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Butterfly Bush Buddleia

Growing Butterfly Bush: Tips at a Glance

Native to China, butterfly bush is a fast-growing deciduous shrub with long, conical blossoms in the summer. Butterflies (and other pollinators) behave like kids in a candy store when Buddleia blooms but before you plant this bush, make sure it's not on the "invasive" list in your region.

  • Type Flowering shrub
  • Lifespan Perennial
  • Growing Zones 5 and above
  • Light Sun or light shade
  • Water 1 inch per week
  • Soil Well-drained
  • Companions Poppies, milkweed
  • Design Tip Back of the border
  • Peak Season Summer flowers

Butterfly Bush: A Field Guide

“If you want to photograph butterflies, plant a butterfly bush,” writes photographer Rick Sammons, dispensing advice that, while perhaps obvious, bears repeating. Deciduous Buddleia bushes, with their colorful panicles of flowers, are irresistible to all kinds of beneficial pollinators.

The drawback to this fast-growing shrub–you knew there had to be a catch, didn’t you?—is that in warm climates it turns invasive. In 20 US states, in fact, butterfly bush is considered an unwelcome weed. Elsewhere, however, including England (where for some reason everything grows beautifully and gets along without bullying–explain!) and other temperate gardening climates, butterfly bushes are welcome additions to meadow gardens.

Tall and ungainly if left to choose their own shape, butterfly bushes have long, thin branches which explode in all directions like water from a fountain. These leggy stems turn into thick and woody trunks if not tamed by regular pruning. Plant this shrub in the back of the border or along a fence line to block your view of the neighbors.

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Planting, Care & Design of Butterfly Bush

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