Plant Preview

Welcome to Plant Preview, a blog dedicated to helping gardeners learn about gardening techniques and preview new plant cultivars. Read about new plants here first and hear how your "comrades in compost" are making use of new plant introductions in their gardens and landscapes. Blog author Geri Laufer is a life-long dirt gardener, degreed horticulturist, author and former County Extension Agent. Plant Preview is copyrighted by Geri Laufer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fragrant, Long-blooming, Asian Moon Butterfly Bush is Sterile

Doesn't set seeds, so flowers keep on blooming Spring-through-Fall for butterflies and hummingbirds. 

Looking for a way to invite butterflies and hummingbirds into the garden? Fragrant yet tough Asian Moon Butterfly Bush is a classic summer-flowering shrub (sometimes called summer lilac) that begins flowering in June and continues in profusion through late fall. Tiny, bright lavender tubular flowers have orange throughs and are clustered on upright panicles that are held out like candles all over the shrub. 

The flowers are very attractive to butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other nectar drinkers, outcompeting most native plants, and are a keystone of the butterfly garden. Long, narrow leaves (6 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide) are finely toothed along the edges and gray-green above, with silver undersides; the shrub is coarse in texture overall.  

Originator Jon Lindstrom of the University of Arkansas is a member of the Garden Debut(R) consortium of breeders, growers, retailers and marketers. His Asian Moon Buddleia is a large, symmetrical shrub that can reach 7 feet, but is easily cut back to maintain size and promote reblooming on new wood. Asian Moon's special advantage is its sterile flowers that do not set seed, a great alternative for U.S. gardeners in parts of the U.S. that have prohibited fertile Buddlieas. The sterile flowers have a prolonged bloom period compared to fertile varieties, a gardening bonus! 

Like the rest of its tribe, Asian Moon Buddleia is a fast growing deciduous shrub that will require some pruning each spring to keep it fresh.It is best kept within bounds by coppicing or cutting to the ground in late winter, while in late July cutting the shrub back by half will control size and encourage heavy reblooming. Also like other members of the genus, Asian Moon is nearly indestructible, adaptable to gardens from Boston to Florida (USDA Zones 5-9). Consider Asian Moon Butterfly Bush as an easy-care selection that provides plenty of garden color and fragrance in full sun.  

Useful in the landscape for summer bloom and to attract butterflies, used in masses, not as a specimen, can be treated as a herbaceous perennial to give height in the mixed border, or underplanted with low perennials. 

For more information on Asian Moon Butterfly Bush and other superior plant introductions from GardenDebut® brought to gardeners by Greenleaf Nursery Company, visit  
Statistics Chart for Asian Moon Butterfly Bush, Buddleia davidii cv. Asian Moon.
Plant Category:
Deciduous woody shrub
Mature Height:
Reaches 7 feet, can be cut back to 3 feet in mid-summer or to the ground in late-winter
Mature Spread:
 Symmetrical shrub about 6 feet wide
Mature Form:
 Upright, with upright panicles like candles covering the shrub
 Squarish stems, bark light gray- brown with orange streaks, exfoliates slightly with vertical shreds
Growth Rate:
Sun Exposure:
Full sun is recommended, will tolerate a little light shade
Soil Type:
Clay, silt, sand; very adaptable  
Soil Moisture:
Adaptable, semi-arid to moist; will withstand dry soils once established
Tiny, individual purple or orchid tubular flowers with orange throats clustered on upright panicles, attractive to nectar feeders, very fragrant
 Native to China
 Coarse texture, narrow leaves about 6 inches long x 1 ½ inches wide, opposite arrangement along an angled stem
Foliage Color:
Dark green above, silvery glaucous beneath
Fall Color:
 Light brown and brittle, with orange streaks 
 Tolerant of deer and drought
pH Level:
 5.5 – 7, very adaptable
Climate Zones:
 U.S.D.A. Zones 5-10 , (winter lows  -10 to 0 degrees F.) Can sometimes die back to ground in colder climates, and resprout, reaching 7 feet in one season.
 U.S., Dr. Jon Linstrom, University of Arkansas
 Garden Debut® great new plants!

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