Butterfly Bush



With reason, the butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is a well-beloved shrub by many gardeners.  It has a long season of bright color from June to October and attracts butterflies and other pollinating insects to your yard; its easy to grow and takes the brutal heat in the most exposed areas of our gardens. Butterfly bush is an extremely fast grower and can reach mature height within just a few growing seasons.

Growing Butterfly Bush

The most important concern when growing butterfly bush is sunlight and drainage. Butterfly bushes need full sun and well-drained soil, as they are susceptible to rot when waterlogged. Although they prefer moist soil, once established they are quite drought tolerant and can handle quite dry locations.

Very little fertilizer, if any, is needed for butterfly bush. If you do, make sure to do it early in the growing season with a fertilizer high in phosphorus. Too much nitrogen will cause butterfly bush to produce an abundance of leaves and few flowers.

Butterfly bush is hardy in zones 5-9, but cold winters can cause it to die to the ground. If it does die to the ground in a cold winter, don’t worry. It will sprout back from the base. You can also cut butterfly back to the ground every fall or spring (just before it begins to grow again) to help control the size.

After blooming, you will see seedheads begin to form. Deadheading these will ensure longer and more prolific blooming, and also prevent spreading by seed.

Dozens of butterfly bush cultivars exist, ranging in size from 2 feet to over 10 feet tall. Colors range from whites to various shades of purples and pinks. Here are a few of the favorites we carry, sorted by size:

Large Cultivars (>8 ft tall)

lochinch plant finder

Lochinch Butterfly Bush

 

Lochinch

Characteristics: Lilac-blue blooms

Size: 10′ tall x 10′ wide

 

 

 

Guinevere plant finder

Guinevere Butterfly Bush

 

Guinevere

Characteristics: Dark purple blooms

Size: 10′ tall x 10′ wide

 

Attraction Butterfly Bush

Attraction Butterfly Bush

 

Attraction

Characteristics: Red-violet blooms

Size: 8′ tall x 8′ wide

Medium Cultivars (4-8 feet tall)

black knight plant finder

Black Knight Butterfly Bush

 

Black Knight

Characteristics: Deep purple blooms. Darkest purple color available

Size: 5′ tall x 5′ wide

 

"'Evil Ways' Butterfly Bush" by F.D. Richards is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

“‘Evil Ways’ Butterfly Bush” by F.D. Richards is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Evil Ways

Characteristics: Chartruese foliage, deep purple blooms

Size: 5′ tall x 4′ wide

 

 

 

Proven Winners' 'Miss Molly' Butterfly Bush

Proven Winners’ ‘Miss Molly’ Butterfly Bush

 

Miss Molly

Characteristics: Rose red blooms

Size: 5′ tall x 4′ wide

 

Proven Winners' 'Miss Ruby' Butterfly Bush

Proven Winners’ ‘Miss Ruby’ Butterfly Bush

 

Miss Ruby

Characteristics: Pink-purple blooms

Size: 5′ tall x 4′ wide

 

 

 

 

white profusion plant finder

White Profusion Butterfly Bush

 

White Profusion

Characteristics: white blooms

Size: 6′ tall x 5′ wide

 

Dwarf Cultivars (<4 feet tall)

Proven Winners' Lo and Behold® Blue Chip Jr.

Proven Winners’ Lo and Behold® Blue Chip Jr.

 

Lo and Behold Blue Chip

Characteristics: Purple-blue blooms

Size: 3′ tall x 2.5′ wide

 

 

 

 

 

Proven Winners' Lo and Behold® Pink Micro Chip

Proven Winners’ Lo and Behold® Pink Micro Chip

 

Lo and Behold Pink Micro Chip

Characteristics: Pink blooms

Size: 2′ tall x 2′ wide

 

Proven Winners' Lo and Behold® Purple Haze

Proven Winners’ Lo and Behold® Purple Haze

 

 

Lo and Behold Purple Haze

Characteristics: Lilac-blue blooms

Size: 3′ tall x 4′ wide