How to Propagate a Butterfly Bush


Butterfly bush is the first choice for anyone planning on starting a butterfly garden. Blooming from midsummer through to fall, butterfly bushes display spikes of tiny trumpet-like flowers in large sprays. They come in many colors including white, yellows, reds, blues and purples, and have a mild fragrance similar to lilacs, which will attract butterflies from all over the area. They can be easily propagated by seeds, cuttings and division as well as through natural growth.

Planting Seeds

Prepare the area where you would like to grow your butterfly bushes by lightly raking the soil. Sow the seeds freely, by hand, throughout the area. Give the seeds an initial watering and ensure that the area is watered regularly to encourage germination.

Propagate Softwood Cuttings

First, remove about 3 inches of a branch tip with healthy leaves in the spring or early summer. Trim each cutting to approximately 2 inches. Be sure each cutting has three pairs of leaves. Pinch off the tip of the cutting to promote bushier growth. Remove the bottom pair of leaves with a sharp knife and dust the cut end with rooting compound. Insert the cutting into a moist rooting medium such as perlite, sand or potting soil. Water the cuttings well and place them in a warm, sunny area, watering regularly.

Propagate Plants by Division

Dig up a large butterfly plant carefully and remove all excess soil from around the roots. Look for areas around the stems to identify places to separate the roots. Carefully separate the roots by hand, ensuring that there are enough stems in each separated piece to form a new plant. Continue this process until all separations are complete. Transplant each new plant into freshly turned soil, or into containers filled with potting soil, and water thoroughly.

Propagate Naturally

Butterfly bushes are very prolific and require little encouragement to spread on their own. They can be invasive, however, taking over areas of the garden quickly and should be controlled by trimming and weeding out undesirable growth.

Keywords: butterfly bush, propagating, butterfly plants, butterfly garden, Buddleja

About this Author

In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.