Love the butterfly bush? Try this cute, smaller cousin | San Luis Obispo Tribune

The dwarf butterfly bush serves as a magnet for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds with its sweet nectar and dense, spike-like lavender flowers. Kathy Keatley Garvey UC Davis

Dwarf butterfly bush

Buddleia davidii

Planting areas: Zones 6, 7, 8 and 9

Size: 3 to 5 feet tall, 3 to 4 feet wide

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Bloom season: Early summer to late fall

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Pruning needs: Remove spent flowers to prolong bloom. Cut back canes in late winter to promote fuller new spring growth.

Water needs: Medium to low; drought tolerant once established.

Snapshot: As its name indicates, the dwarf butterfly bush is a miniature version of its much larger cousins, which can tower 10 to 12 feet.

Like its full-sized counterpart, this compact perennial not only fits beautifully into small suburban landscapes but also serves as a magnet for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. They’re attracted to the dwarf butterfly bush’s sweet nectar and dense, spike-like lavender flowers.

Although commonly called “butterfly bush,” buddleia varieties should not be confused with milkweed and butterfly weed, which are both members of the asclepias family. Milkweeds are the only plants that monarch butterfly larvae can eat, and therefore are critical to the species’ survival.

Got a gardening question?

In San Luis Obispo, call 805-781-5939; Arroyo Grande, 805-473-7190, and Templeton, 805-434-4105. Visit us at or email us at [email protected] Follow us on Instagram at slo_mgs and like us on Facebook. Informative garden workshops are held the third Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. to noon at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo. Garden docents are available after the workshop until 1 p.m. To request a tour of the garden, call 805-781-5939.

‘Black Knight’ Butterfly Bush

Buddleia davidii Butterfly Bush ‘Black Knight’ Deep Purple 6′ – 8′. Deciduous shrub with fragrant purple flowers and silvery foliage. Tolerates clay soil, rabbit resistant. ‘Black Knight’ butterfly bush displays valuable summer and early fall flowers when few other shrubs are in bloom. Best when grown in mass border plantings in borders, cottage gardens or butterfly gardens. ‘Black Knight’ is not often used as single specimen shrub. Highly attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds and pollinators.

‘Blue Chip’ Dwarf

Buddleia Butterfly Bush ‘Blue Chip’ Dwarf Blue Purple 2′ – 3′. A Proven Winners plant. A new introduction, finally a compact size butterfly bush for small space gardens. ‘Blue Chip’ will bloom continuously from mid summer to frost, providing a landscape with constant color. Flowers are a rich blue purple and ‘Blue Chip’ needs no deadheading. Simply trim in spring. This butterfly bush is a great size to use for container gardening and will attract hummingbirds, pollinators and butterflies to your yard. Lightly fragrant.

Buzz ‘Magenta Improved’ Dwarf

Buddleia Butterfly Bush Buzz ‘Magenta Improved’ 3′ -5′. Intense magenta to hot pink blossoms which will attract pollinators and butterflies to your garden. The compact nature of Buzz ‘Magenta Improved’ make is a best pick for small spaces, walkway edges and container gardening.

‘Lilac Chip’ Dwarf

Buddleia Butterfly Bush ‘Lilac Chip’. A Proven Winners shrub. Soft lavender pink blossoms have a light fragrance and will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard. Reblooms all summer long until frost. Dwarf size at 2′ – 3′.

‘Miss Molly’ Dwarf

Buddleia Butterfly Bush ‘Miss Molly’. Dwarf Pink 4′ -5′. A Proven Winners plant. Fragrant flowers are a fuchsia pink to red and bloom constantly from mid summer until the first frost. ‘Miss Molly’ has a more compact size than butterfly bushes of the past, making it a best pick for along a walk or as an accent shrub in a perennial bed. ‘Miss Molly’ is self cleaning, no need to cut back spent flowers! Suitable for container gardening and to mix in short, informal hedges.

‘Pink Micro Chip’ Dwarf

Buddleia Butterfly Bush ‘Pink Micro Chip’. A Proven Winners shrub. Fragrant pink flowers repeat bloom during the summer and continue until frost. Small size at 2′, great for a border or front of the perennial bed planting.

Butterfly bush varieties for sale in our plant nursery garden center are subject to change.


Buddleia Tricolour Butterfly Bush Mixed Colours

Buddleia Tricolour is a unique mix of three beautiful Buddleia Butterfly Bushes in a single pot. It is a deciduous shrub that flowers in spring and summer with stunning blooms in cone-shaped clusters. This tricolour mix will produce pink, purple and white flowers that attract bees and butterflies. Their fragrant honey scent lures even hummingbirds. Buddleia Tricolour is one single exceptional specimen that will make your garden look special and attractive.

Three Buddleia are grown in a pot right from the seed stage, so that the roots entangle with time and the result is a fully-grown Buddleia with astonishing multi-colours. It is an easy to grow hardy flowering shrub, featuring narrow green leaves on arching branches. Their perfect compact and rounded growth habit makes them suitable near pool area or patio.

Buddleia bush will thrive in a well-drained soil and their flowering performance is exponential when planted in full sunlight. Add a layer of organic mulch to the base of the plant to keep the roots cool and moist. Once it grows to a height of 2 metres, you will have an excellent fountain of flowers in three colours, every season.

Pruning Buddleia is easy, in fact removing the faded flowers will enhance the blooming process. These are hardy plants able to withstand cold temperatures, provided they are protected from cold winds. They require relatively low maintenance and in return they will illuminate your garden with stunning flowers.

Buddleia Tricolour is suitable as flower borders in a wildlife garden. Use it as a single specimen in a large container or group them together to create a brilliant colourful display.

How To Plant, Grow And Care For A Buddleia Butterfly Bush

If you’re looking for a flowering shrub or bush to transform your outside space this summer, look no further than the beautiful buddleia bush.

Known for their butterfly-attracting qualities, a buddleia bush will bring both beauty and wildlife to any outdoor space. If you’re looking to plant and grow your own buddleia bush, you’ve come to the right place. Join us here at Gardeners Dream as we talk all things ‘butterfly bush’, from how and when to plant them through to top care tips.

What is a buddleia plant?

Officially named the ‘Buddleia Davidii’ but more casually referred to as a ‘butterfly bush’, the buddleia is a flowering bush which displays floral ‘lance’ shaped clusters. The plant is available in shades of white, yellow, pink, red, blue and purple, and gives off a sweet smell which attracts both birds and pollinators including bees and butterflies.

The buddleia often grows to at least 6 foot, but can grow up to around 10 foot tall and boast an equal width. Being large in size, colourful and fragrant, the buddleia is a great choice for those wanting to attract wildlife while bringing beauty to their garden.

When does a buddleia flower?

The buddleia is a perennial, semi-evergreen plant, meaning once it has flowered, it only loses its foliage for a very short period of the year. The flowers of a buddleia appear in early summer through into autumn, and their fast growing speed makes them the perfect choice for those wanting a quick and easy injection of life and colour.

When to plant buddleia

It’s best to plant Buddleias in late autumn or early spring. Buddleias can withstand a variety of conditions, making them the ideal choice for those looking for a low effort plant. The buddleia requires loose soil that is well-drained, meaning it is best planted in late autumn or early spring before the ground is frosty. A buddleia can, however, withstand a winter; it will simply begin to regrow when the sun returns.

When planting your buddleia, bear in mind the size of the fully grown bush and ensure you leave plenty of space for the plant to grow to its full potential.

How to grow buddleia

As previously mentioned, ensure you have plenty of space and loose, well-drained soil before planting your buddleia. Buddleias will grow well of their own accord so you don’t need fertiliser, but a good compost when planting will be an advantage.

Once you’ve planted your buddleia, water it well and continue to water while the plant grows. However, do not over soak the soil and, once the buddleia plant is fully grown, water it sparingly. A butterfly bush does not need much moisture, and too much water can actually be detrimental to the plant.

When to prune buddleia

A butterfly bush can grow to over 10 foot and can begin to spread throughout the garden, so trim as and when needed. The buddleia should be fully pruned at least once yearly, ideally in early spring once the chance of frost has passed. March is often ideal, but bear in mind the weather in your location. If there looks to be a chance of extremely cold weather hold off on pruning, as the frost may harm the new growths.

When pruning your butterfly bush, you should cut each branch back close to the ground, leaving stems of around a foot in length. Even if your plants existing branches don’t appear to be damaged, a buddleia can easily become overcrowded, and this high level of pruning is what allows the beautiful new flowers space to grow come summer.

Following this intense spring pruning, you should continue to monitor your buddleia throughout the year. Any old or dead blooms should be deadheaded immediately.

How To Propagate Butterfly Bushes From Cuttings, Seeds and Root Division

If you want endless blooms summer through fall, consider growing butterfly bush. This attractive shrub can be easily propagated by seeds, cuttings, and division. Best of all, butterflies love it, so you’ll be welcoming these important pollinators to the garden. Keep reading to learn how to propagate butterfly bushes.

How to Propagate Butterfly Bushes from Seed

One method for propagating butterfly bush is by growing seeds. You can grow butterfly bushes from seed, but it’s usually quicker and easier to propagate butterfly bush cuttings. Seeds need to be pre-chilled for up to four weeks prior to planting.

Since butterfly bush seeds require plenty of light to germinate, the seeds only need to be lightly covered with soil. Once sown,

keep the seeds moist. They should germinate sometime within a few months so be patient.

Propagating Butterfly Bush Cuttings

Can you root a butterfly bush? Yes. In fact, one of the easiest ways to propagate this plant is from butterfly bush cuttings. Simply take branch tip cuttings in spring or summer. Make cuttings at least 3 inches (7.5 cm.) long and remove the bottommost leaves. (Note: Pinching off the tip of cuttings will also promote bushier plants) As with most cuttings, making an angled cut will allow for better nutrient absorption and make rooting easier.

If desired, dip the end in rooting hormone and then stick into moist, peaty sand or potting soil. Place in a shady but well-lit area, keeping it warm and moist. Hardwood cuttings can be taken in fall and treated the same way. You should begin to notice root development on your butterfly bush cuttings within a few weeks.

Propagating Butterfly Bush by Division

Butterfly bush can also be propagated through division of its roots. This can be done in spring or fall, depending on where you live and personal preference. Carefully dig up mature butterfly bushes and remove excess soil. Then either separate the roots by hand or use a spade shovel to divide the plants. You can transplant these into containers or place them in other suitable areas of the landscape.

Looking for advice on how to plant Buddleia this spring? Through this informative guide, we will share all our best knowledge and tips on the planting, arrangement and aftercare for your Buddleia shrubs. When it is covered in butterflies, no other garden plant brings so much pleasure on a summer’s day!

Buddleia, also known as Butterfly Bush, is one of Britain’s most popular summer flowering shrubs. Buddleia comes from Asia and there are more than 100 species that have spread from northern India, China and South Africa to Central and South America, largely after being introduced by the great plant hunters around the beginning of the 20th century.


Buddleia are superb additions to the garden for attracting wildlife with butterflies and bees being big fans of this shrub. Known for their burst of colour and their distinct tubular fragrant flowers, this vigorous, deciduous shrub is the perfect choice for summer blooms. Here are our guides to planting out in the garden and in containers for easy planting this spring.

In the Garden

Great for long-term borders/rockeries. They perform best when planted in full sun (or at least in partial shade) and in fertile, well-drained soil. Dependent on the variety, plant around 5 to 10 feet apart for a gorgeous display. Plant Buddleia in Spring or in Autumn before the first frosts and water thoroughly after planting.

Buddleia Mixed (Hardy)


  • When planting, loosen the soil and mix in compost and dig a hole twice the diameter of the plant container.
  • They will not perform well if grown in soil that tends to retain a lot of water in the winter.
  • Do not plant under trees.

In Containers

Use a pot deep enough to contain the roots and heavy enough to weigh the plant down. Make sure the pot has a good amount of drainage holes to allow the roots to breathe. Place the pot in full sunlight and water regularly. Cut the plant back around 10-12 inches in late winter or early spring.

Our Tips

  • Whisky Barrels make great planters
  • Avoid garden soil which becomes heavy/compact in containers.
  • Dwarf varieties like our Minature Collection are the best choice for pots and containers.

Video Tutorial

In this gardening tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff demonstrates how to plant Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) for summer flowering and shares his tips and tricks for getting the best results out of these beautiful shrubs.


  • When in bloom, you can snip their stems for honey scented cut flower bouquets.
  • Buddleia can be pruned hard after flowering, and you should cut shoots back to strong buds/younger growth.
  • We recommend reducing plants by half in Autumn when they are grown in windy positions.
  • Removing the dead blooms and watering the plants in very dry conditions will bring butterflies flocking to your Buddleia plants.
  • You can take softwood cutting in late spring just as the stems begin to harden up a little.

Our Top Picks

Flower Power

This magical hybrid showcases a mix between the usual blue-purple varieties along with a yellow flowered species. This plant’s gorgeous spikes of flowers blend perfectly from purple to orange for a sensational display of multi-coloured shades and sweet scent to radiate your summer garden.

Buddleia White Swan

The stunning fragrant white flowers are displayed on strong arching branches that are amazing for attracting wildlife in to the garden. Ideal for brightening your summer gardens in patio pots and containers.

Buddleia Purple Lion

Purple Lion is a stunning, fragrant dwarf variety of Buddleia. This compact plant bears large purple flower spikes along with attractive silver-green foliage making Purple Lion the perfect long term addition to borders/rockeries and patio pots.

Companion Plants

The green foliage of Lantanas are topped with clusters of tiny, vibrant little flowers that are superb plants for attracting birds, butterflies and bees to the garden, making them a perfect pollinator companion for Buddleias.

Lantana Esperanta White

This variety is the perfect colour complimenting partner for white and purple Buddleias. These snow white, compactly formed flowers with bright yellow centers are an ideal plant for filling your landscape as ground cover or in containers to bring the wildlife swarming to your beautiful pollinator friendly garden.

Lantana Esperanta Yellow

The cheerful sunny yellow blooms of this Lantana variety are bound to become a showstopper in your garden when planted alongside purple Buddleia for a stunning contrast of colour.


A border of Asters creates a truly unforgettable spectacle. Combine with Buddleia for a truly delightful show of colour. They are bound to liven up your garden as Asters are great pollinator attracting plants with their bright colours and nectar rich, wide open blooms.

Aster Alpinus Dark Beauty

These vibrant violet blue, daisy-like flowers with their sunny yellow centers are the perfect partner to a white or purple Buddleia for a bold cluster of vibrant colour to the summer garden.

Aster Alpinus Pinkie

This vivid pink variety of these tough, sun-loving perennial plants are a great easy to grow pairing with Buddleia. Their cheerful ornamental cluster of flowers will certainly bring a pop of colour to summer rock gardens, borders and pots.

Buddleia Plant Care: How to Plant, Grow and Prune the Butterfly Bush

Over recent years the Buddleia plant has become a favourite amongst gardeners.

In this guide, we take an in-depth look at Buddleia, or as it’s otherwise known, the Butterfly Bush.

Table of Contents

What is Buddleia?

The Buddleia plant is commonly known as the ‘Butterfly Bush’ because of its ability to attract butterflies into your garden (as well as other beneficial pollinators).

There are over 140 species of the plant but Buddleja davidii is the most common in gardens across the UK.


Like many plants in the UK today, Buddleia is not native to the UK.

It came from central and south-west China and was introduced into the UK as an ornamental plant in 1896. It was first recorded in the wild in 1922.

Today, you’ll see them dominating railway landscapes and nearly any type of waste ground.


The Buddleia tree is a hardy, medium to large perennial shrub with long, arching woody branches.

It has lance-shaped leaves which are a deep, green colour. It produces flowers on cone-shaped heads, usually in August.

These flowers smell like honey and contain a lot of nectar which attracts 22 different species of Butterfly.

This is why Buddleia is affectionately known as the Butterfly Bush. Depending on the species, the size of the plant and the colour of the flowers differ.

Preferred Habitat

Buddleias grow in a variety of conditions.

In the wild, you’ll see them in rocky areas, on wastelands and along railway lines where they get lots of sun.

They don’t grow well in soils that retain a lot of moisture and prefer free draining slightly alkaline soils.

Where to Buy Buddleia Plants

You can buy Buddleia plants from most garden centres and even online.

These are my 2 favourite suppliers:


Suttons have been selling plants since 1806 and were awarded the Royal warrant in 1858 after supplying Queen Victoria seeds to the royal household.

They have been one of the most trusted suppliers of plants and seeds ever since.

View Their Buddleias

Thompson & Morgan

Another one of my favourite Buddleia suppliers.

Thompson & Morgan is another, well-trusted supplier of plants.

I especially like their range of patio plants called ‘Buddleia Buzz’. They’re a compact version of the Buddleia plant designed for patios.

View Their Buddleias

Planting Buddleia

Planting Buddleia is easy but in order for it to grow and flower to its fullest potential, you must understand where, when and how to plant it.

When to Plant Buddleia

Wait until daytime temperatures are at least 10 degrees Celsius and nighttime temperatures are no lower than zero.

Late spring is the best time for planting as the soil will have started to warm up.

If you’ve got a fairly mature plant that you want to transfer to a garden border, it can be left as late as August.

Where to Plant Buddleia

Like I said earlier, Buddleias grow best in areas that get lots of sun. You’ll see them on rocky wastelands and along railway lines.

They grow well in most soil types as long as they’re free-draining, although they do prefer average to fertile soils that have a slightly alkaline pH.

They don’t fair well in soils that retain water.

Consider this when choosing a spot in your garden for planting. Make sure the area gets lots of sun and consider adding some lime to your soil if it’s on the acidic side.

How to Plant a Buddleia Tree

Planting Buddleia is simple enough.

Depending on your garden and personal preferences, you can either plant them directly into your borders or in a pot of some description.

Outdoor Beds

  • If you’re planting several shrubs, make sure you space them between 5ft-10ft apart, depending on the variety.
  • Loosen the soil, mix in some general purpose compost and dig a hole, twice the diameter of the plant’s container (I really like Canna Terra Professional Soil Mix).
  • When placing the plant in the hole, make sure the top of the root ball is level with the surface of the soil. If it’s higher, the soil can dry out. If it’s lower the area could puddle.
  • Backfill the hole with the soil you dug out.
  • After planting, keep the shrubs well watered to settle the soil until they’re established. Around 1-1.5 inches a week is all they need. If there is rain forecast, you’ll not need to water.

Pots, Barrels or Urns

  • Choose a pot with adequate drainage holes.
  • Add a couple of inches of pebbles to the bottom of the pot to help with drainage and air supply to the roots.
  • Add plenty of good quality, free draining potting soil, leaving space to place your plant (Again, I love Canna Terra Professional Soil Mix).
  • Place the plant into the pot and fill the pot up with potting soil, keeping the top of the root ball level with the surface of potting soil.
  • Keep the pot well watered to settle the soil until the plant is established. Around 1-1.5 inches a week.

Pruning Buddleia

Buddleias grow very quickly and flower incredibly well.

This means that if you don’t take care of them they can have a tendency to grow out of hand. Not only that but they can also inhabit parts of your garden that you don’t want them to.

Pruning a Buddleia bush will stop it from becoming untidy and encourage it to flower beautifully while preventing it from dropping seeds and spreading.

When to Prune Buddleia

It’s just as important to know when to prune Buddleia as how to do it.

I’d say it’s even more important because pruning Buddleia at the wrong time of year could kill it.

When it comes to deadheading, do this whenever you see a faded flower.

For hard pruning, do this in the spring when the harshest weather is over. Depending on how the weather behaves, spring could be March, it could be April.

If you see new shoots developing don’t worry. You can still remove the old growth without negatively affecting the new.

Tools For Pruning a Butterfly Bush

You only need two tools for pruning Buddleia;

  1. A pair of secateurs – for deadheading and removing stems
  2. A pair of loppers – for cutting back thick branches

How to Prune Buddleia, Step-by-Step

There are two elements to pruning the Butterfly Bush.

  1. Deadheading the spent flowers, and
  2. Cutting back old growth

How to Deadhead Buddleia

The benefits of deadheading Buddleia is twofold;

It not only removes the flowers that have died off and turned brown, which keeps the rest of the plant looking healthy, but it also encourages new flowers to grow.

Simply remove the faded flower heads whenever you see them by cutting them back to the next leaf or stem joint with a pair of secateurs as seen in the picture above.

How to Cut Back a Buddleia Bush

To encourage new growth through summer, you should cut back hard in spring.

Step 1: Remove the Top Growth

Start pruning as soon as you see growth in early spring. Take a pair of secateurs and cut away the top growth so you can better see the base of the plant.

Step 2: Remove Thick Woody Stems

Next, cut through the thick wooden stems.

If you want to keep your Butterfly Bush relatively small, cut the woody stems right down to around 30cm tall. If you want it to grow tall, cut it down to around 60cm.

Where possible, try to cut back to a bud or growing shoot.

Step 3: Remove Any Dead Stubs

If there are any dead stubs or old, thick branches, cut them back so they’re flush with the main trunk. This will reduce the chances of dieback.

Step 4: Cut Right Back

It’s easy to think that you’re being too brutal and hacking away too much of the plant but Buddleia is an incredibly hardy shrub and it will re-grow very quickly.

Cut the bush right back so you only have a stump with 5-6 main branches and seen above.

How to Take Buddleia Cuttings

Butterfly Bushes are easy to cultivate. In doing so you’ll have brand new, flowering shrubs in as little as a year.

Here’s how to do it;

Take softwood Buddleia cuttings in late spring, this will give the stems time to harden slightly.

Step 1: Prepare Your Pots

Fill them with a 50/50 mix of potting compost and horticultural grit. Compost on its own will hold too much moisture and you could find the stems of your new cuttings start to rot. Horticultural grit will help keep the soil free draining.

Make several holes in the soil around the edges to insert your Buddleia cuttings into.

That’s the pots prepared. Now it’s time to take cuttings.

Step 2: Take Cuttings

Take cuttings from the current year’s growth, ideally from a non-flowering stem. If you want to take several cuttings and most of the stems have produced buds or even flowers, cut them off. If you don’t remove the buds and flowers, the cuttings will focus all their energy into blooming instead of growing new roots.

Your Buddleia cuttings should be a decent length, around 15cm. Cut just below a leaf node and then remove the lower leaves from the stem.

Dip the stems into a pot of rooting powder and knock off the excess (I like Clonex Rooting Hormone). Then, put them into your prepared pots, insert them into the holes you made in the soil so the top leaves are level with the soil surface and firm them into place.

Water the soil and cover your cuttings with a polythene bag secured to the pot with an elastic band to keep the leaves damp.

Step 3: Caring For Your Buddleia Cuttings

Keep your cuttings in a warm place, in your greenhouse or your conservatory so the humidity in the bag stays fairly high.

Check them periodically to make sure the soil is moist and give the leaves a spray.

Rooting should take 2-4 weeks, depending on the conditions. A good sign of rooting is the shoots starting to grow but don’t rely on this entirely. The best way to tell is by giving your cuttings a gentle tug. If they stay firmly in place you’ve got good root development.

Also, check the drainage holes for signs of roots.

If in doubt, leave them a little longer.

Step 4: Pot Your Cuttings Individually

Once your cuttings have taken root, it’s time to put them in their own individual pots.

Empty your pot of cuttings are CAREFULLY tease the roots of each cutting away from each other. Try to keep as much compost around the roots as you can.

Pot them in their own pots and water them immediately.

These new plants are fragile so you don’t want to put any undue stress on them. Keep them under cover and avoid putting them in draughty areas or in direct sunlight.

Keep them watered until they’re well established.

Step 5: Planting Them Outside

If you took your Buddleia cuttings in spring you should have a fairly well-established plant by the following spring.

In which case it’s time to plant them outside, either in a flower bed or in a patio pot.

However, don’t just rush out and plant it.

Place your new Butterfly Bush outside in a shaded, well-sheltered for a week or 10 days to give it time to acclimatise to being outdoors.

Once it’s acclimatised, plant it in a sunny area in well-draining soil.

Pests and Diseases of the Butterfly Bush

The Buddleia Bush is a hardy plant and shouldn’t give you many problems at all.

However, on rare occasions, it can fall victim to pests and disease.


There are two pests that most commonly attack the Butterfly Bush;

  1. Spider mites
  2. Nematodes

Spider Mites

Spider mites have a tendency to attack stressed bushes and shrubs during dry periods.

They can be hard to see but if you hold your hand or a sheet of paper under a branch and give it a shake, you’ll see the tiny red/orange fall off.

The best way to avoid an infestation is proper care, especially in hot, dry weather. Keep the plant watered and deadhead regularly to remove spent flowers.

If you do find yourself with an infestation, you could try to control them by spraying your butterfly tree with pressured water or by introducing predatory bugs like ladybirds.

However, the quickest and most effective solution is to spray the plant with an excellent product called SMC Spider Mite Control.

It’s completely safe for humans and plants but works by suffocating the spider mites by coating them in an ultra-thin oil.

Simply mix the solution with water as per the instructions and spray your Butterfly Tree. Within a few days, you should the infestation has gone, or at least greatly reduced. In which case, apply a second treatment to get rid of the remaining mites.


In some areas of the garden, nematodes are a good thing. Around your Buddleia tree, not so much!

Nematodes are tiny, microscopic worms that live in the soil and feed on the roots of the plant.

Unfortunately, they’re difficult to eradicate.

That said, they thrive in well-watered soils and Buddleia doesn’t need that much water. So limiting the amount of water will reduce the activity of nematodes and keep your plant healthy.


Again, there are two to look out for;

  1. Downy Mildew
  2. Root Diseases

Downy Mildew

This disease occurs in cool, damp conditions.

If your Buddleia bush stays damp and doesn’t have the chance to dry, you might notice furry patches develop on the underside of the leaves. The tops of the leaves will turn yellow before going brown.

Fortunately, fixing it is easy by cutting away the affected stems.

It’s also easy to prevent in the first place by planting your Butterfly Trees in areas of the garden that get plenty of sunlight and proper air circulation.

Also, give plants in borders and beds enough room for air to circulate between them. If they start to grow into each other, prune them back.

Also, water plants at the base instead of over leaves.

Root Diseases

There are two root diseases that can affect your Buddleias. They are Rhizoctonia and Phytophthora.

The leaves of infected Buddleias often turn yellow and if you do a little digging you might see the plant has rotting roots.

This makes impossible for them to take in the nutrients the plant needs. As a result, the plant lacks in nutrients and the leaves start to turn yellow. The flowers won’t bloom very big or bright either.

These diseases will only really attack plants that are planted in wet soils that hold onto moisture.

If you followed my earlier advice on where to plant Buddleia, you should never experience this problem.

However, if your Buddleia is suffering from root rot, the best thing to do would be to remove it, improve the drainage in the soil in that area and plant a new shrub.

In Conclusion

Buddleia is a fast-growing, hardy shrub.

There are over 140 species that produce beautiful flowers which smell of nectar and attracts several different species of butterfly to your garden.

It’s also an easy plant to look after with regular deadheading and annual hard pruning.

However, you MUST look after them because if you don’t, they can self-seed and take over your garden.

Over to You

Personally, I love Butterfly Bushes but what about you?

Do you have them in your garden?

Are you thinking of planting them?

Do you have any questions or something you’d like to say?

Let me know in the comments.

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