REMEMBER when I was a boy, I was visiting a garden which was full of very tall shrubs, covered in butterflies.

I had never (and still haven’t) seen such a glorious sight and I was told that they were feeding on “butterfly bushes”.

These butterfly bushes were Buddleja (Buddleia) davidii and originate from Asia.

They range in flower colour from white to blue, through to pink and red. Most people recognise these plants and they are often seen growing on waste ground and alongside railway tracks.

They can grow into very large shrubs if not controlled, but in the right place, they can be a real asset to a garden, attracting not only butterflies, but bees and other beneficial insects too.

If you don’t have room for a Buddleja davidii, or you would like to grow one in a pot, try growing the new dwarf forms.

Buddleja “Buzz” series are a great choice for smaller gardens, growing up to around 120cm (4ft) with blue, white or lavender flowers.

Use a John Innes No 2 compost and give a good watering when dry.

An even smaller variety is the Buddleia “Chip” series, only growing to around 60cm (2ft) and available in lavender, red, white and blue-coloured flowers.

I have both of these in terracotta pots on my patio and they give great colour and scent this time of year.

My mother used to grow Buddleia globosa (a South American species). It has small, ball-like orange-yellow flowers and was over 3m (9ft) high and wide. A rarer sort of this species is available with white flowers.

Buddleia x weyeriana is a cross between davidii and globosa and its flowers come in various tones of colour on the same flower. The flowers are ball-like, but grow two or three flowers on top of each other on the same stem.

I have the variety “Sungold” in my garden and it grows to around 2m (7ft) before I chop it down by a third in the winter to prevent wind rock and then down again in early spring to around the third set of new leaf buds.

Buddleja alternifolia (also from Asia) can grow up to 5m (16ft) and has lilac flowers. It has smaller leaves to some of the other species, but can become denser and makes a lovely hedge.

Whatever species you decide to grow, make sure it is planted in well drained soil.

They do prefer to be in full sun for most of the day.

Buddleja davidii and any other species that flower from July onwards can be cut back to the nearest third set of new leaves around March time.

The aim is to try and get a good shape. Buddleja globosa and alternifolia and species that flower earlier in the year should be pruned back straight after flowering and only to shape.

Give them a good feed of a balanced fertiliser straight after.

There are hundreds of different species of Buddleja to choose from, so see if there is room for one in your garden and help to keep our butterfly populations from disappearing.