How to take care of Butterfly Bush?

How to take care of Butterfly Bush?

With long and graceful wands of flowers, Butterfly Bush makes your garden more stunning and special. As a result, this flower is one of the most popular genuses with gardeners. Do you want to plant a Butterfly Bush? Do you know how to take care of Butterfly Bush? This article from will provide a step-by-step guide for caring for them.

What are the best conditions for growing Butterfly Bushes?

Based on the different conditions, Butterfly Bush can grow and bloom successfully to light up your landscape with colorful flowers. Therefore, the requirements are considered to be one of the most significant parts when taking care of Butterfly Bush. Here are some essential conditions you need to know. 

Butterfly Bushes

Butterfly Bush plant hardiness zone 

Butterfly Bushes, often known as summer lilacs, grow best in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 10.

When to plant?

Before learning how to take care of Butterfly Bush, you need to find out the proper time to plant them successfully. In the spring or fall is the best time to plant Buddleia. If you’re planting in the fall, make sure they’re in the ground before the first frost to give them time to grow a strong root system before the winter weather comes.

Where to plant?

Buddleias may be seen growing from bricks and quickly invading fallow areas, and they are considered invasive plants. To get the most out of them as garden plants, consider a sunny location to foster nectar-rich blossoms that will attract butterflies. Furthermore, because the height of the buds varies from 1 to 9 feet, it is important to select the appropriate cultivar for the location.

To get the most out of them as garden plants, consider a sunny location to foster nectar-rich blossoms that will attract butterflies.
To get the most out of them as garden plants, consider a sunny location to foster nectar-rich blossoms that will attract butterflies.


When planting and taking care of Butterfly Bushes, pay attention to the soil conditions. Any average, well-drained soil with average moisture levels can support this plant. Their roots are vulnerable to rotting, and they can be restricted or even die if they spend too much time in moist soil. 

Moreover, you can do a soil test to evaluate the pH level of the soil before planting the Butterfly Bush. The pH level for these bushes should be between 6.0 and 7.0, which is somewhat acidic and favored by most plants. Based on the results of a soil test, you can amend the soil with lime to increase the pH or sulfur to reduce it. Most plants are unsuitable for soil that is highly acidic, with a pH of 4.0 or below. 


Full light (at least 6 hours per day) is ideal for growing and flowering Butterfly Bushes. They will thrive in the shade, particularly in warmer climates, but blooming may be reduced. 

Full light (at least 6 hours per day) is ideal for growing and flowering Butterfly Bushes
Full light (at least 6 hours per day) is ideal for growing and flowering Butterfly Bushes


Butterfly Bushes are fast-growing plants that reach maturity in two years or less. Make sure the shrub’s planting location has enough space for it to grow to its maximum height and width. Plant stress and disease are worsened by crowded spacing and the conditions that come with it, such as insufficient air circulation and excessive humidity, to mention a few. The planting site should have a height clearance of about 10 feet and enough horizontal space for the Butterfly Bush to attain a mature width of around 8 feet for the best results.

Make sure the shrub's planting location has enough space for it to grow to its maximum height and width
Make sure the shrub’s planting location has enough space for it to grow to its maximum height and width

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature and humidity are the significant factors in taking care of Butterfly Bushes. It grows wild in northwest China and Japan, but because of its tolerance for both winter cold and summer heat, it is a low-maintenance option for many gardens. Due to the cold, it dies to the ground in USDA zones 5 and 6, but it regrows in the spring. In the meantime, it’s semi-evergreen in USDA zones 7 to 10 and grows larger since it doesn’t die to the ground every winter.  

The Butterfly Bush is semi-evergreen in the winter as long as temperatures do not fall below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, although they may withstand lower temperatures. Temperatures up to 90 degrees F are OK in the summer, but anything over that prevents new flower buds from growing. This implies that when summer temperatures rise, fewer flowers bloom, and spring and fall are the best seasons for blossoming in hot climes. 

The Butterfly Bush, while being cold-hardy, dies above ground when temperatures drop below freezing. 


When it comes to how to take care of Butterfly Bush, fertilizer plays an important role. The ideal soil for Butterfly Bushes is native garden soil. The shrub isn’t particular about soil pH, though it prefers a slightly acidic environment. To try to balance the soil’s nutrients or pH, it’s preferable not to alter it. Instead of driving even more rapid growth, adding a layer of compost at the time of planting or each spring can enhance nutrients slowly and gradually. In the second and following years of development, using a slow-release fertilizer on container-grown Butterfly Bushes can assist in maintaining the plant blossoming while not developing too quickly.

Fertilize Butterfly Bushes that have been cultivated in containers in the spring when new growth appears towards the base of the plant. It’s better not to fertilize again, and putting fertilizer on a hot day is a terrible idea. 

It will benefit Butterfly Bushes planted in pots more than those grown in the ground. Fertilizer may also be beneficial if your soil is poor. Choose a slow-release granular fertilizer or add a new layer of organic matter, such as compost, and water.  

This plant requires no fertilizer other than a thin layer of compost applied to the root zone each spring
This plant requires no fertilizer other than a thin layer of compost applied to the root zone each spring

How to take care of Butterfly Bush?

When it comes to Butterfly Bushes, gardeners are concerned about how to take care of Butterfly Bush. You may simply care for the Butterfly plant and obtain a beautiful outcome if you use the right methods. 

Taking care of Butterfly Bush in a pot

Try growing this Butterfly Bush plant in pots to provide a special surprise for butterflies in your garden. Here are some essential tips for taking care of Butterfly Bushes in pots

Choose the right size pot 

Choosing the right size pot is a method of taking care of Butterfly Bush. For a variety of reasons, selecting the appropriate pot size for your Butterfly Bush is important! The soil will dry out quickly and the roots will become pot-bound if you select a pot that is too small. Root rot occurs when pots are too big and kept moist for too long. We recommend putting your one-quart plant in an 8- to 9-inch-diameter container.  

Choose the right size pot 
Choose the right size pot for your Butterfly bush

Watering Butterfly Bushes in pots

Overwatering can harm butterfly plants since they don’t appreciate soggy roots. Despite this, when grown in a container, the low-water user requires more regular watering than when grown in the ground. Containers have a propensity towards drying out soon. Watering slowly and thoroughly, such as with a container drip system, is ideal. Avoid watering after rain, but give the shrub-especially a new one-a little additional water when the drought and heat are at their worst. 

Fertilizing Butterfly Bushes in Pots 

Butterfly Bushes aren’t pleased with it either. In most cases, Butterfly Bushes do not require fertilization. However, when grown in containers, they might benefit from an annual balanced feeding. Avoid using a high-nitrogen fertilizer since this might cause the shrub to grow too fast, weakening the stems.

Take care of Butterfly Bush after they grow

Give the Butterfly Bush about an inch of water every week while they’re actively growing. Give the plants extra fertilizer in the spring to ensure that they continue to blossom and stay healthy. You may also trim back the Butterfly Bushes. 

Add fertilizer for your Butterfly bush
Add fertilizer for your Butterfly bush

Take care of Butterfly Bush after bloom

Many gardeners worry about “how to take care of Butterfly Bush after bloom”. Reading on to answer this question. 

Late summer and fall are the best times to see Buddleia in flower. At the ends of the stems, long panicles of one-of-a-kind flowers appear. The aromatic blooms of the Butterfly Bush offer a honey-like scent. This attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, bees, and other beneficial insects, as well as moths, bees, and other beneficial insects.  

Therefore, you can remove the old flowers, keep the plant tidy, and stimulate fresh blooming. To deadhead the bloom, cut the stem back to the first set of leaves several inches below the blossom. To encourage your Butterfly Bush to bloom again, trim the wasted flower spikes down to the branch’s next blossom node.

How to water a Butterfly Bush?

When taking care of Butterfly Bush, you need to concentrate on their water requirements for them to provide enough water for their growth. Butterfly Bushes are drought resistant once grown. They will, however, require water to establish themselves. Soggy or damp soil on a regular basis might be an issue. 

How to water a Butterfly Bush?

At Planting Time

Soak the soil in the planting area, including the root ball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball right after planting. You may give your new Butterfly Bush an extra boost by watering it with a root stimulator solution to encourage early root formation and better root growth, decrease transplant shock, and produce greener, more robust plants. 

During the first active growth season

You shouldn’t have to water your newly planted Butterfly Bush every day if you have normal garden soil. This frequently results in soggy soil, which can result in root rot and other plant diseases. Water only as needed if there isn’t enough rain to keep the root ball and surrounding soil damp to moist. 

Planting Butterfly Bushes during the winter dormant season, when plants aren’t actively growing and evaporation is much slower, will require far less water. So, throughout the winter, be extra careful not to overwater! 


Butterfly Bushes are drought-resistant once established. Plants will only require extra watering during prolonged periods of summer drought. If you notice wilting leaves during a summer drought, it’s a sign that your plants may benefit from a thorough soak. 

How to keep your Butterfly Bush blooming? 

As for the Butterfly Bush care methods, you need to consider the following suggestions for encouraging your Butterfly Bush to blossom or rebloom.  

The blossoms of the Butterfly Bush will only grow on fresh wood. It will grow back to its full beauty with an occasional, thorough trim in early spring. New blossoms will not grow on previous year’s growth, so a cut in the early spring or late winter will shape the shrub and encourage new growth.

When it comes to attracting fresh flowers on the Butterfly Bush, deadheading works wonders. It starts to look a little sad when the blooms start to appear dry and a little wilted, and you may give the shrub a chance to push out another set of blooms by deadheading thoroughly. Pinch slightly below the faded bloom, taking care not to pinch off any emerging buds.

In addition, make sure your plant is getting all of the sun, soil, and water it needs. If your Butterfly Bush isn’t flowering, it might be stressed due to poor growing conditions or overfertilized with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Check the soil to make sure it’s wet but not waterlogged, and double-check the nursery tags to make sure it’s getting enough sun.

How to take care of Butterfly Bush in the winter? 

Butterfly Bush in the winter
Butterfly Bush in the winter

To survive the winter, the plant loses its leaves and goes dormant. There are a few things you can do to get your Butterfly Bush ready for the winter. 

If nighttime temperatures are expected to drop below -20 degrees, cover the shrub with a light blanket and remove the blanket as soon as the temperature rises. Butterfly Bushes are usually unaffected by snow. Because the shrub blooms on fresh wood, if one of the branches breaks, simply cut it cleanly. 

If nighttime temperatures are expected to drop below -20 degrees, cover the shrub with a light blanket and remove the blanket as soon as the temperature rises
Cover the shrub with a light blanket if the weather is cold

Cutting back Butterfly Bush for winter

The leaves of most Butterfly Bushes fall off in late autumn, but the roots of the plant survive the winter. That implies you don’t need to cut your Butterfly Bush before winter in most growth zones. Pruning too late in the season, in fact, may make it more vulnerable to damage. If possible, leave the bare stems during the winter, allowing birds to settle on them near your winter bird feeder. If you don’t want the care stems in your landscape, you may cut your Butterfly Bushes sooner if you reside in the warmer zones. 

It's is necessary to prune Butterfly Bush in the winter
It’s is necessary to prune Butterfly Bush in the winter

Watering Butterfly Bush in winter

Reduce watering in the fall; the plant does not like to sit in wet, chilly soil, which can lead to root rot. Water the plant gently and deeply in the morning on a sunny winter day if there has been no snow or other winter precipitation for a month or so. Until new growth starts in the spring, there is no need to water more often. 

How to take care of Butterfly Bush in a pot in winter? 

If you’re growing Butterfly Bushes in a container, keep in mind that the temperature around the roots in the container is colder than in the ground. As a result, increase the lowest winter temperature your variety can tolerate by 5 to 10 degrees and relocate the plant to a garage or other protected place. You may also insulate the outside of the container or relocate it to a warmer location, such as against a south-facing wall. 

Taking care of Butterfly Bush indoors in winter

In places colder than zone 5, pull the shrub from the ground in late summer or early fall and plant it in a container with potting mix to overwinter. Water it consistently throughout the transfer to the pot, then gradually reduce watering until the first frost. In the winter, water it only once or twice a month to allow it to fall dormant.

Butterfly Bush Troubleshooting

The Butterfly Bush thrives in a wide range of soil types and climatic conditions, with few problems. Neglect and drought are its worst enemies, both of which can stress the plant and cause additional difficulties. 

Few or No Blooms

Under the right conditions, a healthy Butterfly Bush may produce a profusion of beautiful blossoms. Water is required by the shrub to create blossoms, especially at the start of the growth season. Pruning mistakes or inadequate pruning are two of the most common reasons for a lack of flowers. 

Wilting Butterfly Leaves

The Butterfly Bush is suffering from a lack of water if the wilting leaves are shriveled and discolored. Water is required throughout the Butterfly Bush’s growth season in early spring, as well as during dry periods throughout the season. Herbicide toxicity is evident if the wilting leaves are shriveled and green. 

As a result, heavy rain or watering the grass might cause herbicide put on the lawn or somewhere else in the garden to move to the bush. During the growing season, avoid using herbicides near the garden and keep the shrub well watered. Avoid watering during the winter or when there is a lot of rain to avoid root rot. 

Excessive and Untamed Growth

If left to its own devices, the Butterfly Bush can form dense, unappealing thickets. Hard trimming once a year might help keep the plant under control. However, in certain gardens, it may crowd out natural plants and grow dense thickets. Every spring, remove little suckers that develop near the primary plant to keep it from spreading. Prune at least one-third of the plants down to the stems after the blooming season, leaving 3 to 4 inches of stalk above the soil. 

Butterfly Bush Wilting?

Wilting of the Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii) is not a common problem with this plant. Therefore, you need to figure out the causes and take care of Butterfly Bush following the proper methods.

Wilting is a late symptom of severe dehydration or water transport problems, and it usually happens when the plant requires more water. will take a closer look at the different causes of Butterfly Bush wilting and appropriate solutions. 

Butterfly Bush Wilting

Diseases of the Root System

Overwatering or compacted soil are the most common causes of these problems, which can be difficult to identify when you are taking care of Butterfly Bush. A root infection can develop simply as a result of poor luck—a fungus called Rhizoctonia (which can be advantageous to some plants) may invade the plant’s root system and siphon up too many nutrients. This can cause leaf withering and yellowing. 

Repotting is a good solution since it breaks up the fungus’s fungal networks, which require a long time to recover.


Overwatering can deprive the roots of oxygen for a brief period of time, causing withering. It can, however, set off a chain reaction that leads to serious root rot. This is dependent on your climate and soil quality; certain soils and locations are more resistant to this phenomenon than others. Yellowing, dropping leaves, and wilting are signs of long-term overwatering, which gets worse over time.

As a result, you need to water less frequently. And you can repot and clean root for Butterfly Bushes.


It’s extremely unusual for wilting to be the only symptom of a nutritional deficiency in otherwise healthy plants. Applying too much fertilizer, on the other hand, may raise the osmotic potential in the root zone to the point that the roots are unable to absorb water. 

Lack of light

Overall growth is hampered by a lack of light. The plant regulates its size and height depending on a variety of factors, one of which being the amount of light available. When large, happy plants are suddenly starved of light after being relocated to a shady location, they may suffer from an energy shortage and be unable to pump enough water to their highest stems. This might take the form of withering. 

Therefore, you need to avoid strong light. Because of the heat it produces, the withering may become even worse. 

Early morning frost damage

The woody stems of large Butterfly Bushes are moderately cold resistant. Early morning temperature drops, on the other hand, may cause thawing damage to young plants with delicate stems. This issue usually arises in the early spring or late autumn. 

Butterfly Bush Pests and Diseases

When taking care of Butterfly Bushes, you can face some difficulties, such as pests and diseases, which can have a big influence on their growth process. Here are some common pests and diseases of Buddleia.


Spider mites

Butterfly Bushes are particularly vulnerable to spider mites when they are drought-stressed. The orange or yellow-green mites can sometimes be seen moving on your Butterfly Bush, but they usually settle on the undersides of leaves and are too small to observe. To evict mites, look for yellow pinpricks where they’ve been eating or gently shake the bush’s branches.

To avoid fungal diseases, you eliminate them with a powerful spray of water early in the day, allowing the plant to dry before dark. Spider mites like to hide on the undersides of leaves, so keep an eye out for them. 


Aphids are a common garden pest that suckers sap from plants and causes the leaves to curl, but they also attract other pests. As a result of feeding on plant sap, it produces honeydew on the leaves. The sticky, tasty liquid attracts ants and other small insects, wilting the plant even more. 

After removing the old plant, spray acephate directly on the plants. A single application may make a significant difference. 

Aphids on Butterfly Bush
Aphids on Butterfly Bush


One of the rare probable nematode hosts is Butterfly Bushes. These tiny roundworms consume the roots of Butterfly Bushes and thrive in damp soil. 

Although nematode control is difficult, constant mulching and fertilization of the Butterfly Bush may keep it healthy despite nematode damage. To minimize additional stress and to enhance the general health and look of the damaged plant, keep it regularly nourished and hydrated.


Because Buddleia plants attract butterflies, you won’t be able to avoid seeing caterpillars eating the leaves. The caterpillars consume the leaves, altering the plant’s appearance but causing no irreversible damage. It is sufficient to remove them by hand or to drive them out of the plant with a pipe. Alternatively, you might use a pesticide to spray the area.  

Caterpillars on Butterfly Bush
Caterpillars on Butterfly Bush


Buddleia leaf weevils lay their eggs on the leaves, which are completely safe until the grubs emerge. The leaves become discolored and eventually die as a result of these microscopic grubs. A plant with damaged leaves can’t generate food, thus weakening it. Although it is impossible to protect your plants from all pests and illnesses, you may try to avoid infections, particularly diseases. Your Buddleia will thrive and attract a large number of butterflies to your yard if you plant it correctly. 

Japanese beetles

Japanese beetles are voracious leaf eaters who wreak havoc on plants’ appearance. Unlike caterpillars, they consume the entire leaf and leave behind a skeleton look. These insects, like the others, are not hazardous in small numbers, but if the population rises, Pyrethrin pesticides will aid in their control. 


Finding diseases as soon as possible, you can take care of Butterfly Bush properly and carefully to treat them. Because fungi cause the majority of Buddleia diseases, moisture control is critical to avoid issues like root rot and downy mildew. 

Downy mildew

In cool, moist weather, fungus can become a concern for Butterfly Bushes. Peronospora hariotii is one such fungus that can cause downy mildew. 

To avoid spreading the mildew, prune the affected parts of the Butterfly Bush, cleaning your pruning tools with each cut. Water the Butterfly Bush in the morning and let it dry before dark to keep it from returning. 

Downy mildew
Downy mildew

Root rot

Root rot is a death sentence for most plants because it affects the roots. It is caused by the water molds Phytophthora and Rhizoctonia, both of which damage the plant slowly. These bacteria flourish in wet soils, and there are no effective chemical therapies for the condition that I’m aware of. Yellowing and finally falling leaves are visible symptoms. Root rot may be avoided by using well-drained soil, which most plants have, and avoiding overwatering. 

Root rot
Root rot

Ringspot virus

The Ringspot virus weakens any plant that it infects, and it is becoming more common in the United States, where it is still uncommon. The virus causes leaf mottling and browning, as well as spots on the leaves. If the infection spreads to the rest of the plant, it may result in stunted growth. 

Q & A

How to revive a Butterfly Bush?

The failure of butterfly plants to leaf out in the spring is a familiar complaint, but it isn’t always a portent of impending disaster. Just because they made it through the winter doesn’t imply they’ll be able to bounce back, especially if the weather has been extremely terrible. 

There are several tests you may conduct to see whether your Butterfly Bush is still alive if it isn’t coming back when you think it should. 

Scrape a stem with a fingernail or a sharp knife to expose green underneath; if this reveals green, the stem is still alive.

If a stem is scraped with a fingernail or a sharp knife to expose green underneath, the stem is still alive.

And If you see dead growth on your Butterfly Bush late in the spring, trim it away. Only live stems can produce new growth, therefore this should stimulate it to begin growing. However, don’t do it too soon. After this sort of trimming, a hard frost can destroy all of the good live wood you’ve just exposed. 

Are Butterfly Bushes poisonous?

Butterfly Bushes (Buddleja davidii) aren’t edible, but they’re no more poisonous than any other garden plant. Planting them in areas where children, dogs, cats, and other animals reside should be safe. Butterfly plants, in fact, are resistant to deer. Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to them, and they feed them nectar. 

Butterfly Bushes aren’t harmful to humans. Allowing children to eat the leaves or blooms of a shrub is still not recommended.

How long do Butterfly Bushes last?

Its popularity comes from the fact that the plant grows quickly, blossoms early in its life cycle, and produces flowers for up to 30 years. The blooms have a pleasant scent and are quite spectacular and attractive, blooming in enormous clusters for several days. 

Final Thoughts

This article from provided all the information about taking care of Butterfly Bush. Hopefully, through it, you will have the opportunity to plant and care for these flowers successfully. With colorful flowers, Butterfly Bushes will become a stunning addition to your garden. Thank you for reading! 

Related posts:
How do you propagate Buddleia from cutting?
Gardening guides: Methods for planting Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Methods for Angel Wing Begonia care from gardening experts
All about varieties of Butterfly Bushes: based on family, climate conditions and colors

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.