Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ Butterfly Bush: A Compact and Colorful Delight

The Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush (Buddleja ‘Blue Chip Jr.’) is a dwarf cultivar that typically reaches a height of 2-3 feet and a similar spread. Despite its compact size, it puts on a stunning display of vibrant blue-purple flower spikes that can reach up to 5 inches in length.

One of the most remarkable features of this cultivar is its exceptional bloom time. Unlike many butterfly bushes that bloom primarily in mid to late summer, ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ starts flowering in early summer and continues to produce an abundance of blooms until the first frost. This extended flowering period ensures a constant supply of nectar for pollinators throughout the growing season.

Botanical Characteristics

  • Scientific Name: Buddleja ‘Blue Chip Jr.’
  • Common Name: Lo & BeholdĀ® Blue Chip Jr. Butterfly Bush
  • Family: Scrophulariaceae
  • Type: Deciduous shrub
  • Height and Spread: Reaches 1.5 to 2.5 feet in height and width
  • Flower Color: Blue to lavender-blue
  • Bloom Time: Early summer to first frost
  • Foliage: Green, lance-shaped leaves
  • Hardiness Zones: USDA zones 5-9

Non-Invasive and Sterile

Lo and Behold Blue Chip Jr Butterfly BushHere are more details on the non-invasive and sterile nature of the Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush:

Sterility and Lack of Viable Seeds

The Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ cultivar is considered sterile, meaning it does not produce viable seeds that can germinate and spread invasively. This is a significant advantage over traditional butterfly bush varieties, which are known for their prolific seed production and potential to become invasive in natural areas.

During the breeding process, the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ cultivar was selected for its reduced fertility or complete sterility. This means that while the plant may still produce some seed structures, these seeds are either non-viable or have an extremely low germination rate, typically less than 2%.

Lack of Gene Flow and Hybridization

One of the concerns with some “sterile” cultivars is the potential for gene flow or hybridization with wild or invasive populations of the same species. However, the sterility of the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ cultivar effectively prevents this from happening, as it cannot produce viable pollen or seeds that could cross-pollinate with other butterfly bush plants.

This lack of gene flow helps to maintain the sterility of the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ cultivar over time and prevents the potential for it to contribute to the spread or evolution of invasive butterfly bush populations.

Reduced Risk of Reversion to Fertility

Another concern with some sterile cultivars is the possibility of reversion to fertility over time, either through spontaneous mutations or gene transfer from fertile individuals. However, the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ cultivar has been extensively tested and monitored, and there is no evidence of such reversion occurring.

The sterility of the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ cultivar is considered stable and reliable, making it a responsible choice for gardeners who want to enjoy the beauty of butterfly bushes without contributing to their potential invasiveness.

Environmental Safety

Due to its sterile nature and lack of viable seed production, the Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush is often marketed as an “environmentally safe” or “non-invasive” cultivar. This designation is important for gardeners and landscapers who are concerned about the potential ecological impacts of invasive plant species.

By choosing the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ cultivar, gardeners can enjoy the benefits of attracting pollinators to their gardens while minimizing the risk of contributing to the spread of invasive butterfly bush populations in natural areas.

While no plant can be considered 100% risk-free in terms of potential invasiveness, the Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush represents a significant improvement over traditional butterfly bush varieties, offering gardeners a responsible and environmentally-friendly option for adding color and attracting pollinators to their landscapes.

Low Maintenance and Drought Tolerance

Low Maintenance
One of the key advantages of the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ cultivar is its low-maintenance nature, making it an excellent choice for busy gardeners or those looking for a fuss-free plant.

Pruning Requirements
While regular pruning is recommended, the pruning requirements for ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ are relatively minimal compared to other butterfly bush varieties. In late winter or early spring, simply cut the plant back to about 6-12 inches from the ground. This hard pruning encourages vigorous new growth and abundant flowering throughout the growing season.

No Deadheading Needed
Unlike many other flowering shrubs, the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ does not require deadheading (removing spent blooms) to promote continuous flowering. Its ability to bloom continuously from early summer until the first frost without the need for deadheading further reduces maintenance requirements.

Drought Tolerance
The Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush is highly drought-tolerant once established. Its deep, extensive root system allows it to withstand periods of drought and dry conditions, making it an excellent choice for low-water landscapes or areas with hot, dry summers.

Water Requirements
During the first growing season, regular watering is necessary to establish a strong root system. However, once established, the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ requires minimal supplemental watering, even during periods of drought. Its drought tolerance makes it an ideal plant for xeriscaping or water-wise gardening.

Soil Requirements
While the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ prefers well-draining soil, it is adaptable to a range of soil types, including sandy or clay soils. Its tolerance for various soil conditions further contributes to its low-maintenance nature.

Pest and Disease Resistance
The Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush is generally resistant to most pests and diseases, reducing the need for frequent monitoring and treatment. Its overall hardiness and resilience make it a reliable choice for gardeners seeking low-maintenance plants.

By combining its low-maintenance requirements, drought tolerance, and adaptability to various growing conditions, the Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush offers gardeners a beautiful and rewarding plant that requires minimal effort to thrive. Its ease of care and resilience make it an excellent addition to any low-maintenance landscape or garden.

Attracting Pollinators

The Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush is an excellent choice for gardeners who want to attract a wide variety of pollinators to their outdoor spaces. Here are more details on its ability to draw in these beneficial insects and birds:

Nectar-Rich Blooms
The vibrant blue-purple flower spikes of the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ are rich in nectar, making them irresistible to pollinators like butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. The abundant nectar production, combined with the plant’s extended bloom time from early summer until frost, ensures a consistent food source for these visitors throughout the growing season.

Attracting Butterflies
As the name suggests, butterfly bushes are particularly attractive to butterflies. The ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ cultivar is no exception, with its sweet fragrance and nectar-filled blooms acting as a magnet for a wide range of butterfly species. Gardeners can expect to see a variety of swallowtails, fritillaries, monarchs, and other butterfly species flitting from flower to flower, creating a mesmerizing display in their gardens.

Supporting Bees
In addition to butterflies, the Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ is also highly attractive to bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, and various native bee species. The nectar-rich blooms provide an essential food source for these important pollinators, supporting their populations and contributing to the overall health of the local ecosystem.

Hummingbird Magnet
The vibrant blue-purple color and tubular shape of the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ flowers make them particularly appealing to hummingbirds. These tiny, energetic birds are drawn to the nectar-filled blooms, creating a delightful display as they hover and dart from flower to flower, their wings beating rapidly.

Supporting Pollinator Populations
By incorporating the Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush into your garden, you’re not only creating a visually stunning display but also contributing to the support of local pollinator populations. Pollinators play a crucial role in maintaining healthy ecosystems and ensuring productive agriculture, as they are responsible for the pollination of a vast array of plants, including many crops that contribute to our food supply.

With its ability to attract a diverse range of pollinators, the Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush can transform your garden into a vibrant and buzzing oasis, supporting the local ecosystem and providing a delightful show of nature’s beauty.

Landscape Uses

Focal Point in Mixed Borders
With its vibrant blue-purple blooms and compact form, the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ makes an excellent focal point in mixed borders or perennial gardens. Its eye-catching color and continuous bloom time from early summer until frost ensure that it remains a standout feature throughout the growing season.

Mass Plantings for Color Impact
For a bold and dramatic display of color, consider planting the Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ in mass or drifts. When grouped together, the abundance of blue-purple flower spikes creates a stunning visual impact, transforming even the smallest garden spaces into vibrant and pollinator-friendly havens.

Container Gardening
The compact size of the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ makes it an ideal choice for container gardening, particularly on patios, balconies, or in small urban spaces. Its well-behaved growth habit and drought tolerance make it a low-maintenance option for container plantings, ensuring a beautiful and long-lasting display throughout the growing season.

Edging and Borders
With its mounding growth habit and a mature height of 2-3 feet, the Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ can be used as an attractive edging plant or border along walkways, garden beds, or landscape features. Its continuous bloom time and ability to attract pollinators add both visual interest and ecological value to these transitional spaces.

Low-Maintenance Landscapes
For gardeners seeking low-maintenance landscaping options, the ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush is an excellent choice. Its drought tolerance, pest and disease resistance, and minimal pruning requirements make it a reliable and fuss-free addition to water-wise or low-maintenance gardens.

Pollinator Gardens
With its ability to attract a wide range of pollinators, including butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, the Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ is a must-have for any pollinator garden. Its nectar-rich blooms provide an essential food source for these beneficial insects and birds, supporting local ecosystems and contributing to productive agriculture.

Whether used as a focal point, in mass plantings, or as part of a larger landscape design, the Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush offers gardeners a versatile and visually stunning option that combines beauty, pollinator-attracting power, and low-maintenance requirements. Its compact size and well-behaved growth habit make it suitable for a wide range of outdoor spaces, from small urban gardens to larger residential landscapes.

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