Butterfly bushes, also known as budleias, are stunning fast growing shrubs with big clumps of blooms that attract butterflies! These beautiful clumps of flowers bloom from summer to fall and come in a variety of colors, but do keep in mind that if you’re trying to attract butterflies, they do prefer the lavender/pink shades!

Also called summer lilacs, butterfly bushes are hardy to USDA zone 5 and will remain evergreen from zone 8 south. If you’re looking to learn how to plant butterfly bushes you’ve come to the right place! They’re easy to care for and only require dead-heading and some annual pruning.

How to Plant Butterfly Bushes:

butterfly bush

Before planting a butterfly bush, please keep in mind that they are actually an invasive species and also do not KEEP butterflies there – they only feed male butterflies and do not help with butterfly reproduction. Keep them contained by growing them in a raised bed and be sure to add butterfly attracting flowers (to make the butterflies reproduce and stay) such as asters, milkweed, and dill.

Planting Butterfly Bushes:

  • Plant the bushes in well drained soil and a site with full sun.
  • They can be planted early in the spring or in the fall before the first frost.
  • Start by loosing the soil and mixing in compost.
  • Dig a hole that’s twice the diameter of the plant container.
  • Be sure that the rootball is level with the soil surface.
  • Space each plant 5-10 feet apart and water thoroughly.

Caring for Butterfly Bushes:

budleia
  • During growth, water regularly. Once grown, water only sparingly and if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.
  • Do not fertilize a butterfly bush.
  • If you see any spent flowers, remove them immediately to encourage new growth.
  • Deadheading is super important once you start to see withering, so that the seeds don’t spread to the other plant and invade the garden.
  • In the spring, add a thin layer of compost and mulch to help retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing.
  • Every spring, cut the bushes back to the ground.
  • Prune severely to stimulate new and abundant growth.

So now that you know how to plant butterfly bushes, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting!

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How to Plant Butterfly Bushes