Let’s Get Acquainted with the Butterfly Bush

A Butterfly bush, or officially a buddleia, is colorful, and blooms in summer and autumn. Get facts and information on butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) varieties as well as growing and caring tips.

"Flowers That Attract Butterflies"

Attract butterflies to your garden

Butterfly Bush Facts

Butterfly bush is a deciduous flowering shrub that will attract butterflies to your yard or garden. Many butterfly bushes are hardy; others are suitable for outdoor planting only in mild areas. They look great when in bloom with crepe myrtle or ceanothus. Most are deciduous, or leaf-losing. There is considerable variation in the height, which ranges from 5-12' h x 5-14' w. Butterfly bushes grow in Zones 5-10 in full sun.

"Butterfly Bush"

Butterfly bush in full bloom

The flower blossoms come in many exquisite colors, including deep rose-purple,white, purple, flaming violet, pale lilac and many shades in between, some of which are made even more striking by the orange eyes. One type, the Chinese type, the weeping willow buddleia, grows 10 feet tall and bears delicate clusters of mauve flowers in June. The smaller varieties of butterfly bush can be used as flowering foundation shrubs. Most buddleias will grow in ordinary yard and garden soil to which some organic matter has been added, preferably decayed manure. They may be planted in either spring or fall.

Caution: This plant can be an invasive perennial. If you don't remove spent flowers, it can seed itself near and far and grow to be a weed or nuisance where it is not wanted.

Pruning: It is important to prune this shrub correctly. The types which flower in late summer and autumn should be pruned each spring by cutting back the shoots of the previous year's growth to within 2 or 3 inches of the older wood.

In severe climates, the bush may be killed back to the ground during the winter, but as long as the roots survive , new growth will be produced and it will bloom the same summer. Mulching the plant during the winter months will be of great benefit, particularly in climates where the ground is subject to hard freezing.

Propagation: Buddleias, such as the butterfly bush, are readily propagated by cuttings. These, which may be either half-ripe wood or semi-woody side shoots, should be 5 to 6 inches long. Place in a coldframe or outdoors in a sheltered, shady location and keep moist.

Buddleias are always happiest and most effective in a sunny location. They will add beauty to your garden by attracting large numbers of butterflies during the day and numerous moths at night. Butterflies swarm to the lavish flowers, giving the bush a lively, fluttering surface.

Attract Butterflies with Butterfly Bush

Try adding one of these bushes to your garden as they will provide color, and enjoyment through out the summer and autumn seasons. If you are a butterfly enthusiast, you will definitely want to add these plants since butterflies love them. This is especially true if you are lucky enough to live along the route of the migrating monarch butterfly. My home is in their path, and one year we got to see the butterflies swarm over us on their way to Mexico. It was a sight to behold. We had many of them come and stop in my my yard. That was a special treat for my family.

Some cultivars with well-formed seedheads add winter interest to the garden. Dried stems and pruning make good pea stakes for floppy perennials like baby's breath or annuals like China aster.

Butterfly Bush Varieties (Buddleja davidii )

Buddleja davidii 'Black Knight' is dark purple and slightly more cold hardy than the species.

Buddleja davidii 'Dartmoor' is a big-branched variety with magenta-purple spikes 5-10" h and w.

Buddleja davidii 'Ellen's Blue' is lavender blue with fragrant flowers with orange throats in short panicles.

B, davidii 'Fascinating' or (Fascination) has long, pointy light pink to lavender flowers.

B. davidii 'Harlequin' has variegated leaves with yellow edges that fade to cream and deep reddish purple flowers.

B. davidii 'Nanho Purple' has deep purple-hued blooms with orange throats on a compact shrub with a dense rounded form.

Other popular varieties of Buddleja davidii include: 'Nanho Blue', 'Pink Delight', 'Royal Red', and 'White Profusion'.


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