Butterfly Bush

Last updated on March 22nd, 2024 at 10:12 am

The Butterfly Bush.  (Buddleia davidii). They like full sun or partial shade and lots of water for the first 2 years or so and are considered a perennial in the southwest.

These beautiful plants have long spiky-like blooms and will grow in almost any soil but will do and look better with good organic compost.  The Butterfly Bush provides a strong lilac fragrance.  There are many cultivars and we have information on some of the common in this post.

Butterfly Bush
The Black Knight Butterfly Bush

The blooms will last 3 maybe 4 weeks or longer depending on where it is placed.  Once blooms expire prune them off for more blooms throughout the long hot summer months. For longer-lasting blooms, you should do this 3-4 per through-out the growing season.  In the southwest, the sun is harsh so water and fertilize often.  Use a good 20-20-20 analysis fertilizer.

Butterfly Bush

In places where it freezes it will go dormant during the winter months.  Trim it during the winter season just shear off about 3-4 inches around the Butterfly Bush during winter months and they will sprout out in early spring.

They also attract “butterflies” thus its name! Wow, beautiful blooms with colorful butterflies swirling around during the summer and fall months. You’ll love them.  Here is a list of Plants that attract butterflies.

There are over 140 species of butterfly bushes to choose from the Royal Red to the Sky Blue Variety. They are easy to grow and can tolerate the southwestern heat.

Where to Plant It?

They can tolerate full sun or partial shade.  It’s best to plant them in the ground they can tolerate poor soil but for a better-looking plant, I would use well-composted soil.  They will do better in the morning sun and afternoon shade but, will do fine in full sun providing you give them plenty of water during the mid-summer seasons.

Plant Problems

They are susceptible to powdery mildew and leaf spot.  Both of these diseases are fungal.  Spray with a good fungicide at the earliest possible time.  To avoid fungal diseases do not overwater and keep the butterfly bush away from the lawn sprinkler overspray.

Aphids, mealybugs, and leafminers will attack this plant.  Use a good systemic insecticide to kill these pests. Observe your plants often and act ASAP to help your plants stay healthy.

Butterfly Flying around Butterfly Bush

Butterfly BUsh
A Red-spotted purple butterfly on a butterfly bush flower


The Petite White Butterfly Bush

White Butterfly Bush
A compact white Butterfly Bush. Good for small yards.


The Black Knight

Beautiful dark purple blooms on this plant.  A hardier plant than other varieties, but may die to ground in cold winter areas and will come up vigorously in spring.  Check out Monrovia.com photo of this Butterfly Bush.

Butterfly bush will work in USDA Zones 5-9.  

A deciduous plant that will tolerate poor soil but will do better with good loamy well-drained composted soil.

Butterfly Bush Invasive?

There are some who think these plants should be banned in the U.S. because of their invasive nature.  However, this occurs only in places where the average rainfall is heavy.  This is rarely the case in and around the Southwest area. You can read more about this controversy over at “Invasive Bush”?

Butterfly bushes may attract unwanted pests such as aphids or caterpillars. But fret not, for there are natural ways to combat these critters without resorting to harmful pesticides. Introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs or planting companion plants that repel pests can help create a harmonious ecosystem in your garden.

ßome gardeners have reported that butterfly bushes require frequent pruning to maintain their shape and encourage more blooms. While this may seem like a chore to some, it’s an exciting opportunity to sculpt your garden masterpiece! With a little bit of creativity and the right tools, you can transform your butterfly bush into a work of art.

Other bushes that attract Butterflies. The lilac flower shrub. 


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