Butterfly Bush (Buddleja [or Buddleia] davidii) is a surefire attention-grabber. A common sight in our region’s gardens and landscape plantings, its fragrant conical blooms—typically festooned with fluttering butterflies and buzzing bees—are hard to miss. Butterfly bush is considered invasive in many states, as well as England and New Zealand. It’s not really helpful at all because the best nectar plants for butterflies will depend completely on where you live. Many home gardeners have no idea that butterfly bush (the Buddleia species) is invasive. For wetter soils, try Buttonbush (Cephalanthis occidentalis)—a food source for moths—or New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus). The real key to having more butterflies in your garden is to find out which of the more than 700 species of butterflies in North America are common to your region. Butterfly bush is an invasive plant, meaning it crowds out … Some states banned the sale of Buddleia and listed it as a noxious, invasive weed. Many plants have managed to escape gardens and colonise open ground and can self-sow on waste ground and old masonry. Or any of these other states in the middle of this map? I've never even seen them spreading into the woods near our butterfly bush bed which has been there for decades. Why wouldn’t we work to save, restore, or create more habitat for ALL butterflies? Seedlings can be manually removed. Butterfly Bush is extremely successful at reproduction, giving it a competitive advantage over native flowering shrubs. ~Debbie Roberts in Butterfly Bushes Do Not Mean More Butterflies, 42 species of butterflies and moths will use Joe Pye as larval host plant in addition to providing abundant nectar for butterflies, native bees, and other pollinators. However, anyone familiar with the Midwest will quickly notice that Kansas IS identified on the illustration as being one of the states overrun by the subject bush. Buddleia is native to China and Japan and was introduced to the UK at the end of the 19th century as an ornamental garden plant. Unfortunately, the Butterfly bush has escaped cultivation in southern BC and is now considered an invasive species. Although eye-catching, hardy, and seemingly helpful to butterflies and other pollinators, Butterfly Bush is far from beneficial; in fact it’s actually an invasive species that can impair the health of our local ecosystems. Go to Cape May during the peak of Monarch migration, and you won’t find many Monarchs on any butterfly bushes, they are all over the Seaside Goldenrod. Not a single native caterpillar eats Butterfly Bush leaves. Yes, they do. How long do you really think we have until Butterfly Bush is listed as invasive in Wisconsin? "Once established, they can tolerate heat and humidity, and in some cases, drought. Anyone who's ever tried to grow it from seed knows it almost never succeeds unlike butterfly weed (which is milkweed so I doubt the native-plant folks have an issue with it) and it's kind of a fraud for seed companies to even sell it! It establishes in sunny, well-drained sites including fields, roadsides, woods edges, and riverbanks, where native shrubs would have grown. Those vanished native shrubs were essential food sources for caterpillars. Buddleja spreads by seed, so if the flowers are deadheaded just as they start to wither, there will be no volunteers. Buddleja davidii readily invades disturbed sites and riparian areas. The flowers are very fragrant and attract a number of colorful … If not, look for another plant choice. My yard is full of pollinator friendly plants, including three butterfly bushes that I planted, and a number that are a result of self-seeding. Although Butterfly Bush grows easily in our region, it is not native to North America. Eco-conscious gardeners would do better to opt for the native shrubs. The roots must be removed or they will re-sprout. This is a plant from Asia, and now it’s spreading out of control along stream banks and other areas all over the country. Obviously this may not be the same for everywhere in the US, and it's better to err on the side of caution, but my coworkers and I have discussed buddleia as an invasive and we all seem to thing that it doesn't seem to be invasive in central NJ at least. Not many, sadly. Buddleia (Buddleja davidii) is an invasive plant that is found throughout the United Kingdom, often seen growing alongside railway lines, urban wasteland and road verges. It has become increasingly clear that Buddleia davidii can be highly invasive. Not invasive at all here. Mary Anne lives in New Jersey, where Butterfly Bush is running rampant along stream banks and other natural areas and is a huge problem and concern for environmentalists. Invasive Species Spotlight: The Truth About Butterfly Bush. It’s sad and shameful that organizations dedicated to the protection of butterflies, especially the Monarch, are spreading information that is ultimately harmful to our wild areas when there are so many better alternatives. These seeds can remain viable for three to five years in soil, and any cut stems can sprout again. Pugster® buddleia plants grow best in full sun in USDA zones 5-9 and prefer moist but well drained soils. We can all do so much better. But Buddleja davidii, to give its latin name, which originated in China, is viewed by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as an invasive non-native species. Funny because I have NEVER seen buddleia in the wild anywhere in the great lakes region. The shrub reaches maturity quite quickly, often producing extremely lightweight, winged seeds within the first year of growth, which travel far distances by way of water or wind. If Butterfly Bush were just a pretty garden shrub, it would be less of a concern. I hate to throw away plants, so I have transplanted a few of these renegades, and they always survive with minimal attention. Adorned with an orange eye, the flowers are freely produced from mid summer through early fall and sometimes to first frost. If a wildlife garden has a wide variety of native plants you’ll begin to discover that the butterflies actually prefer the natives and won’t even bother going to the butterfly bush. Buddleja davidii is a shrub between 1 and 5m in height with widely spreading branches. It is a much favoured popular species for garden plant. My suggestion is that they model their plant recommendations after the excellent resources at The Pollinator Partnership. However, butterflies need host plants on which to lay eggs and on which their caterpillars feed. But its high reproductive success and dispersal means that Butterfly Bush replaces native shrubs outside the garden, in natural areas. Seeds can be carried long distances and proliferate in open areas like roadways, waterways and pastures. Why in earth would you suggest goldenrod as a replacement for a butterfly bush? So, while I’m not sure exactly what Dr. Dirr wrote, I thought I’d give you my two cents worth. Buddleja (orth. Goldenrod as a larval host plant, and many species of insects also use parts of this plant for shelter and food. A study at Longwood Gardens found that there were over 40,000 seeds on a single flower spike. If you simply must have a Butterfly Bush, these varieties may be an option, but keep in mind that they don’t provide butterflies with the hosting benefits of native flowering shrubs. For more native plants that support a lot of butterflies at all stages of their lives see: The two authorities quoted are from different states: New Jersey vs. Kansas. Lillia Schmidt, Land Stewardship Intern, and Susan Charkes, Easement Steward, Invasive Species Spotlight: The Truth About Butterfly Bush. What accounts for these opposing views? Buddleja davidii ‘Summer Beauty’ – a small variety, with deep pink flowers and narrow, green-grey leaves. Without caterpillars, birds will not survive. You don’t want to be the one responsible for this damage to our ecosystems do you? B. davidii, the most commonly cultivated species in our region, is a native of China. Even though they may be dedicated to doing good for a particular species and had a lot of success in reaching out to the general public and raising awareness about declining species and how we can help them, it’s really not helpful in the longterm if that supposed “help” is destroying the habitats that all other wildlife is dependent on for their very survival. Which will of course still need to be pruned: a garden is a managed environment after all. They die back every year to the ground. There have been recent introductions to the garden markets of purportedly non-invasive Butterfly Bush. The supposition is that New Jersey is "where Butterfly Bush is running rampant" while "Butterfly Bush has not yet become invasive" in Kansas. I’m sure you’ve all read books about butterfly gardening, and almost every one of them recommends Butterfly Bush (Budleia spp). Butterfly Bush is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 15 feet high. It's worth noting, however, that the Butterfly Bush is considered an invasive species and can grow out of control rapidly if the right measures aren't taken. A single flower cluster of Buddleia davidii 'Potter's Purple' can make up to 40,000 seeds! Buddleia is not native to North America; butterfly bush is an exotic plant from Asia. Your butterflies will thank you! Butterfly bush Buddleia davidii If you live in an area where Buddleia davidii isn’t a problem, it may just be a matter of time before it becomes an invasive plant there too. I wish it would multiply - it attracts so many butterflies and bees! So there are no species here that will naturally keep it in check. A single milkweed pod thrown into the middle of my perennial somewhat undisciplined garden several years ago has now resulted in a plethora of milkweed and an increasing population of milkweed loving larvae! Do you have the resolve and discipline? Since its introduction to the United Kingdom from China in the late 1800s, B. davidii has become an important component in horticulture and human culture. But educating the educators may now need to become my primary mission. Another post said that Saline, MI has banned Buddleia. Butterfly Bush (Buddleja [or Buddleia] davidii) is a surefire attention-grabber. The wild-origin species is white-flowered with orange or yellow centers. var. How to Grow Buddleia To encourage the best growth and impressive blooms, your Buddleia will need a full sun position in well-drained soil. "Buddleia is a very durable plant that tolerates less than ideal conditions," gardening expert Melinda Myers explains. Goldenrod is weed in most places. I live in central PA and I have never seen a butterfly bush in the wild, and I get around a fair bit. Photo by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org, 1 Hoffman's Mill RoadP.O. Instead of planting Butterfly Bush, select a native flowering shrub appropriate for your site that is attractive to pollinators. Buddleja davidii has been classified as an invasive species in many countries in temperate regions, including the United Kingdom and New Zealand. I have had one dwarf butterfly bush flowering for the past 3-4 years. Cotoneaster and Rhododendron). It is possible to uproot and dig out mature specimens. It is native to China, not North America, Europe or New Zealand. It attracts lots of bees and butterflies, but I have not seen any other butterfly bushes in my garden. The Buddliea Invasive Report Posted above claims that Buddleia is naturalized in the Great Lakes. But which ever shrubs we choose to grow, let us enjoy the sweet, honey scent of the Butterfly Bush and watch the … Buddleia, often known as the “Butterfly Bush”, is an invasive species which has been spread throughout the rail network in the UK by both wind borne seeds and the low pressure drag created by trains. Invasive Concerns. Even my favorite butterfly organization, the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) has contributed to this confusion, which makes me very sad. So it is irresponsible of butterfly experts to not educate people and give them the tools and information that would help these home gardeners make much more beneficial choices for butterflies and the … These plants have been bred to not set as much seed. Please Note: Pugster Pink ® Butterfly Bush Buddleia is restricted and cannot be shipped to the state(s) of OR and WA. Do not dump clippings or flowerheads in natural areas or compost piles. Buddleia is a popular garden plant that was introduced into the UK from China in the 1890s and has now become widely naturalised on waste ground, along railway cuttings and in urban areas. You simply enter your zip code and you’re directed to one of the 31 ecotype-specific Pollinator Friendly Planting Guides, and in there you’ll find a calendar of native plants appropriate for your region so that you can have year round value to butterflies and other wildlife. However, if you deadhead butterfly bush meticulously before it goes to seed you may be able to halt the spread. (15-25 cm) long, velvety and lanced-shaped. Box 141Chadds Ford, PA 19317610.388.2700, The Brandywine Conservancy is a program of The Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art, By: Or Iowa? The Buddleja genus originated in central China and migrated across Asia and to the Americas, evolving into over 140 species as it spread. In reality, how many home gardeners are actually going to spend the time to remove every one of the multitude of flower heads every week or so? They are a great addition to my garden and a benefit to the insects and birds. It can grow in … The MonarchWatch recommended nectar planting list is kind of a sad and useless joke with no scientific names, no disclaimers about Butterfly Bush, and no specifics about regional differences. The generic name bestowed by Linnaeus posthumously honoured the Reverend Adam Buddle (1662–1715), an English botanist and rector , at the suggestion of Dr. William Houstoun . With nearly 40 new “invasives” and “alternatives” included, this guide remains a fixture for invasive-free gardening across Ontario. native and non-native scrub), by cutting and/or spraying. There are also now some very new varieties that don’t seed. Spreading rapidly by wind-born seed, the butterfly bush displaces native vegetation in disturbed, open areas and along coastal forest edges, roadsides, and … Our Regional Director of the Kansas Native Plant Society has a greenhouse and raises hundreds of butterfly bushes to sell at area Master Gardener plant sales. For sunny, open garden or landscape plantings, try Sweet Pepperbush, also called Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) or Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica). Buddleia is native to China and Japan and was introduced to the UK at the end of the 19th century as an ornamental garden plant. Or we can grow sterile and non-invasive Buddleia species and cultivars. Appearance Buddleja davidii is a deciduous shrub that is 3-15 ft. (1-5 m) tall with arching stems. Butterfly Bush can be difficult to manage once it has been established. Header image: Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii) in flower (surrounded by native wildlfowers). ), why would we do something that can be so harmful? 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