Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Favorite Plant This Week: Buddleia 'Orange Sceptre'

For the last GBBD, I showed a close-up of the bloom on one of my favorite plants this whole winter - Buddleia 'Orange Sceptre'. Here is a picture of the whole plant:

Buddleia 'Orange Sceptre' wide shot
 Now, one thing you can see straight away is that this particular plant is not the most attractive ever, with the bare stems. Pictures online don't show this, but it is similar to what other buddleias do in my garden. I think it's a combination of the heat and lack of water, and the fact that they don't die back and I don't prune them. I have some ideas for combination plantings that will help cover up the bare stems.
But the point of this plant is the flowers - it has been flowering all winter! The flowers are really orange, and different shaped for a buddleia:
bloom spike just starting to open

Close up of flower
 When they first form, the blooms are covered with a white-ish/grey fuzz, much like the new leaves are:
Bud forming

Bud & new leaves
 The blooms eventually elongate to a foot or so, and bloom from the bottom up. Here are some more mature ones:
In the summer, more of the spike blooms at once - this was last week
 'Orange Sceptre' responds really well to dead-heading, sending out more flowers.
All winter, I've been watching hummingbirds fight over the flowers from the kitchen windows

I was hoping to have a picture of the hummingbird - but they really love this plant!

And it just keeps flowering...
 My 'Orange Sceptre' was planted at the end of March 2013, when it looked like this:
28 March 2013
 In my garden its a very fast grower - by the start of May, it looked like this:
4 May 2013
 I did some research about this plant. I got mine from Plant Delights (for sale here),  where they say this is a hybrid of Buddleia stachyoides and Buddleia tubiflora by  Dr. Jon Lindstrom of the University of Arkansas. I found the article from the University announcing the release. They mention the concern about re-seeding, and say you should remove the spent flower heads. I have not yet seen a seedling from  my plant anywhere, but that may be unique to the desert. Both sources say the mature size is around 8 feet tall, and based on its performance in my garden, it grows fast, if a bit leggy. It seems somewhat drought tolerant and adapted to the heat. We haven't had any rain this winter, so I've been watering the garden, but only about 1-2 a week. It is planted in full (afternoon, hot) desert sun, which is probably not helping with the leaves... This summer may be a true test of 'Orange Sceptre's' willingness to live in the desert.

While taking pictures, I noticed that there are new leaves growing on the bare stems, so I'm hoping the bottom of the plant will look better soon. I'm still going to find some plants to help fill in the gap, and maybe next year, try cutting it back to the ground.
new leaves growing
Loree at Danger Garden is sharing her favorite plant (in an orange pot!) this week, and you can visit the comments to see other people's contributions. There is such a variety of plants to see each week!


  1. What an interesting flower for a Buddleia, and a great color!

    1. Thank you! The orange color is very different, but the hummingbirds love it!

  2. 'Orange Sceptre' is the perfect name! Thank you for including the first photo, it's really helpful to not see only the good parts of a plant. I do love the orange flowers and the fact that it's a fast grower.

    1. It definitely is a fast grower! I'm interested to see if it gets much bigger than the ~6ft it is right now... It's not very dense though. Thanks for visiting!

  3. I've a thing for orange and have wanted this plant for a while. I am glad to know Plant Delights has it. I know in some places Buddleja is a real pest, but I have never seen it misbehave around here.

    1. This one hasn't reseeded here, as far as I can tell. The only negative I have about it is the bare stems... and that may be a desert-only problem. Thanks for commenting!


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