Butterfly Bush: Plants, care and tips – Floralelle

Butterfly Bush



Butterfly Bush (Buddleja) is a genus in the family of the brown-root family (Scrophlariacae). They grow as deciduous, winter or evergreen half shrubs or shrubs, more rarely than trees. Butterfly Bush are common in the tropical and subtropical regions of America, Africa and Asia. There are about 100 species worldwide, which grow mainly in sunny and hot locations on sometimes very dry and barren soils. O


Appearance and growth
The species Buddleja davidii, also known as Butterfly Bush, is particularly interesting from a horticultural point of view. It is available in numerous breeding forms, the so-called Davidii hybrids with different flower colours and growth heights. Depending on the variety, they grow broadly upright or stocky and form a loose, funnel-shaped crown with strong main shoots and loose lateral branches, the tips of which often overhang slightly under the weight of the flowers. The largest varieties grow up to four metres high, the smallest about 1.50 metres. Its bark is light brown and its narrow, elongated leaves are opposite and lanceolate. They are grey-green and have grey-felt undersides. In mild winters, last year’s leaves often stick to the shoots to a large extent, only in stronger frosts do the leaves die off and fall to the ground. The large oblong flower panicles stand at the ends of this year’s main and side shoots. They open in July and often bloom until the first frost. The varieties flower white, light pink, pinkish red and purple to dark purple.

Less well known are the frost-sensitive spherical Butterfly Bush (Buddleja globosa) and the yellow flowering and somewhat more robust Butterfly Bush (Buddleja x weyeriana), a garden hybrid. In addition, there is the winter-hardy alternate-leaved Butterfly Bush (Buddleja alternifolia), that has however only little similarity with the other types optically, however. It grows strongly overhanging and its purple flowers appear in June in small clusters in the leaf axils of last year’s shoots. In contrast to the butterfly bush, the narrow, elongated leaves are alternate and, as the name suggests, the butterfly bush is a real butterfly magnet in the garden. Colourful butterflies such as the Little Fox and the Peacock Eye are magically attracted by its nectar-rich, fragrant flowers. At the same time, however, the plant is also a neophyte, which means that it spreads further and further in nature. It is particularly dominant in dry locations: Railway embankments and industrial wastelands in inner-city areas are often densely overgrown with summer lilac.

The butterfly bush is suitable for single planting and group planting in warm full sun perennial and summer flower beds. The undemanding shrub, however, also copes well on dry slopes on gravelly soils. Late summer Butterfly Bush beds are particularly beautiful, in which the shrub is combined with high-fat stonecrop, asters and other shrubs popular with butterflies. Due to its Mediterranean appearance, the Butterfly Bush also fits well into Mediterranean gardens.

The yellow summer bush is only suitable for outdoor planting in very mild regions and the spherical summer bush does not have sufficient winter hardiness for the Central European climate. However, both shrubs can be cultivated well in tubs. They need a permeable substrate that is not too rich in humus and can survive a few days without watering. Like the butterfly bush, the summer bush can be used as a solitary shrub or for group planting. However, it also cuts a good figure in loose, free-growing flower hedges, provided it is not overshadowed by other woody plants.

The butterfly bush should be severely pruned in spring because it blooms exclusively on the new wood. It is sufficient to leave only two to four buds from last year’s flowering shoots. It then forms particularly strong new shoots with large inflorescences. The alternate-leaved summer flieder, on the other hand, should only be thinned out and not completely cut back, as it blooms on last year’s shoot. If you want to prevent the butterfly song from sowing itself, you should cut off the wilted inflorescences continuously in late summer.

Winter protection or hibernation
The yellow summer lilac is protected in autumn in the root area with a thick layer of leaves. If necessary, cut back the shoots slightly and then wrap the crown in a winter fleece. The spherical summer lilac hibernates best in a dark, cool cellar room.

All Butterfly Bushes can easily be propagated by cuttings or cuttings. It also sows itself on loose, permeable soils, but the offspring are not varietal and usually have the purple flowers of the wild species.

Diseases and pests
All species of the summer song are very robust and are rarely attacked by diseases or pests. In warm, air-dry locations, spider mites may occasionally occur, in humid summers also downy mildew.


Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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