• IvyShepherd

Why you should grow buddleia in your garden

A spotlight on the beautiful butterfly bush

The buddleia is not called the butterfly bush for nothing.

Buddleias are well known for their attractiveness to bees and butterflies. They are absolutely packed with nectar and pollen and as a result, you will see them packed with pollinators.

They can be quite a divisive plant among gardeners, as some regard buddleias as a weed. And indeed, they are on the invasive plant list for their ability to colonise anywhere, particularly poor ground such as wasteland, along railway lines and in brickwork.

So where do we stand on buddleias?

As a garden plant, with a little bit of care and maintenance, they can exist quite happily and not take over our gardens. There are even some buddleias that have been bred to be sterile, therefore removing their colonising habit.

There are many different varieties of buddleia, so there is one for every size of garden. The davidii variety is known for being a very large shrub, but there are now more compact varieties that grow very happily in pots and containers.

As a semi-deciduous shrub, they are in practice fairly low maintenance. It is recommended to cut them back hard in spring, as they flower on new wood.

By cutting them back in the spring, this means that they will flower later in summer, which is good news for pollinators. It will give them a source of pollen and nectar later on in the season when most other plants have stopped flowering.

Once my buddleias are in flower, I keep a sharp eye on their spent blooms. Unless you have a sterile variety, by deadheading when the flowers have gone over, it will keep the buddleia in check and stop it from re-seeding itself. I love buddleias, but there is only so much space in the garden.

I wouldn’t have a garden without a buddleia.

And the reason for this is how valuable they are to pollinators. If you find a sunny, well-drained spot in your garden, the buddleia will reward you with so many fragrant, nectar-rich blooms, flowering through the late summer.

It’s summer colour benefits us, but it will also draw all those butterflies to your garden and other beneficial insects, such as the hummingbird hawk-moth.

They may be well known for being invasive, but with some research and with a bit of maintenance, we can ensure that buddleias stay in check, whilst still providing a much-needed source of food for our garden pollinators.

Yes, I would never be without a buddleia in my garden.

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