Controlling Butterfly Bush Spread

Butterfly bushes are attractive to butterflies and other pollinating insects.

Butterfly bushes are attractive to butterflies and other pollinating insects.

A Quick Tip from Crabtree Corner: If you grow butterfly bushes (buddleia spp.) remember to deadhead them regularly. This means when the blooms are dying, clip them off before they dry. It will keep new blooms forming until frost hits your area. Butterfly bushes are extremely attractive to butterflies and pollinators.

Deadhead spent blooms to control seeds from ripening.

Deadhead spent blooms to control seeds from ripening.

Since these plants are notorious self-seeders and considered invasive in many areas, it is also wise NOT to allow the blooms to remain on the plant in order to keep it from contributing to the unintended spread that this species is known for. They can disperse millions of seeds from a single plant. If you cut back your bush in the fall, you will see more compact growth in the spring and be able to handle your pruning more efficiently.

Many butterfly bushes did not survive our USDA Zone 5 winter this year in Pennsylvania, it just may have been Nature’s way of controlling them. For the ones that did survive, we are practicing deadheading. Even though we promote the practice of allowing seed heads to remain on plants throughout the winter, this is one plant that we are keeping an eye on because we love to see butterflies and other pollinators enjoying its nectar.

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About crabtreegardens

I am a passionate decorator and the head gardener at Crabtree Gardens, LLC, which is a five acre naturalized garden located in Drums, PA. I advocate chemical-free, low maintenance gardening methods and working along with nature. I'm a freelance garden writer and member of GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators.
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2 Responses to Controlling Butterfly Bush Spread

  1. You would think here in the warm South they would be invasive but I have never seen a single seedling!

  2. crabandfish says:

    Lovely! I cut my buddleia right to the ground at the end of our summer, I hope it begins to sprout this Spring – enjoy your autumn.

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