How to Plant a Bareroot Butterfly Bush


When you add a butterfly bush to a sunny garden spot, you will have a beautiful shrub that will bloom reliably and prolifically year after year. With minimal care, butterfly bushes grow enthusiastically to produce colorful blooms that slightly resemble lilac blooms. Plant a bare root butterfly bush in the spring to establish a new butterfly bush in your home landscape.

Step 1

Remove the butterfly bush from the packaging and shake it gently to loosen the roots. Examine the roots for decayed or damaged areas, and trim away these parts of the roots with the pruning shears.

Step 2

Fill a bucket with warm water. Place the bush into the bucket, and soak it for approximately one hour.

Step 3

Dig a hole for the bush. Dig a square hole between 18 and 24 inches deep and wide. If you are planting more than one butterfly bush, space the holes between 5 and 10 feet apart.

Step 4

Add 4 inches of compost to the bottom of the hole, and mix the compost with the soil in the bottom of the hole.

Step 5

Remove the butterfly bush from the bucket, and place it directly into the prepared hole. Hold the bush so the crown of the plant is at the same level as the surrounding soil. Add the soil you removed from the hole back into the hole to fill in the area around the roots. Continue filling the hole until you have firmly packed the soil.

Step 6

Water the newly planted bush to saturate the soil completely around the roots. Keep the bush evenly watered during the first month after planting to ensure that the plant establishes properly in the soil. After one month, water the bush only if less than 1 inch of rain falls within a one-week period.

Step 7

Add up to 4 inches of mulch to the soil around the butterfly bush to keep the soil moist and prevent weeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Large bucket
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Shredded mulch (wood chips or bark)


  • Nature Hills: Bare Root Plants
  • National Gardening Association: Butterfly Bushes
Keywords: butterfly bush care, butterfly bush grow, bare root butterfly bush

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.