Shrub medium; Shrub large
light; moderate; hardy
White with orange-yellow, lilac or salmon-coloured throat. May to August; autumn winter
sun; screen; semi-shade; clay soils; container; shrubbery; wildlife bees insects butterflies birds; fast-growing easy-care
Woodland Forest; rocky places; coastal eastern cape; coastal kzn; bushveld; urban streets
thicket; Subtropical East Coast; highveld; bushveld savanna
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Drooping sprays of honey-scented flowers blanket this dark green shrub as winter begins. The Buddleja family is known and utilised around the world as a popular butterfly attracting species for the gardens. For this reason, they often decorate a garden as a single specimen rather than as hedging plants. Buddleja auriculata, the weeping Sage bush, in particular, makes an eye-catching and highly fragrant hedge, bringing the winter garden to life with visiting insects, birds and butterflies galore. It thus fills a much needed role in this dry and somewhat barren time of the year. If left unpruned to achieve its mature size, inland gardeners can expect a shrub of 3 x 4m; closer to the warm, wetter coast and mist-belt though, it is usually larger in size. Leaves are long, tapering to a point, a dark blue-green above, while below they are a pale silvery white. The quilted surface gives it a beautiful textured effect through the year, highlighted by a glossy sheen. Being evergreen with leafing branches close to the ground, it is an perfect candidate as a hedging plant. The darker leaves do tend to relegate it to the less-seen backdrop, but as the first few sprays open at the end of autumn, it becomes the centre of attention. In more exposed areas where size is not an issue, allow this shrub to grow unhindered to create a bushy screen upwards of 3m in height. I’ve seen it pruned into a magnificent hedge. Position plants closer together than usual to form a dense screen as soon as possible. Smaller gardens can prune once yearly to keep it to the required smaller size, and this does seem to encourage bushy growth and magnificent flowering. This needs to be done if this hedge is to be placed in smaller gardens or along narrower passages.