There’s one plant which does better than all the others when it comes to attracting wildlife. That plant is Buddleja. Heck, it even got itself the name of ‘Butterfly Bush’! But, you may not recognise this Buddleja, and you might call it a wolf in sheep’s clothing! The whole plant has a silver sheen, elevating it to premium status amongst the Buddleja family. And it sure packs a punch as a garden plant. Read on…
How to grow Buddleja ‘Silver Anniversary’:
Flowering time: July to November
How was this plant created?
Many new shrubs are British-bred, did you know? Peter Moore has been developing new strains of familiar shrubs for years, having learnt his skill on the famous Hillier Nurseries. He created many varieties of Choisya which you’re bound to spot during your local park visit, and is fascinated by different colours of foliage. Peter has been indulging himself in Buddleja for a few years, and that’s how ‘Silver Anniversary’ was born!
Back in 1997, Peter chose his parents. Buddleja loricata is a 4-metre bushy shrub with honey-scented flowers, later in the season than most Buddleja. It’s drought tolerant, cold hardy and needs little pruning. Peter paired this up with the downy-leaved Buddleja crispa, oft called the Himalayan Butterfly Bush. In the wild, it grows on dry river beds, slopes with boulders, exposed cliffs – you might say it’s quite a tough cookie!
The results were fun, and all looked quite different. One plant stood out to Peter though, a silver foliaged specimen. This was selected out and named ‘Silver Anniversary’ almost instantly.
However, this Buddleja was not set to be popular straight away. It took many years and trials for Peter to convince growers to love the plant as much as he did. It took the commercial success of new dwarf Buddleja such as ‘Buzz’ and an increase in wildlife gardening to create a market for this super cool plant.
What’s different about this plant?
It’s worth mentioning that silver leaved plants are wholly easier to grow and manage. They reflect hot sun, and keep themselves cool and hydrated thanks to their silver sheen. They tend to be perfect for first time gardeners and those that want a low maintenance landscape. There are few hybrids of Buddleja with this silver foliage too, so it absolutely stood out as new and different.
Where can you plant Buddleja ‘Silver Anniversary’?
Buddleja ‘Silver Anniversary’ is a rounded tidy shrub, which grows well in heat, loves the sun and shines in a garden setting. The later blooming (late summer to late autumn) is welcomed, and will pair alongside Asters and Anemones very nicely. The woolly white foliage mixes well in the herbaceous border, contrasting with either hot or pastel colour schemes!
With a fragrance more honey than musk, it’s a preferred choice for scent too, and the bees and butterflies keep busy on the nectar-rich blooms.
Plants are available in garden centres across Europe, or by mail order from Thompson & Morgan.
Plant of the Month is sponsored by Plantipp, a company based in The Netherlands who handle the introduction of new plants into Europe (with Concept Plants doing the same job in North America). Buddleja ‘Silver Anniversary’ was bred by Peter Moore, discover more of his creations here.
See every Plant of the Month here.