Buddleia, the butterfly bush

Buddleia is a shrub that exhibits beautiful bunches of flowers that butterflies delight in.

Basic Buddleia facts

Name – Buddleja davidii
Family – Scrophulariaceae
Type – shrub

Height – 6 ½ to 16 feet (2 to 5 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary

Foliage – Deciduous
Flowering – July to October

Planting, care and pruning are steps that will enhance blooming.

Planting buddleia

Buddleia is preferably planted in fall in order to ensure root growth and thus proper settling in in spring.

It is also possible to plant buddleia purchased in containers (pots) in spring if the precaution is taken to provide proper watering at the beginning.

  • Choose a full sun location for the best blooming.
  • Avoid excessively rich soil that would only lead to building up leafage instead of blooming (fertilizer is thus useless, too).
  • Follow our guidance for planting trees here at Nature-and-Health.
  • To make a hedge, keep a distance of around 3 feet (1 meter) between each plant and its neighbors.

Propagating buddleia

Buddleia is qualified as an invasive species because its capacity to propagate is so high. It thus isn’t necessary to propagate it, just wait for it to do so on its own!

Technically, it is possible to prepare buddleia through cuttings at the end of summer.

  • Snip in summer 6-inch (15 cm) cuttings off new growth wood (only partially hardened off).
  • Remove lower pairs of leaves, keeping only the topmost pair of leaves.
  • If possible, dip the base of the cuttings in powdered rooting hormones.
  • Plant the cuttings in special cutting soil mix.
  • Keep your cuttings near light, but not in direct sunlight.
  • Keep substrate moist.
  • Ensure that the cuttings can’t freeze in winter, and transplant in the following spring.

Take note that buddleia is very invasive and can quickly become a cumbersome friend.

Pruning, and caring for butterfly bush

Buddleia is a shrub that is easy to care for, especially if it is well settled in. The only consideration is to severely cut back your buddleia every year.

You’ve got 2 options to prune, both cases are at the end of winter:

  • To remodel your butterfly-bush:
    Prune the shoots from the previous year’s growth while ensuring the buddleia has a nice bearing.
  • To frankly rejuvenate your buddleia:
    Cut back as much as you wish, it will grow back even nicer and should bloom even more.
  • If you don’t prune the butterfly bush, it will end up growing sparse.

Watering and adding fertilizer

Buddleia isn’t particularly thirsty, but watering in case of heat wave or prolonged dry spells is recommended.

Mulch in the summer helps retain moisture in the soil and also avoids weed growth.

In spring, adding flower shrub fertilizer will increase the blooming.

Learn more about buddleia

A butterfly basks in the sun on a violet buddleia bush flower just budding open.Buddleia is a shrub with an abundant and generous blooming.

Forming nice panicles with colors ranging from white and red to pink and purple, this shrub is perfect to plant as a hedge.

It also stands out great as a standalone or in a shrub bed.

Also also called “butterfly bush“, the fragrance released by its flowers is what makes buddleia so appealing to our winged friends.

Buddleia blooms in summer for the greatest joy of butterflies!

Lastly, being both easy to care for and very hardy, butterfly bush is a very simple bush to grow.

Smart tip about buddleia

Cut short from November onwards. This will give your shrub even more vigor!

For a buddleia that doesn’t bear flowers, try cutting it back at the end of winter, it should thank you…

Read also on shrubs:


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Buddleia flowers by Angelstar ★ under Pixabay license
Butterfly on buddleia by Steve Bidmead ★ under Pixabay license