How To Plant, Grow And Care For A Buddleia
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 its butterfly-attracting qualities, a buddleia bush will bring 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 about all things ‘butterfly bush’, from how and when to plant them 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 feet, but can grow up to around 10 feet 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.
Buddleia shrubs really make an impression. They often reach around 6 feet but can grow up to approximately 10 feet tall and boast an equal width. Large, bright and fragrant too, buddleia is the perfect choice for those wanting to attract wildlife while bringing beauty and colour to their garden.
When does a buddleia flower?
Buddleia is a perennial, semi-evergreen plant. Once it has flowered, it only loses its foliage for a short period of the year. The flowers of a buddleia generally appear from July to October, with some varieties flowering as early as May. 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
Buddleia shrubs are hardy and can be planted at any time of year. However, late autumn or early spring is ideal for putting your Buddleias in the ground.
Buddleia shrubs flourish best planted in loose, well-drained soil, so plant them before the frost arrives or after the threat has passed. Once established, buddleia can withstand British winter weather and will begin to grow again in spring. 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.
Can I Plant Buddleia in a Pot?
Being such an imposing shrub, Buddleia plants are generally too large to grow in pots and containers successfully. However, some dwarf cultivars will thrive in a patio pot.
Use quality all-purpose compost and water well until the plant becomes established. Buddleias need to be re-potted every 2-3 years as they grow and mature, eventually reaching up to 90cm in height.
How to grow buddleia
As mentioned above, ensure you have plenty of space in a spot with loose, well-drained soil. Buddleias will flower most when placed in a sunny spot where they can soak up lots of sunlight. Choose a slightly sheltered position, where strong winds won’t harm the long branches.
Buddleias will grow well of their own accord, so fertiliser isn’t necessarily needed, but planting in a good compost will get them off to a great start.
Once you’ve planted your buddleia shrub, water it well and continue to water it while it grows, however, be careful not to waterlog the soil. Once the plant has matured, water it sparingly. A butterfly bush does not need much moisture, and too much water can be detrimental.
Buddleias are generally low-maintenance plants. Other than watering during dry spells, you can pretty much leave your plant to its own devices.
When to prune buddleia
A butterfly bush can grow to over 10 feet tall and can begin to spread throughout the garden, so trim as and when it is needed. The buddleia should be fully pruned at least once a year, 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 is a chance of chilly weather, hold off on pruning, as the frost may harm the new growth.
When pruning your butterfly bush, you should cut each branch back close to the ground, leaving stems around a foot in length. Buddleia copes well with being pruned hard. Even if the shrub’s existing branches don’t appear to be damaged, bushes can easily become overcrowded. This high level of pruning affords beautiful new flowers the space to grow come summer.
Following this intense spring pruning, you should continue to monitor your buddleia throughout the year. Deadhead old or dead blooms immediately and cut back dead or damaged branches.
Many varieties will successfully self-seed. In fact, without regular pruning, buddleia plants can become invasive. For more controlled propagation, take semi-ripe cuttings in summer or hardwood cuttings in mid-autumn to winter, when the bush is in its dormant season.
Root the cuttings in water before placing them in pots or trays to grow. The cuttings should only take around 2 weeks to grow roots.
Choosing a Buddleia Plant
Here at Gardeners Dream, we stock an impressive collection in an array of bright, bold colours. The shrub you choose will largely depend on the style of your outdoor space. For example, pink and purple hues work well in country gardens, while white flowers have a fresh contemporary look that is stunning in new build gardens.
If you hope to attract pollinators into your outdoor space, opt for violet and blue shades. These flowers tend to produce more nectar, so they are most attractive to bees and butterflies.
Whatever shade you choose, these easy-care plants will create a striking focal point, especially in full bloom.
Where to buy Buddleia
You can find Buddleia plants in some garden centres and online as well as in our own selection here at Gardeners Dream. We have handpicked some of our favourite Buddleia plants, please feel free to browse through these and see which ones take your fancy.
For further inspiration to transform your garden, be sure to explore the full outdoor plant collection at Gardeners Dream, where you can browse a selection of shrubs including buddleia butterfly bushes in a stunning array of shades.