Buddleia: Butterfly Magnet, Deer Repellant

When creating your backyard habitat, you want to be able to select pest-resistant plants that also offer color and drama, while attracting the right visitors. Buddleia is an all-around winner: It’s deer resistant and easy to grow; it comes in several gorgeous colors; and its delicate fragrance will please you while attracting a variety of winged friends to your yard.

The species of the Buddleia genus are commonly referred to as butterfly bush. The nickname comes from the plants’ allure to butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Flower clusters can reach 15” long, so there is plenty of nectar for all! Each variety offers unique characteristics to attract nectar eaters: Red and deep violet blooms flag down hummingbirds, while pastel colors, with their distinctive fragrance, lure butterflies and bees.

Buddleia are fast growers and, depending on the variety, can grow to an average of six to ten feet tall with a similar spread, such as Black Knight and Kaleidoscope. If you prefer a compact habit, try Blue Chip Dwarf Butterfly Bush, which stays at a tidy height and width of two to three feet—ideal for containers or small areas! With a long bloom season, generally from mid-summer to first frost, buddleia offers an abundance of fragrant flowers at times when little garden color is available.

Hardy in zones 5-9, buddleia are easy to care for. They prefer full sun to partial shade and should be planted firmly in well-drained soil, six to nine feet apart. In northern climates, set the crown just below soil level and water it well. Pruning depends on the individual variety, but buddleia produces flowers on new wood, so in general you should cut it back hard—to perhaps a foot or so tall—in early spring, either as new growth begins or even before growth appears. The latter approach is important in colder regions where buddleia behaves like an herbaceous perennial with the top growth dying back in winter.

Shop Buddleia