How to Grow Butterfly Bush


Many different species of the so-called butterfly bush, technically known as buddleia, exist. These evergreen, fragrant, flowering bushes attract butterflies, which adds an extra dimension to any garden. Depending on the species, butterfly bushes grow well in most zones, with the exception of the coldest and most tropical. These bushes will generally bloom from July through September.

Preparing to Plant

Step 1

Select a sunny or at least partly sunny area in your garden. The warmer the summer, the less sun the bush will need, so if you are close to a tropical zone--for example, if you are just north of Florida--take care to find a partly sunny spot for your bushes so they won't succumb to the heat.

Step 2

Make sure the planting area has fertile soil and drains well. You may add fertilizer or potting soil to the dirt to ensure that it is fertile and moist.

Step 3

Measure the area you will be planting in to accommodate all of your plants. Plant butterfly bushes 6 feet apart, as they may grow as tall at 10 feet high with arching branches.


Step 1

Dig a hole about twice the size of the root ball of the butterfly plant you will be planting. Place the plant in the hole and make sure that the root ball will be covered when you put the dirt back in.

Step 2

Sprinkle some fertilizer or all-purpose plant food and water (enough to wet the root ball, but not create a puddle) into the hole. Cover the hole and pat the dirt down using either a shovel head or your foot. Water again.

Step 3

Water your buttferfly bush daily for two weeks after planting to encourage rooting. Since these plants are drought tolerant, water just enough to soak the ground, but not create puddles. After established, water only sparingly in dry climates.

Step 4

Cut back your butterfly bush in colder climates right before winter. They will survive the winter and after the thaw, though they may look dead, the plants should come back by summer. In warmer climates, prune the bushes after the first bloom to encourage a second round.

Step 5

Deadhead bushes regularly to encourage new blooms. You may snap the bloom off by holding the stem between your index finger and thumb and squeezing it off, or you may prune with garden shears.

Tips and Warnings

  • Butterfly bushes will not grow in tropical areas and should be avoided.

Things You'll Need

  • Butterfly bush
  • Fertilizer
  • All-purpose plant food
  • Water
  • Pruning shears
  • Garden gloves


  • Growing Butterfly Bushes
  • About Butterfly Bushes
  • Sunset; National Garden Book; 1987
Keywords: Butterfly bush, Plant care butterfly bush, Buddleia

About this Author

J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master's degree in journalism.