Butterfly Bush – Plant Profile

Buddleia davidii

kalleco nursery butterfly bush-4

“Royal Red”

Common Varieties:

  •  “Royal Red” – the most common variety, with purple flowers with red bases, 5’-6’ in height.
  •  “Dwarf Blue” – lavender-blue flowers and silvery green foliage, 5’-7’ in height.
  •  “Pink Delight” – bright pink flowers, 5’-7’ in height.

Description: Butterfly bush is a deciduous, flowering shrub hardy in most of the United States. Its foliage can vary from golden or yellow green to darker, silver-green depending on the variety.

Its flowers are small and trumpet-shaped. They grow on long “flower spikes” (up to 8”), blooming first at the base to the tip. The flower color also differs greatly depending on variety, from red to deep purple. The most common types have bright red-purple flowers that bloom in the mid-summer.

Planting and Growth: Butterfly bushes thrive in well-drained soil and full sun, so make sure you pick a spot with 6-8 hours of sun a day, preferably in the morning. As with any shrub, the best time to plant is in the early Water daily at first, but after establishment, weekly during very dry periods is fine.

Once planted, butterfly bush is a fast-growing shrub and can reach up to 15’ in height, depending on variety. “Royal Red”, the most common variety, grows to about 8’ without pruning.

Since butterfly bushes only bloom on new growth, pruning is best carried out in the spring. Cutting back to 12”-24” in height might destroy other plants, but the fast-growing beauty will actually benefit and bloom profusely as a result.

Special Features: Drought-tolerant; tough; fast-growing; low maintenance; pollinator attracting; bright colors; summer interest.

Complements: Plant with other pollinator favorites to have a steady flow of butterfly visitors! If you’re a lover of purple, salvia and lavender are a must. If you prefer some contrast, try with yellow or orange daylilies.  These bushes are great in sunny foundation beds especially!