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The summer lilac (Buddleja) is a genus in the family of the brownwort family (Scrophlariacae). It grows as a deciduous, winter or evergreen subshrub or shrub, rarely as a tree. Summer lilac is widespread in the tropical and subtropical regions of America, Africa and Asia. There are about 100 species worldwide that grow mainly in full sun and hot locations on some very dry and barren soil. One should not be misled by the German name summer lilac, with the real lilac (Syringa), the summer lilac is not related.
From a horticultural point of view, the species Buddleja davidii, also called butterfly lilac, is particularly interesting. From her are numerous breeding forms, the so-called Davidii hybrids with different flower colors and stature heights available. Depending on the variety, they grow broadly upright or stout and form a loose, funnel-shaped crown with strong main shoots and loose lateral branches, the tips of which often overhang slightly under the weight of the flowers. The largest varieties are up to four meters high, the smallest about 1.50 meters. Its bark is light brown and the narrow, elongated leaves opposite and lanceolate. They are gray-green and have gray-felt undersides. In mild winters, the foliage of the previous year is often largely attached to the shoots, only in heavy frost, the leaves die and fall to the ground. The large elongated flower panicles stand at the ends of this year's main and side shoots. They open from July and often bloom until the first frost. The varieties bloom white, light pink, pink and purple to dark purple.

Yellow summer lilac

Yellow summer lilac (Buddleja x weyeriana)

Less well known are the frost-sensitive ball-summer lilac (Buddleja globosa) as well as the yellow-flowering and somewhat more robust yellow summer lilac (Buddleja x weyeriana), a garden hybrid. In addition, there is still the hardy WechselblÀttrigen summer lilac (Buddleja alternifolia), but has only a visual similarity with the other species. It grows strongly overhanging and its purple flowers appear in June in small clumps in the leaf axils of the previous year's shoots. The narrow, elongated leaves are alternate in contrast to the butterfly lilac.
The butterfly lilac is, as the name suggests, a real butterfly magnet in the garden. Colorful butterflies like the little fox and the peacock butterfly are magically attracted by its nectar-rich, fragrant flowers. At the same time, the plant is also a neophyte, that is, it continues to spread in nature. It is very dominant, particularly at dry locations: railway embankments and industrial wastelands in inner-city areas are often densely overgrown with summer lilacs.


The butterfly lilac is suitable for individual stand and group planting in warm full-sunred perennials and summer flowerbeds. The undemanding shrub is also able to cope well on dry slopes on gravelly soils. Especially beautiful are the late summer butterfly beds, where the shrub is combined with the high fat hen, asters and other shrubs that are popular with butterflies. Due to its southern appearance, the butterfly lilac also fits well in Mediterranean gardens.
The yellow summer lilac is suitable only in very mild regions for outdoor planting and the ball summer lilac has no sufficient winter hardiness for the Central European climate. Both trees can be cultivated well in the bucket. You need a well-drained, not too humus-rich substrate and also get by without pouring for a few days. The WechselblÀttrige summer lilac can be used as the butterfly lilac as a solitary plant or for group planting. But it also cuts a fine figure in loose, free-growing flowering hedges, as long as it is not overshadowed by other trees.


The butterfly lilac flowers on the new wood and is therefore strongly cut back after the frosts in the spring. It is enough to leave only two to four buds of last year's flowering plants. He then forms particularly strong new shoots with large inflorescences. The WechselblÀttrige summer lilac, however, should only be lighted and not completely cut back, as it blooms at last year's shoot. Who would like to prevent the self-sowing of the butterfly lilac, should already trim the withered inflorescences in late summer.

WechselblÀttriger summer lilac

Swallow-leaved summer lilac (Buddleja alternifolia)

Winter protection or wintering

The yellow summer lilac is protected in autumn in the root area with a thick layer of foliage. If necessary, slightly cut back the shoots and then wrap the crown in a winter fleece. The ball-summer lilac overwinters best in a dark, cool as possible cellar.


All summer lilacs can be easily multiplied by cuttings or stick wood. The butterfly lilac sows on loose, well-drained soils itself, but the offspring are not species-specific and usually have the purple-colored flowers of the wild species.

Diseases and pests

All species of the summer lilac are very robust and are rarely attacked by diseases or pests. Spider mites can occasionally appear in warm, air-dry locations, as well as downy mildew in humid summers.

Video Board: How to Take Buddleia Cuttings.

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