Crop Rotation Group
Fertile, well-drained soil enriched with compost or other organic matter.
Full sun to part shade.
Butterfly bush is winter hardy only in moderate climates, with winter injury likely below 5°F (−20°C). Plants often regrow from the roots following harsh winters.
Topdress the root zone with rotted manure in late winter or early spring.
Single Plants: 5' 10" (1.80m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 5' 10" (1.80m) with 5' 10" (1.80m) row gap (minimum)
Sow and Plant
Butterfly bush is invasive in many climates, though reseeding varies with cultivar and climate. Many new varieties have been developed that produce very few seeds, and these vegetatively propagated varieties are the only ones permitted in some areas. Set out container-grown plants in spring, soon after the soil begins to warm. Stem cuttings taken from near the base of plants often root readily in spring. Only very dwarf butterfly bushes can be grown in containers.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.
Native to Asia, butterfly bush has escaped cultivation on most continents and is listed as an invasive species in many areas. Look for seed sterile varieties when making new plantings. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy the blossoms, produced from midsummer to fall. Where winters are mild, plants tend to be evergreen. In areas where reseeding is likely, cut back plants regularly through the summer. Light pruning also encourages more late-season flowers. Wait until winter’s end to prune plants back to about 14 inches (35 cm), which encourages bushy growth. Butterfly bush blooms on new wood.
Branches can be used in cut arrangements, though the fragrance is not pleasing to all noses.
Pests and diseases are uncommon with butterfly bush, which is ignored by rabbits and deer. In late spring, check areas near butterfly bushes for volunteers and pull them out.
Planting and Harvesting Calendar
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