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Plants That Attract Beneficial Insects: Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii)

Butterfly bush Karens  271x300Butterfly bush is a flowering shrub with arching branches and native to central China. It belongs to the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae, that also includes mullein(Verbascum), twinspur (Diascia), and Nemesia. The fragrant flowers are borne in dense clusters (panicles) up to sixteen inches long above gray-green to blue-green foliage from summer to fall. The flowers come in a variety of colors including blue, purple, lavender, pink, red, white and yellow, and are attractive to bees and butterflies, as well as to hummingbirds. Butterflies that may visit the flowers include red admiral, painted lady, comma, large white, small white, small tortoiseshell, meadow brown, peacock, and brimstone. Plants can be cut back hard to the last three or four buds in to renew growth. This is best done in the early spring rather than after flowering so that the faded flower spikes can provide shelter for overwintering insects (as well a food for small birds).

Type: Deciduous flowering shrub

Size: 5-10’ H x 6-9’ W depending on the cultivar

Light: Full sun to part sun but flower development is far better in full sun

Soil: Tolerates many different soil types if well drained

Hardiness: Zones 5-9 but will die to ground in winter in 5 and 6

Beneficial Insects Attracted:
Bees, butterflies including red admiral, painted lady, comma, large white, small white, small tortoiseshell, meadow brown, peacock, and brimstone