How to Grow Healthy Butterfly Plants


Butterfly plants are low maintenance shrubs that grow large quantities of flowers in the summer and fall. Depending on the variety (there are more than 100), flower colors include yellow, purple, blue, pink, white and red. The butterfly bush matures to a size of 5 to 10 feet tall and wide. The flowers' strong smell attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, making it a favorite among wildlife enthusiasts. Plant butterfly bushes in the spring or fall for best results.

Step 1

Choose a planting location that has well-drained, moist soil. The butterfly plant needs full sun for most of the day to thrive.

Step 2

Till the soil with a rototiller or garden hoe, depending on the size of the planting spot. Work the soil to a depth of 14 inches. Mix in compost to make a 50/50 combination.

Step 3

Dig a hole that is twice as wide but as deep as the nursery container the butterfly bush came in. Place the roots in the hole and make sure the top of the root mass, where the branches start to grow, sits even with the surrounding ground.

Step 4

Fill in around the roots with the soil and compost mixture. Tamp down gently to remove air pockets.

Step 5

Space the butterfly plants out 5 to 10 feet from each other. This gives them room to mature.

Step 6

Lay down 3 inches of mulch around the base of the butterfly plant. It will prevent weed growth and help retain soil moisture. Leave the top of the plant free of mulch so it can grow healthy.

Step 7

Water the butterfly plant thoroughly after planting. Hold off on watering it during the summer unless you get less than 1 inch of rainfall per week.

Step 8

Make the butterfly bush healthy by pruning it. Cut it down to just above the ground at the end of the season--just after the first hard frost. Cover it with mulch for protection. This will promote more flowers next season.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller or garden hoe
  • Compost
  • Plant
  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Water
  • Pruning shears


  • National Gardening Association: Butterfly Bush
  • Mountain Valley Growers: Butterfly Bushes
  • Butterfly Bush
Keywords: grow healthy butterfly bush, butterfly plant, butterfly bush

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.