Attract butterflies to your garden with our expert tips for growing Butterfly Bush.
By Ann Wied
Waukesha County, Wisconsin
The butterfly bush is like a magnet to all butterflies passing through the garden in search of nectar, so you’ll want to net success growing it. This beauty is a hardy, woody shrub in the South, but in USDA Zone 5 and northward, the bush usually dies back to its roots each winter.
In spring, prune back to ground level any remaining growth from the previous season, and watch for the new growth to emerge from the soil. Be patient—new growth often emerges late, when the soil warms up. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t survive a harsh winter. Butterfly bush has a reputation for living only about 3 to 7 years in the North, though it can live longer when winters are mild. Most gardeners find the beautiful, fragrant flowers make it worth planting anyway.
Butterfly bush likes moist, well-drained soil, so water your plant when needed. It also benefits from regular fertilizing. Add a layer of wood chips for insulation in fall.
About our Expert: Ann Wied is consumer horticulture educator for the UW-Extension in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.