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Many gardeners are just happy to have one buddleja, usually just a pale blue form, in the garden and do not think too closely about the range of possibilities.

Many are called 'butterfly bushes' because of the way that they attract butterflies and one of the best sights of summer in a garden is a buddleja bush covered in mauve flowers with a host of butterflies hovering over them.

The buddlejas consist of about 100 species of shrub and many cultivars, which range in colour from the ubiquitous pale blue through deep purples and reds. There are also buddlejas with white and yellow flowers.

The flowers in the commonest forms appear in a long, tight cluster at the end of the shoots. In others they are looser clusters and some as tight balls of flowers.

The foliage on many bushes is a soft greyish-green. There are some variegated forms. Most of the common ones are deciduous.

They will grow in any soil, including very dry ones. They are usually propagated from cuttings to ensure that the plant comes true to its parent, but they can be grown from seed and will often self-sow. Most of the common ones should be cut almost to the ground each spring, the most notable exceptions being B. globosa and B. alternifolia, which should be cut back less hard, to a good shoot, after flowering.

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