Raulston Arboretum in North Carolina.

Newer additions in the series include:

'Lo & Behold Blue Chip Jr.', a more compact cultivar that reaches 1 to 2 feet in height and spread, with rich lavender-blue fragrant flowers

'Lo & Behold Pink Micro Chip', a dwarf cultivar only growing up to 18 to 24 inches in height and spread, with orchid-pink flowers and a mounded growth habit

'Lo & Behold Purple Haze' with fragrant purple-blue flowers and a spreading growth habit

'Lo & Behold Lilac Chip', another dwarf cultivar with a spread and height of 18 to 24 inches and soft lavender-pink flowers

'Lo & Behold Ice Chip', a dwarf cultivar with fragrant white flowers

Pruning Blue Chip Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush blooms on new wood. Pruning is optional; it can be done if you wish to keep your shrub on the small side. Since Blue Chip butterfly bush is naturally compact, there is even less reason to prune. But pruning does seem to promote better flowering.

There is not one agreed-upon time for pruning butterfly bush. Some gardeners leave the brown branches in place during most of the winter (in hopes that they will provide a bit of protection from the cold) and prune the plant back to the ground in late winter, in early spring, or when the plant starts to leaf out.

A greater number of gardeners trim the plant's stems down to the ground in early winter, giving the garden a cleaner look. The butterfly bush will re-emerge from its root system in spring. Thus, despite being classified as a shrub, it is often treated as if it were an herbaceous perennial.

FAQ
  • Where should I plant a Blue Chip butterfly bush?

    Larger types of Buddleia are typically grown in the back row of layered plantings, but this more compact version is well suited to placement in the middle row of a flower bed. It can be planted in cottage gardens, as mass plantings along a property line to form a border, or in foundation beds.

  • What makes the Blue Chip butterfly bush noninvasive?

    The Lo & Behold butterfly bush cultivars have been bred to be sterile. They only form a very small percentage of viable seeds so they cannot spread uncontrollably like other butterfly bushes.

  • Why should you not plant a butterfly bush?

    Butterfly bushes, unless they are approved seedless butterfly bush cultivars, are considered invasive plants in many states. Oregon has even banned its sale by placing it in noxious weed quarantine.

Watch Now: The Best Flowers for Butterflies

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Butterfly Bush Approved Cultivars. Oregon Department of Agriculture.