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Buddleia Planting Guide

Buddleia, commonly called butterfly bush, provides more than just attractive foliage, fast growth and honey scented flowers in an array of cool shades. It also pretty much guarantees that you'll have dozens of species of butterflies decorating your garden for weeks. From mid summer until early fall, hungry butterflies dine on the nectar provided by the tiny tubular flowers that make up the colorful buddleia blossom clusters. It's not uncommon to have dozens of flutterers on a single bush at once. And hummingbirds? Yes, they're attracted to these shrubs, too. Like to open your own butterfly and hummingbird cafe? Plant buddleia. And now there's a new group of buddleia plants that are more compact, easier to combine with perennials in the garden and still every bit as attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. These new dwarf plants, ideal for mixed beds and even containers, are what you'll find on this website. Rediscover buddleia - now in a cool dwarf version.

Success Snapshot

PLANTING
DEPTH

Pre-Potted

WATER
QUANTITY

Moderate to Low

SUNLIGHT
QUANTITY

Full to Partial Sun

PLANTING
PROXIMITY

Species dependent; 36-60"

BLOOM
SEASON

Early Summer through Fall

HARDINESS
ZONES

Zones 5-9

Outdoor Beds
  1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2"-3" to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. Buddleia plants prefer average to fertile soil.
  2. Site your dwarf buddleia where it will receive full sunlight, or light shade in the hottest areas.
  3. Plant so that the soil level in the pot and the ground soil are even. If the buddleia is sited above the level of the surrounding soil it may dry out, if below, it may sit in a puddle and rot.
  4. After planting, water well to settle the soil around the roots. Keep well watered until established; about 1-1.5" of water per week is a good general rule of thumb.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to snip stems for honey scented bouquets. This will not hurt the plant.
  6. After flowering has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year's show. In late autumn or early spring trim your buddleia lightly to shape, or hard (to within 6" of the ground) to encourage all new spring growth. For gardeners in warm climates, water your buddleia sparingly in the winter.
  7. Buddleia tend to be late sleepers (think teenage boy), and sprout in the spring after many other plants are well along. Don't worry, your butterfly plants are tough; they'll just leaf out a little later than the rest of the garden.


Pots, Barrels, Tubs & Urns
  1. Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; buddlea must not sit in waterlogged soil. Feel free to mix your buddleia with other plants that prefer the same light and moisture conditions. Daylilies, hardy geraniums and coreopsis are good partners.
  2. Site your dwarf buddleia where it will receive full sunlight, or light shade in the hottest areas.
  3. Plant so that the soil level in the pot and the ground soil are even.
  4. After planting, water well to settle the soil around the roots. Keep well watered until established; about 1-1.5" of water per week is a good general rule of thumb.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to snip stems for honey scented bouquets. This will not hurt the plant.
  6. After flowering has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year's show. In late autumn or early spring trim your buddleia lightly to shape, or hard (to within 6" of the ground) to encourage all new spring growth. For gardeners in warm climates, water your buddleia sparingly in the winter.
  7. Buddleia tend to be late sleepers (think teenage boy), and sprout in the spring after many other plants are well along. Don't worry, your butterfly plants are tough; they'll just leaf out a little later than the rest of the garden.