Planting a Butterfly Bush


Just as its name suggests, the large butterfly bush does attract butterflies, and hummingbirds too. Native to China, the butterfly bush has over 100 species. It can grow five to 15 feet tall and has wide arching branches that hold mass flowers from midsummer through fall in vibrant colors such as blue/purple, pink, red, white and even yellow. This hardy shrub is a great landscaping plant for new gardeners, as it is virtually foolproof.

Step 1

Choose a planting location in your garden or landscaping that receives full sun for at least 4-6 hours a day. Butterfly bushes do best in full sun but can tolerate some light shade especially in hot summers. Plant in the spring after the last frost.

Step 2

Till the soil or break up with a rake. Mix in about 2-4 inches of compost before planting. Butterfly bushes grow especially well in fertile, well draining soil, but can also thrive in poor soils and drought conditions.

Step 3

Dig a hole twice as big as the root ball. Place the bush in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the ground's surface. Fill in with the soil, tamping the soil down lightly around the roots. If planting more than one bush, space 5-10 inches apart.

Step 4

Water your bush thoroughly after planting. While it's getting established, keep the soil moist, but do not let the water stand in pools. Infrequent watering (once a week or even less often) is all that your plant will need. Water a little more often during hot summers where the rainfall is less than 1 inch per year.

Step 5

Apply a layer of compost around the base of the bush. This holds in moisture and controls weeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertile soil
  • Compost


  • Taylor's Master Guide to Gardening Book; Houghton Mifflin Co.; 1994
  • National Gardening Association
Keywords: butterfly bush, planting shrubs, gardening

About this Author

Amy Madtson has been writing primarily childbirth-related articles for 15 years. Her experience includes teaching childbirth education and providing labor assistance since 1993, and her goal is to educate women about their options during the childbearing years. Madston's writings have appeared in both online sources and local area publications.