Madagascar Butterfly Bush Buddleja madagascariensis

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


The plant commonly known as Madagascar Butterfly Bush is a visually striking plant that boasts an array of appealing features. Its stems have a slightly arching quality, and it often presents an overall rounded form. The leaves, which imbue the plant with a lush, verdant quality, are lance-shaped and can reach a generous length. They feature a distinctive coloration, with one side being a deep green while the underside often appears silvery, due to a fine layer of hairs. One of the most striking characteristics of the Madagascar Butterfly Bush is its flowers. The blooms are tubular in shape and small, but they are clustered together in large, conical arrays that command attention. They exude a vibrant color, usually in hues of orange-yellow, and release a sweet fragrance that is particularly alluring to butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. The striking floral display of this plant is not only a visual highlight but also an olfactory treat, thanks to the sweet scent that wafts from the blossom clusters. The Madagascar Butterfly Bush has a tendency to bloom prolifically, with flowering typically occurring over a span of time that encompasses several months. This long flowering period adds to the plant’s allure and its value in the garden as a source of enduring color and interest. Overall, the Madagascar Butterfly Bush is appreciated for its ornamental appeal, including its evergreen leaves, its engaging floral exhibition, and its fragrance. The plant enhances gardens with a touch of its native tropical charm and serves as an irresistible draw for a variety of beneficial wildlife, helping to create a lively and dynamic garden environment.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Madagascar Butterfly Bush, Smoke Bush, Honey Bush.

    • Common names

      Buddleja madagascarensis Lam., Buddleja acuminatissima Miq., Buddleja madagascariensis var. madagascariensis, Nicodemia madagascariensis (Lam.) R. Parker.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Butterfly bush (Buddleja madagascariensis) is not widely recognized as a poisonous plant to humans. However, as with any plant, individual allergic reactions or sensitivity are possible, and it is generally advisable to avoid ingesting parts of ornamental plants since their toxicity profile is not fully known and they are not intended for consumption.

    • To pets

      Butterfly bush (Buddleja madagascariensis) is generally not listed as toxic to pets. Nevertheless, pets may have different sensitivities or allergic reactions to plants. If a pet consumes a large amount of any non-food plant, including the Butterfly bush, it may experience gastrointestinal upset or other signs of distress. Always monitor your pets and prevent them from eating plants that are not part of their regular diet. If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially toxic substance, contact a veterinarian immediately.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      10 feet (3.05 meters

    • Spread

      10 feet (3.05 meters

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Pollinators: Provides nectar to attract butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects, supporting biodiversity.
    • Landscape Beautification: Adds aesthetic appeal to gardens and landscapes with its vibrant orange-yellow flowers.
    • Fragrant Flowers: Emits a pleasant fragrance, contributing to a sensory garden experience.
    • Rapid Growth: Exhibits fast growth, quickly filling garden spaces and providing coverage.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it can tolerate periods of dry weather, making it suitable for xeriscaping.
    • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal care beyond initial establishment, making it ideal for low-maintenance gardens.
    • Erosion Control: The plant’s root system can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion on slopes.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Buddleja madagascariensis, commonly known as the Madagascar Butterfly Bush, can be used as a natural dye; the flowers and leaves may produce varying shades of color when used to dye fabric or yarn.
    • Its wood is lightweight and can be used for crafting small objects such as picture frames or decorative pieces that don't require high strength material.
    • The plant's dense foliage and rapid growth make it an effective privacy hedge or screen in tropical and subtropical regions.
    • The flowers of Madagascar Butterfly Bush can be used in potpourri to add a pleasant fragrance to rooms.
    • In some cultures, the Madagascar Butterfly Bush is utilized in rituals or as a part of floral arrangements for ceremonies.
    • The plant can be grown as an ornamental landscape element for its showy flowers that attract pollinators and add aesthetic value to gardens.
    • The flower nectar of the Madagascar Butterfly Bush can be a food source for domesticated bees in apiaries.
    • The dried leaves of the plant can be used as a natural moth repellent in wardrobes and drawers.
    • Madagascar Butterfly Bush can be used in butterfly gardens as it is a natural attractant for butterflies and other beneficial insects.
    • Some artists use the flowers and leaves to create botanical prints and nature-inspired artwork by transferring the pigments onto paper or fabric.

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 and Rebirth: Representing new beginnings, Buddleja madagascariensis, or Butterfly Bush, often symbolizes the start of something fresh due to its prolific blooming and attractiveness to butterflies, which are creatures that signify transformation and rebirth.
    • Attraction: The Butterfly Bush is symbolic of allure and magnetism because it has the unique ability to attract a variety of pollinators with its vibrant colors and sweet fragrance.
    • Protection: In some cultures, the Butterfly Bush is believed to have protective qualities, symbolizing shelter and safety for creatures like butterflies, signifying a haven for those who need it.
    • Growth and Proliferation: The rapid growth and spreading nature of the Butterfly Bush can symbolize personal growth and the idea of flourishing in one's environment.

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

    The Butterfly Bush (Buddleja madagascariensis) should be watered deeply so that water reaches the roots, approximately once a week, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. In hotter, drier periods, watering frequency may increase to twice a week. Typically, use 1 to 1.5 gallons per watering session for mature plants, ensuring you're not just wetting the surface but soaking down to the roots. During the winter or in cooler climates, reduce watering to prevent root rot, as the plant requires less moisture due to slower growth rates.

  • sunLight

    The Butterfly Bush thrives in full sun conditions, requiring a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight each day. The ideal spot for this plant is in an unobstructed southern or western exposure where it can receive ample sunlight while being protected from harsh midday heat in extremely hot climates. Sufficient light is crucial for plentiful flowering.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Butterfly Bush prefers temperatures ranging between 60°F and 80°F but can tolerate conditions as low as 20°F and as high as over 100°F for short periods. The ideal temperature conditions for its growth and flowering are warm daytime temperatures with cooler nighttime temperatures, which help to enhance blooming. It is somewhat cold-hardy but should be protected from frost, which can damage the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune the Butterfly Bush annually in late winter or early spring to encourage new growth and more abundant flowering. Cut back the stems to about a foot above ground level, as the plant flowers on new wood. Pruning helps maintain the desired shape, removes any dead or diseased wood, and rejuvenates the plant for the upcoming season. Prune lightly throughout the growing season to deadhead spent flowers and to promote continuous blooming.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Madagascar Butterfly Bush prefers well-drained soil mixed with organic matter like peat moss or compost, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Madagascar Butterfly Bush should be repotted every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its current pot.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Madagascar Butterfly Bush thrives in moderate humidity levels, around 40-50%.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place near a sunny window and ensure moderate humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Full sun is ideal; shelter from strong winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Buddleja madagascariensis, commonly known as the Madagascar Butterfly Bush, typically begins its life when seeds germinate in moist, well-drained soil. Following germination, the seedlings grow rapidly, developing into young plants with lance-shaped leaves and branching stems. As they mature, the plants enter a vegetative stage where they focus on leaf and stem growth. Once they reach maturity, usually within a few years, they produce clusters of small, fragrant, tubular orange-yellow flowers, attracting butterflies and other pollinators, usually during late winter to early spring. After successful pollination, the flowers develop into small capsules containing many seeds. The plant then disperses its seeds to complete the cycle, and may also propagate vegetatively through cuttings or division.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for Buddleja madagascariensis, commonly known as Madagascar Butterfly Bush, is by semi-hardwood cuttings. This process typically takes place during the late summer. A 4 to 6 inch (10 to 15 cm) cutting is taken from a healthy, mature plant. The lower leaves are removed, and the cut end is dipped in rooting hormone to encourage root development. The cutting is then planted in a well-draining soil mix and kept moist and warm, but not in direct sunlight until roots have formed, which generally takes a few weeks. A plastic cover or propagation dome can help maintain humidity levels around the cutting, enhancing the chances of successful rooting.