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Growing Butterfly Bush

Growing Butterfly Bush

White Profusion Butterfly Bush



Butterfly Bush performs as either a woody shrub or a herbaceous perennial, depending on the climate. In cold climates, it ususally dies back completely each winter and new shoots grow from below ground. In milder winter climates, stems don't die back and new growth emerges from woody shoots. Regardless of where it is grown, it produces large spikes of very fragrant flowers that are strongly attractive to butterflies and make good cut flowers. Plants are available in a range of sizes and flower colors. They make good specimen plants, massed plantings, and container plants. It is hardy in zones 5 to 9.

How To Plant

Plant outdoors in spring after the last frost. Set plants so the roots are slightly deeper than in the pots.


For full sun and well-drained soil. Benefits from pruning in spring to remove dead stems. In areas where it is shrubby, plants can be cut back to 6 to 12 inches tall to promote branching. 

Fertilizer Recommendations

Butterfly Bush is a low to moderate feeder and benefits from occasional fertilization. Use full rates of  ALGOplus Flowering Plant 4-6-7 liquid fertilizer Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1, or Osmocote slow-release 14-14-14.

Common Problems

Usually not seriously affected by pests or problems. Mites, Japanese beetles, and scale sometimes attack plants, especially if they are stressed by drought.

Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew

70% neem oil.

Alternative Products

Other hardy shrubs that attract butterflies include LilacSweetspire and Summersweet.

Product Recommendations

Hardy perennials that attract butterflies include Asclepias, Aster, and Gaillardia

Butterfly Bush Facts

Also called Summer Lilac. Butterfly Bush can reseed aggressively in mind climates and non-sterile varieties cannot be shipped to Oregon or Washington for this reason.


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