In praise of Buddleia "Golden Glow"

Jan Koryszko

For forty years now I have grown buddleias in my garden. I have grown many varieties from cuttings, even the variegated leaf species. The white butterflies seem to like to roost in these after feeding. Buddleia davidii is the most commonly grown in gardens, with many forms to be found- Black Night, Royal Red, White Cloud, White Bouquet and many other hybids. They grow best in well-drained, chalky or limestone soil, positioned in full sun. They should be pruned hard in the spring, flowering best on strong new shoots. My garden has acid soil, but they still do very well. They are quite hardy plants, and can stand up to hard frosts. The flowering season in my garden lasts from late July to mid September.

These buddleias can also be found growing on waste land, and growing out of old buildings in the brick work- no doubt the seeds are distributed by birds, and the lime in the mortar helps their growth.

In 1998 I was very surprised to find a buddleia in flower in October. The flowers were a yellow colour, and quite fragrant. The owner of the garden kindly allowed me to take cuttings, and advised me to prune it hard every year. I potted them with soil from an old grow bag. They grew well, and I transplanted them into my garden the following year. In no time they grew vigorously and flowered in late July until mid November, attracting all the late butterflies and moths. Since then I grow this species every year with all my other varieties. The entomologist cannot be without this species, with its long flowering period, lasting long after other buddleias have finished. The form is known as Golden Glow or Sungold (Buddleia x weyeriana) a hybrid between Buddleia globosa and Buddleia davidii var. magnifica) raised by a Mr. Van de Weyer in Dorset in 1914: a semi evergreen shrub to 3m high, flowers in various shades of cream or yellow to orange, and often shaded with purple. It has a quite fragrant scent.

The cuttings grow quite well out of doors, best taken in Autumn. You can add a touch of lime if you wish, but it is not important. I put mine in a sheltered spot during the winter, away from the cold North and North East winds. If there is a long dry spell sprinkle them with water, but some cuttings will die if you overwater them. Put quite a few cuttings in each flower pot, as they seem to support each other.

I have seen this plant on sale in garden centres at £10 to £15. If you love butterflies, moths and bees this plant is a must.


Philips, R. and Rix, M. Shrubs. London: Pan, 1989.

Originally published in the Volume 65 of the Bulletin of the Amateur Entomologists' Society.

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