Buddleia, easy flowers all summer long for butterflies

Buddleia flower with butterfly

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.

Buddleia planted in the groundIt 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-Garden.
  • To make a hedge, keep a distance of around 3 feet (1 meter) between each plant and its neighbors.

Propagating buddleia

Propagating buddleia is either by seed or through cuttingsBuddleia is qualified as an invasive species because its capacity to propagate through seed 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

Pruning buddleia to bring it back to sizeBuddleia 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 and leggy instead.

Caring for buddleia, here with insects

Watering and adding fertilizer

Watering will keep your buddleia bloomingBuddleia 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

Buddleia is a shrub with an abundant and generous blooming.

Landscaping with buddleia gives beautiful resultsForming 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.

Attract butterflies and other insects to the garden with buddleiaAlso also called “butterfly bush“, the fragrance released by its flowers is what makes buddleia so appealing to our fluttering friends. Some, like the cabbage white, even lay eggs on this shrub’s leaves.

Buddleia blooms in summer for the greatest joy of butterflies!

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

Read also on shrubs:

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…

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY 2.0: Garry Knight, Martin Pettitt, Manuel Martin Vicente
CC BY-SA 2.0: F. D. Richards