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Black Knight Butterfly Bush

The Black Knight butterfly bush is an easy to care for deciduous shrub. It grows to 9 feet tall if it is not pruned on an annual basis.

Long spikes of tiny black-purple flowers bloom from midsummer through the first frost. The flowers are very fragrant and attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

This variety has the darkest blossoms of all the butterfly bush cultivars. The branches are long and arching, making a very informal, casual shrub.

The foliage is long and pointed like a willow leaf and is a grayish-green. This plant can be invasive in some areas. It grows very fast. The blossoms make excellent cut flowers for arrangements.

Landscaping Ideas

The Black Knight butterfly bush is a striking addition to any garden, but it is best suited to a cottage garden style or informal style landscape. Its casual growth habit is loose and informal.

The dark blossoms look best when contrasted with white or bright yellow planting companions like sunny Coreopsis or pristine Canterbury Bells.

It grows extremely large, so some care needs to be taken for siting and maintenance levels. It works well in mass plantings in a bed or as a border plant.

Planting and Care

For the best blooms, plant the Black Knight butterfly bush in full sun in well-drained soil. This plant is very easy to grow. In fact, some areas may stimulate the production of volunteer seedlings, which can quickly grow out of control.

To produce more blossoms, deadhead the bush as each spike fades. In late winter or early spring, prune back the branches to almost ground level if you wish to control the height and width of the plant. Volunteers should be pulled before they become a problem as it can become invasive.

Generally these butterfly shrubs are deer and pest resistant, although if the plant is stressed, they can suffer from infestations of caterpillars, weevils, capsid bug, mullein moths, or spider mites. At times the plant may suffer diebacks or fungal leaf spots. The plant is frost tolerant.

Regular watering and a spring feeding of all purpose fertilizer helps keep the bush in good condition.

Black Knight Information

  • Scientific Name: Buddleia davidii 'Black Knight'

  • Best Soil: Adapts to many soil types, but prefers well-drained loam

  • Light: Full Sun

  • Growth Rate: Fast

  • Foilage: Gray green pointed leaves up to 10 inches long

  • Bloom: Almost black purplish blossoms on lilac-like spikes up to 10 inches in length from midsummer to first frost

  • Mature Size and Shape: Grows 6 to 9 feet tall and wide in an arching form

  • Hardiness Zone: 5 -9

  • Plant Spacing: Plant 6 to 9 feet apart

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