Butterfly Bush Buddleja alternifolia

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
alternate-leaved butterfly bush
alternate-leaved butterfly bush
alternate-leaved butterfly bush
alternate-leaved butterfly bush
alternate-leaved butterfly bush
alternate-leaved butterfly bush


The Butterfly Bush is a deciduous shrub known for its unique growth habit and charming appearance. Its branches arch gracefully, creating a weeping effect that adds an elegant touch to any garden space. The plant is adorned with narrow leaves that are arranged in an alternating pattern along the stems, giving it a textured and layered feel. When it comes to its most striking feature, the Butterfly Bush produces bountiful clusters of tiny, delicately fragrant flowers. These flowers bloom profusely in a cascading fashion on the previous year's growth, creating a waterfall of color. The blossoms appear in various shades, ranging from soft lilacs and purples to pinkish hues, attracting not only human admirers but also butterflies, bees, and other pollinators who are enticed by their sweet nectar. The leaves exhibit a soft green color that serves as a perfect backdrop for the vivid floral display. During the flowering season, the contrast of the green foliage and the blooms makes this plant a focal point in landscapes. Although the Butterfly Bush loses its leaves in colder climates during the winter months, its structural form remains attractive, providing visual interest throughout the year.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Fountain Butterfly Bush, Alternate-Leaved Butterfly Bush, Weeping Butterfly Bush.

    • Common names

      Buddleja alternifolia var. argentea, Buddleja alternifolia var. canescens, Buddleja alternifolia var. linearifolia, Buddleja japonica.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Butterfly Bush (Buddleja alternifolia) is not considered highly toxic to humans. There is limited information about its toxicity, but generally, it is not associated with severe poisoning in humans. If any part of the plant is ingested in large amounts, it could potentially cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. However, such cases are rare, and the plant is typically not a cause for concern regarding human health. Always exercise caution and keep plants away from young children who might accidentally ingest plant parts.

    • To pets

      The Butterfly Bush (Buddleja alternifolia) is also not considered highly toxic to pets, including cats and dogs. It is not commonly known to cause severe or life-threatening symptoms if ingested. In some rare cases, ingestion might lead to mild gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea, but this is not typical. As pets can sometimes have unexpected reactions to plant materials, it is still best to prevent your pets from eating plants not specifically intended for them. If you notice any signs of illness after ingestion, consult your veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      10-15 feet (3-4.5 meters)

    • Spread

      10 feet (3 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Wildlife: Buddleja alternifolia is known for attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects, enhancing biodiversity in gardens.
    • Ornamental Value: With its graceful arching branches and cascades of lilac-like flowers, it adds aesthetic appeal to landscapes.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, it is a hardy plant that requires minimal upkeep, making it ideal for gardeners seeking low-maintenance options.
    • Drought Tolerance: It can tolerate periods of drought once it is established, making it suitable for xeriscaping and water-wise gardens.
    • Fast Growth: It is a fast-growing shrub, allowing gardeners to quickly establish a full, lush look in their garden spaces.
    • Wildlife Shelter: The dense foliage provides shelter and nesting sites for birds, increasing its value for wildlife-friendly gardening.
    • Erosion Control: The robust root system can help stabilize slopes and banks, preventing soil erosion in certain settings.
    • Scented Flowers: The fragrant flowers can add a pleasant aroma to gardens, patios, or any outdoor spaces where it is planted.
    • Habitat Enrichment: By providing nectar, it contributes to the conservation of native bees and other nectar-seeking wildlife.
    • Seasonal Interest: Buddleja alternifolia blooms in late spring to early summer, adding seasonal interest to the garden when many other plants are not in peak bloom.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Buddleja alternifolia has been used in traditional medicine to reduce inflammation.
    • Antimicrobial: Extracts from the plant have demonstrated some antimicrobial activity against various strains of bacteria and fungi.
    • Antioxidant: The plant contains compounds that are believed to have antioxidant properties, helping to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.
    • Wound Healing: Traditional use suggests the plant may support the healing of wounds, though scientific evidence for this is limited.
    • Hepatoprotective effects: There is some evidence to suggest that Buddleja alternifolia may offer protection against liver damage in certain contexts.
    • Antipyretic: It has been used traditionally to reduce fever, although such uses have not been clinically validated.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • The wood of the Butterfly Bush can be used for crafting small wooden items like tool handles, owing to its density and durability.
    • In landscaping, Butterfly Bush can be trained into a small, weeping tree as a focal point in gardens.
    • Butterfly Bush branches are sometimes incorporated into butterfly hibernation boxes to provide natural resting and hiding spots for butterflies.
    • The foliage of Butterfly Bush can be used as a natural mulch that decomposes and adds nutrients back into the soil.
    • Dried Butterfly Bush flowers can be used in potpourri mixes for their pleasant fragrance and contribution to the range of textures.
    • The branches and stems of Butterfly Bush can be used in the art of miniature fairy garden creation to simulate natural trees and shrubbery.
    • Artists can use the dense foliage of Butterfly Bush to create green backdrops or to enhance the composition in plein air painting.
    • Due to its rapid growth, Butterfly Bush can be planted for soil stabilization on slopes and banks to prevent erosion.
    • Butterfly Bush can be used in privacy screens and hedges for an aesthetically pleasing barrier that also supports local wildlife.
    • Butterfly Bush is sometimes planted in pastoral landscapes to provide shade and shelter for small animals and beneficial insects.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Butterfly Bush is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Butterfly Bush is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Renewal: Buddleja alternifolia, commonly known as the Butterfly Bush, often symbolizes renewal due to its ability to attract butterflies, which are themselves symbols of transformation and new beginnings.
    • Attraction: The plant's capacity to attract a wide variety of wildlife, especially butterflies, highlights its symbolism for attraction and magnetism in interactions and relationships.
    • Transformation: Since the Butterfly Bush is a favored plant for butterflies that are undergoing metamorphosis, it can represent personal growth and transformation.
    • Healing: In some cultures, the Butterfly Bush is thought to have medicinal properties, thus symbolizing healing and the restoration of health.
    • Conservation: Because of its importance to butterflies and other pollinators, the Butterfly Bush can symbolize environmental conservation and the importance of nurturing ecological systems.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    For the Butterfly Bush (Buddleja alternifolia), it is important to water it deeply but infrequently to encourage strong root growth. During the growing season, this usually means watering once a week with about 1-2 gallons per plant, depending on the climate and soil type. Ensure that the soil is allowed to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot. During the winter months, reduce watering as the plant's water requirements decrease. It's best to water in the morning to allow any excess moisture on the leaves to dry out over the course of the day, reducing the risk of fungal diseases.

  • sunLight

    The Butterfly Bush thrives in full sun conditions, where it can receive at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. Ideal placement is in a spot that is exposed to unfiltered sunlight for most of the day. While the Butterfly Bush can tolerate some light shade, too much shade can result in fewer flowers and a leggier growth habit.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Butterfly Bush prefers temperate climates and can tolerate a range of temperatures. The ideal temperature range for optimal growth is between 60°F and 85°F. This plant can withstand temperatures as low as 20°F, but frost can damage new growth, so it's beneficial to provide some protection in colder zones. Extremes above 95°F may stress the plant, especially if humidity is also high.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Butterfly Bush encourages healthy growth and abundant flowering. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth begins, cutting back the previous year's growth to about a foot from the ground. This helps maintain a manageable shape and rejuvenates the plant. Additionally, deadheading spent blooms throughout the growing season can promote more flowers.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Fountain Butterfly Bush thrives in well-draining loamy or sandy soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. A mix incorporating compost or well-rotted manure will enhance fertility and texture. Mulching helps retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

  • plantRepotting

    Fountain Butterfly Bushes are typically garden plants and not often potted, so regular repotting is not generally required. However, if grown in containers, repotting every 2-3 years or when roots become visible at the surface is advisable.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Fountain Butterfly Bush prefers moderate ambient humidity but is adaptable to various humidity conditions and is relatively drought-tolerant once established.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light and well-draining soil.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sun with well-draining soil; mulch base.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Buddleja alternifolia, also known as the Alternate-leaved Butterfly Bush, begins its life cycle as a seed that germinates in favorable conditions of warm temperatures and moist soil. The seedling emerges and develops into a young plant with its own foliage, establishing a root system to absorb water and nutrients. As the plant matures, it undergoes vegetative growth, producing long, arching stems with narrow, linear leaves arranged alternately, hence the name. Once mature, usually after a couple of years, it enters the reproductive stage, blooming in late spring or early summer with clusters of small, fragrant, lilac-colored flowers that attract pollinators. After pollination, the flowers develop into small capsules containing seeds that, once mature, are dispersed by wind and start a new generation. The plant is deciduous, losing its leaves in autumn and entering a period of dormancy during the winter months before resuming growth in the spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • One of the most popular methods for propagating the Butterfly Bush (Buddleja alternifolia) is through semi-hardwood cuttings. This procedure is typically performed in late summer, when the current season's growth has begun to mature and harden. To do this, a gardener would select a healthy-looking branch and cut a piece approximately 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) long, cutting just below a leaf node where the concentration of growth hormones is higher. Leaves on the lower half of the cutting should be removed, and the cut end can be dipped in rooting hormone to encourage root development. The prepared cutting is then placed in a well-draining potting mix, ensuring that at least one or two nodes are buried where roots can form. The pot should be kept moist and in a warm location with indirect sunlight until roots have established, after which the young plant can be gradually acclimatized to outdoor conditions and planted in the garden.