Easy Butterfly Bush Care: Grow a Butterfly Magnet in Your Garden

Attract butterflies with ease! Learn how to care for a butterfly bush and create a vibrant garden haven with these easy-to-follow tips.

Bring fluttering friends to your yard! Learn how to plant, grow, and maintain this vibrant flowering shrub for stunning blooms and a continuous stream of colorful visitors!

Butterfly bushes are easy to grow. It’s a large shrub that produces fragrant, showy, cone-shaped ball flowers with sprouts of purple, pink, white, etc. florets. Butterflies are seen flying around these flowers to eat the nectar. Nectar is the butterfly’s favorite food and why it is called butterfly bush.

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Blooms are forming and will have purple flowers beginning in July.

Another name for it is “summer lilacs.” Why? Because the blooms look similar to that of a lilac bush.

Butterfly bushes are perennial plants that die back to the ground every winter. They then send out new growth from the roots in the spring. Some plants are considered to be invasive. I have not had problems growing them over the years. It is important to keep them trimmed in the spring.

Are butterfly bushes high maintenance? The butterfly bush is a fast-growing, perennial shrub with masses of long, spiked flowers that bloom from summer to autumn.

What zones are good for a butterfly bush? Butterfly Bush (Buddleja) is hardy to Zone 5 -8.

How big does the butterfly bush get? Butterfly Bush is a deciduous shrub that can grow from 5 to 15 feet high. It is why you should always cut them back in the spring.

They will bloom from mid-summer to early fall. Flowers form pretty drooping or upright spikes at the end of branches.

Although my butterfly bush has not bloomed in the photo above, spring or before the summer month is the time to plant a butterfly bush. I did not want you to miss a season of enjoying this wonderful plant.

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Here you can see small purple flowers blooming to create a beautiful spike of flowers. The bumble bees love this shrub too.

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Common Name: Butterfly Bush “summer lilac”

Botanical Name: Buddleja

Plant Type: Shrub

Bloom Color: purple, lavender, pink, white, blue, red to Pink

Plant Height: 3-16 feet

Spreads: 4-15 feet

Sun Type: Full, partial Sun (minimum 8 hours)

Soil type: Clay, most well-drained soil

Zones: 5-8

It is best to plant in the spring. Avoid planting in the fall. This way the plant has time to get used to the soil and take root before the winter (wet season) rolls around. If people lose a butterfly bush, mostly it is because of a very wet winter.

Plant your butterfly bush in a sunny flower garden. It requires a minimum of 8 hours of bright sunlight.

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When planting a butterfly bush make a shallow hole. You want to plant it high. Do not plant it even on the ground. Let it sit higher. Why? Planting it higher than ground level with help the water to drain away from the plant rather than settle around it.

A Butterfly bush can grow in clay soil. You do not need to amend the soil. Plant it in natural soil. Do not add any topsoil or compost to it.

Their roots are sensitive to rotting. Therefore, do not let your bush sit in the water. It should be planted in well-drained soil. While butterfly bush is fairly drought tolerant, it will need watering during the summer. It is best to water as new growth develops. In the summer months, you can water if rainfall has been less than 1 inch per week. You do not want to overwater this shrub.

When do you fertilize your butterfly bush? You do not!

Avoid fertilizing butterfly bush; too much fertility promotes leaf growth over flower production.

The bush should bloom plentifully even in its first year. In warmer climates, the bushes will grow into trees and develop rugged trunks that peel. The peeling around the trunk is perfectly normal. You do not need to worry.

You can deadhead by removing the spent flower spikes. It will encourage new shoots and flower buds. In addition, it is important to deadhead the flowers just as they start to wither.

Butterfly bushes must be pruned every spring to control the height and to promote growth on new wood. Pruning in the spring, after the new growth emerges works best. Never cut your butterfly bush back in the autumn. Yes, it can look spent. However, in cold climates, it could kill your plant. Pruning it in the fall can leave your bush susceptible to damage over the winter.

You should not prune until you see green buds on the stems. The blooms will grow on new wood. You can cut them back to the ground each spring. With Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears, you will make your cuts just above the big, new green leaf buds. It can take several weeks into spring for new growth to show up. Do not prune before you see the new growth. You do not want to cut them back too early.

Always prune out the dead stems by cutting them close to the ground. It is important to prune them severely to stimulate an abundance of growth. This will help your bush to produce beautiful blooms.

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This flowering shrub is beautiful in the garden. It is a low-maintenance shrub. You do need to be mindful to prune it back in the spring when need leaves are forming on the wood. Hack it back if necessary to keep it from growing too big in your landscaping or flower garden.

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It will bring you enjoyment to see the butterflies landing on the flowers. At one time, there must have been more than 20 butterflies on my plant. It is fun to watch.

You can also propagate from your bush if you want another planting in your yard.

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With a little planning and care, your butterfly bush will thrive for many years. Sit back and enjoy the beauty and gentle flutter of wings as these beautiful pollinators flit from bloom to bloom. Enjoy these tiny little winged friends in your garden, sweet friend!

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4 Comments

    1. I heard that some can become invasive. Thankfully, I have never had any issues. I had one at the other house with pink flowers. My mother has a gorgeous lavender one. If you maintain them, you will not have issues.

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