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Rapid evolutionary adjustments to novel environments may contribute to the successful spread of invasive species, and can lead to niche shifts making range dynamics unpredictable. These effects might be intensified by artificial selection in the course of breeding efforts, since many successful plant invaders were deliberately introduced and cultivated as ornamentals. We hypothesized that the invasion success of Buddleja davidii, the ornamental butterfly bush, is facilitated by local adaptation to minimum temperatures and thus, exhibits unpredictable range dynamics. To assess the potential effects of adaptive evolution and artificial selection on the spread of B. davidii, we combined a common garden experiment investigating local adaptation to frost, with ecological niche modelling of the species’ native and invasive ranges. We expected that populations naturalized in sub-continental climate are less susceptible to frost than populations from oceanic climate, and that the invasive range does not match predictions based on climatic data from the native range. Indeed, we revealed significant variation among invasive B. davidii populations in frost resistance. However, frost hardiness was not related to geographic location or climatic variables of the populations’ home site, suggesting that invasive B. davidii populations are not locally adapted to minimum temperatures. This is in line with results of our ecological niche model that did not detect a niche shift between the species’ native range in China, and its invasive range in Europe and North America. Furthermore, our niche model showed that the potential invasive range of B. davidii is still not completely occupied. Together with the frost resistance data obtained in our experiment, the results indicate that climatic conditions are currently not limiting the further spread of the species in Europe and North America.