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Buddleia Planting Guide

There's no better way to attract cheerful little pollinators than the honey-scented flowers of Buddleia. Commonly called Butterfly Bush, these sun-loving perennials are easy to grow and perfect for containers and landscape beds alike. The tiny tubular flowers bloom in clusters of dazzling cool shades from mid-summer until early fall, and with both large and compact varieties to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your garden. Give butterflies a warm welcome in your yard with a low-maintenance Buddleia plant! Now, here's everything you need to know:

Success Snapshot




Moderate to Low


Full to Partial Sun


Species dependent; 36-60"


Early Summer through Fall


Zones 5-9

Where to Plant

Buddleia perform best when planted in average to fertile, well-drained soil, and full sun or light shade in warmer regions. They will not thrive in soggy conditions, so if you notice water puddles 5–6 hours after a hard rain, you'll want to find another site or amend the soil with organic material to improve drainage.

When to Plant

Buddleia planting is best performed in the spring after the risk of frost has passed in colder climates, or in autumn before the first frost in warmer regions. The spectacular flower clusters will arrive in early to mid-summer.

How to Plant

  • For container planting, select a container with adequate drainage holes and fill it with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Loosen the soil and plant so that the pot's soil level and the soil surrounding the root ball are even. Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the roots.
  • For outdoor landscape planting, site your Buddleia to receive well-drained soil and full sun, or light shade in the hottest areas. Loosen the soil and plant so that the soil surrounding the root ball and the ground soil are even. Depending on the variety, space plants 5–10' apart for the best display. Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the roots.

How to Grow

  • Keep well-watered until established, allowing for roughly 1–1.5" of water per week.
  • Leave the foliage in place after blooming has finished for the season. The leaves will gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year's show.
  • Trim your Buddleia in late autumn or early spring to lightly shape or encourage new spring growth.
  • Water sparingly through the winter months if you're gardening in a warm climate.

Buddleia Tips & Tricks

  • Amend soil with compost, finely ground bark, or composted manure as needed to avoid water-logging your plant.
  • Be mindful not to plant your Buddleia above or below the surrounding soil level, as it may cause the plant to dry out or become waterlogged.
  • Feel free to mix your Buddleia with other plants that prefer the same light and moisture conditions, such as Daylilies, hardy Geraniums, or Coreopsis.
  • Snip a few stems when in bloom for sweet, honey-scented bouquets, as this will not hurt the plant.
  • Remove spent flowers before seeds develop to avoid having your Buddleia spread.
  • Don't worry if your Buddleia is sprouting later than most other spring plants. These tough bloomers tend to leaf out a little later than the rest of the garden.