The Beauty of the Butterfly Bush Goes Beyond the Flowers

The Beauty of the Butterfly Bush Goes Beyond the Flowers

Several years back, as a part of new landscaping, a butterfly bush was planted on the corner of my garage. After only one summer and much to my disappointment, it died. I so enjoyed the pretty purple fragrant flowers it donned and, of course, the beautiful butterflies it attracted.

Once we were sure there weren’t going to be new blooms, my husband uprooted it, mulched the remainder and discarded it. The following summer and every summer since then, I have had more butterfly bushes than I can count. It’s no longer about getting one to live, but selecting the ones to keep. (They were everywhere, even in some of the most inconvenient places.)

Opting to leave a number of the bushes around the deck has been so enjoyable. At any point during the day, there are several beautiful butterflies sipping nectar. And if you stand still long enough, some of the butterflies will take a rest on an arm or shoulder. I didn’t expect to get so much enjoyment from what I initially considered landscaping. It is more like Mother Nature in one of her finest forms…so beautiful and serene.

For those interested in adding some color and fragrance to your yard with a butterfly bush, garden.org recommends the following: select a site with full sun and moist, well-drained soil; plant in spring or fall; space plants 5 to 10 feet apart, depending on the variety; prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost; dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in; carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the rootball is level with the soil surface; carefully fill in around the rootball and firm the soil gently; and water thoroughly.

With regard to ongoing care, the website recommends applying a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than one inch per week. Flowers are produced on new wood, so prune back old growth almost to the ground early each spring before any new growth emerges.

I mentioned above that the blooms on the butterfly bush in my yard are purple, but garden.org notes flower colors can include blue, pink, red, violet, yellow and white. Butterfly bushes grow well in shrub or perennial borders, and the fragrant flowers can be used for cutting. Enjoy!


Several years back, as a part of new landscaping, a butterfly bush was planted on the corner of my garage. After only one summer and much to my disappointment, it died. I so enjoyed the pretty purple fragrant flowers it donned and, of course, the beautiful butterflies it attracted.