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New butterfly bush is dense, compact

April 24, 2008
Photo of 'Blue Chip' butterfly bush
A new butterfly bush developed by an N.C. State plant breeder has an unusual dense, compact habit. For a high-resolution version of this picture, please contact Dave Caldwell at 919.513.3127 or dave_caldwell@ncsu.edu.

Media Contact: Dr. Dennis Werner, director of the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 919.513.7006 or dennis_werner@ncsu.edu

An unusual dwarf butterfly bush developed by a North Carolina State University plant breeder is available to gardeners for the first time this year.

The new butterfly bush, or buddleia, was developed by Dr. Dennis Werner, director of the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University and a plant breeder in the NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The new butterfly bush is called 'Blue Chip'.

Butterfly bushes are typically large, gangly plants that can fill a space in the landscape 6 feet in diameter by 6 feet high. Werner said 'Blue Chip' is unusual in that is has a "dense, compact growth habit," and plants are typically 2 to 3 feet in height and width. Typical buddleia plants also set large amounts of seed and can, as a result, be invasive.

"This is a very, very low seed setter," Werner said of 'Blue Chip'. As a result, 'Blue Chip' is unlikely to produce unwanted seedlings. And as the name implies, 'Blue Chip' produces blue flowers.

Werner described the development of a compact butterfly bush with low seed set as a "significant advancement" in buddleia breeding, and indeed, 'Blue Chip' was featured on the cover of the spring catalog from Wayside Gardens, a popular mail-order plant retailer.

Werner said limited quantities of 'Blue Chip' should be available at garden centers this fall, while the new variety should be widely available next year.

'Blue Chip' is the first of what Werner anticipates will be a number of butterfly bushes developed as part of a trademarked series of plants called Lo and Behold. All the Lo and Behold buddleia will be low, compact plants that produce few seeds. They should be available to gardeners over the next several years.

Written by: Dave Caldwell, 919.513.3127 or dave_caldwell@ncsu.edu

Posted by Dave at April 24, 2008 10:42 AM