Gardening Care of a Butterfly Plant


The butterfly bush or butterfly plant (Buddleia davidii) is a perennial shrub grown in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9. As its name implies, the plant's colorful blossoms attract butterflies, making it an ideal addition to any backyard butterfly garden. Provide the butterfly plant with the care it needs to thrive and produce the greatest bounty of its butterfly-attracting flowers.

Step 1

Amend the soil every spring with 3 to 4 inches of aged compost mixed into the dirt around the butterfly bush. Though butterfly plants can grow in any type of soil, including poor soil, they do best in moist and well-drained dirt, according to North Carolina State University. Compost helps the soil retain moisture and also improves drainage.

Step 2

Water the butterfly bush once a week, according to the Mountain Valley Growers nursery. The plants are very drought resistant. When applying water, use enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

Step 3

Deadhead the shrub when the plant starts flowering. Clip off any flowers once they wilt. This encourages the plant to produce flowers continuously until the first frost date in your region, according to Ohio State University. Otherwise, blossom production may be limited and sporadic.

Step 4

Prune the butterfly shrub in the late winter when the visible canes are bare and dead. Heavy pruning promotes the heaviest flower production in the plant, according to North Carolina State University. Mountain Valley Growers recommends pruning the plant down to the ground. It will regrow rapidly the following spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Aged compost
  • Spade
  • Pruning shears
  • Water


  • "Butterfly Gardening: Creating Summer Magic in Your Garden"; Xerces Society; 1998
  • North Carolina State University: Buddleia Davidii
  • Ohio State University: Buddleia Davidii
  • Mountain Valley Growers: Butterfly Bushes
Keywords: buttery plant care, Buddleia davidii care, butterly shrub care

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.