With spring in the air, warm weather on the way and breezes stirring, scented trees and shrubs are the order of the day.

Buddleja salviifolia, commonly known as Sagewood or Butterfly bush is a bushy shrub or small tree that can grow to a height of 4 m under optimal conditions.  It is semi-deciduous and bears masses of small, white to lilac flowers from August to October.  The blooms are sweetly scented and attract butterflies and insects to the garden.

The foliage is dark green with a wrinkled appearance and the underside of the leaves is coated with dense white to grey hair, reminiscent of the herb sage.  The leaves are long and fairly narrow and are browsed by game.  This is a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree that has slightly drooping branches and it can become quite scruffy if not trimmed after flowering.  It is a fast grower that is distributed widely around South Africa and is also indigenous to our country.

Hardy and drought resistant, Buddleja salviifolia thrives in almost any soil type, but will do even better when compost is added.  The tree is frost resistant, but should be protected when young to encourage growth.  Decorative with its flowers and interesting foliage, the Sagewood is often used as a ‘nursery plant’ to protect smaller plants from the elements.  If trimmed regularly if can form a beautiful hedge and is often used as a framework or background specimen in landscape design.

The Sagewood is a welcome addition to a wildlife garden where it’s lovely scent and flowers will attract a myriad of butterflies to usher in summer.