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Butterfly bushes

If you want a plant that is easy to take care of plus brings the color all summer long, then (Buddleia) butterfly bushes is the plant for you. They are fast growing and attract an enormous amount of pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds and of course butterflies. Just like the hydrangeas your butterfly bush will be the showcase of the landscape. Use them in the same garden bed and you will be amazed by the array of color. Butterfly bushes are planted for best results at the beginning of the growing season in spring. Now of course you can plant them up into fall but don’t wait too late, especially in the colder zones.


Butterfly bushes

Butterfly bushes are sometime referred to as “summer lilac” in some parts of the country. They are hardy from zone 5 – 9 and can remain an evergreen in warmer areas such as Florida. Butterfly bushes can reach to a height of 10 feet such as the black knight but some will only reach a height of 2.5 feet like the puster variety. With so many varieties and colors to choose from there is one for sure that will meet your expectations.

Where To Plant

1. Perennial gardens  – butterfly bushes are a perfect specimen in a garden full of perennials flowers such as cone flower, bee balm etc.

2. Focal point – use the butterfly bush as a focal point. Plant it in the middle to grab attention and bring focus into the area.

3. Full sun – planting in full sun will get you more blooms through the summer. As the older blooms start to dry out you will notice new flower buds starting to erupt.

4. Well drained soil – If you haven’t learned your lesson already you will learn that butterfly bushes don’t like wet feet. Make sure your soil has been amended for those who live in areas that have clay.

Water Wisely

We all want to make sure our plants have plenty of water throughout the growing season. Most plants need that extra bit of water but not the butterfly bush. They will start to decline if to much water is on the roots. A good drip system with a timer is the best way to keep all your plants effectively watered all summer long. Remember to never over water any of your plants. It can do more harm than good.


I hear a lot of times “what is the best fertilizer for my butterfly bush”. Well, that depends on how much work you want to put into it. I usually use a good bark mulch that will compost into good black soil. It will nourish the ground that will eventually give the butterfly bush exactly what it needs. If you use mulch keep it about 2-3 inches in depth. This will help keep moisture from evaporating during the summer, keeping the roots protected. A good mushroom compost is also good to use as an organic fertilizer that is pact with ready to use nutrients.

If for some reason you who still want to add an extra punch to the soil, try using a good granule fertilizer. I would suggest using a slow release fertilizer such as espoma blossom booster. This is an all organic fertilizer that will keep the blooms coming all season. All you need to do is add 1 cup around each butterfly bush and water in. Repeat this monthly March through June. Do not fertilize past June as you want the plant to start cooling down for dormancy.


Deadheading is not needed for butterfly bush unless it is for esthetics. Removing the spent brown flowers will not promote new flowers to appear. New flowers will grow on the adjacent stems of the plant. As far as pruning in the fall, cut a 1/3 of the plant. Never over do it with pruning. Try to keep a natural shape and look of the plant year round.

Butterfly bush popular varieties


Lo & Behold

Blue Chip


Miss Molly 

Miss Molly Butterfly bush 


Pugster Blue

Pugster Pinker

Pugster pinker

 Black Knight

Buddleia ‘Bicolor’


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