Butterfly Bush Problems

Butterfly Bush Problems image by wolfiewolf/Flickr

The fragrant flowers of a butterfly bush (Buddleia sp.) attract hummingbirds and bees, as well as butterflies. The shrub has a loose open form and bears flowers in shades of pink, purple, yellow and white.

Winter Damage

Butterfly bushes are marginally root hardy only to Zone 5. A mound of soil around the crown of the plant may help protect it. The plant should be cut back to within a few inches of the ground in the spring.

Root Rot

Butterfly bushes grow best in full sun and well drained soil. Inadequate drainage can result in root rot caused by Phythium, Phytophthora or Rhizoctonia fungi. Infected plants should be removed. The drainage and air circulation should be improved before replacing infected plants.


Caterpillars and Japanese Beetles eat the leaves and flowers of Butterfly Bushes. Remove by hand or apply an insecticide approved for butterfly plants according to the manufacturer's directions. Spider mites can be washed off with a hose or treated with a pesticide approved for butterfly plants at the recommended rate of the manufacturer.

Mineral Conditions

Mineral deficiencies in the soil can cause discolored or distorted foliage on Butterfly Bushes. An excess of minerals can cause leaf tip dieback and discolored leaf edges. Soil should be tested to determine whether fertilizer is needed and how much to apply.

Keywords: Butterfly Bush, Buddleia, Buddleia problems, Butterfly Bush problems

About this Author

Melody Lee began working as a reporter and copywriter for the "Jasper News" in 2004 and was promoted to editor in 2005. She also edits magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design, is a Florida Master Gardener, and has more than 25 years of gardening experience.

Photo by: wolfiewolf/Flickr