Butterfly bush-friend of foe?

lisa_in_pa(z6 PA)April 29, 2005

Someone gave me one for my birthday-a beatiful dark purple one. Havn't planted it yet, and I heard somewhere that they are considered to be invasive. Any truth to this? Will it escape from my 1/10 acre in the middle of town? I was really curious to see what kind of butterflies I might get with this, but I don't want to be part of the problem. Advice please! :)


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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Lisa, it is true that they can reseed into natural areas. It's also true that they are great for attracting butterflies. If you are diligent about deadheading the spent flowers you can control the reseeding issues. And if you are really in the middle of town away from any natural areas, my humble and strictly personal opinion is that it will be okay.



    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 3:04PM
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I have one, and it has not been invasive with me, not even any stray seedlings. I live in the suburbs and only cut back the bush once a year.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 3:24PM
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lisa_in_pa(z6 PA)

Thanks folks!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 4:00PM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Lisa - I got rid of mine because deadheading them was very tough to keep up with - and the open area near me that was recently disturbed ended up having zillions of seedlings all over it. It was scary. I know they weren't due to mine, but it really underlined the potential invasiveness of this species around here to me. So I decided they just were not worth the risk - I have plenty of natives that the butterflies adore.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 12:42PM
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Frankly, if you plant a NE aster next to a butterfly bush, the butterflies will ignore the Buddleia and flock to the aster every time.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 4:19PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

my neighbors has butterfly bushes and i have a flower garden of native plants. My garden has asters, milkweeds, black eyed susans, eupatorium, culversoot, coneflowers, silene regia etc etc... i have way more butterfies in this perrenial flower garden than she has on her bushes. it makes sense that the butterflies are going to be attracted to the plants that they evolved and adapted with rather than an imported species.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 4:44PM
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flowersandthings(MidAtlantic 6/7)

I personally don't think in PA that it has great potential of becoming a noxious weed so you have to weigh.... am I more worried about it reseeding into the wild an disturbing native plants? or do I want to provide forage for bees and butterflies? Disturbance of native plants is a problem but only with plants that pose this risk in pa again I doubt this would become a real problem..... I don't think the usda even has it listed on the trouble or "potential" trouble list..... there are many other plants to worry about that disturb native flora on the other hand the fauna..... bees (honey bees especially) and many butterflies are endangered due to loosing their "habitat" and things to forage..... Especially in the northeast were developement is rampant is this a problem.... tearing out old bushes and shrubs and flowers etc. woods and fields and planning and building new developments planted at least at first with just a few "background" junipers and evergreens and impatiens in the summer is hardly a good environment for food for butterflies etc. what it looks like to them in a near empty banquet table! Thus many species are starving.... I'd say plant the butterfly bush and give them something to eat! :) If you're concerned for the enviroment etc. and local fauna in particular plant some more plants for native birds (berry nut plants etc.) and some native shrubs etc. that provide forage (food) for butterflies etc. and forage for their larvae . :)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 5:21PM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Flowersandthings - I am in PA and I have seen this very plant being very invasive around me, as I noted above. Like everyone has mentioned, plant something NATIVE for the butterflies to eat - either as adults or as larvae and you're doing them more of a favor than planting something that has the potential to compete with the remaining natives!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 8:25PM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

Flowersandthings i couldnt disagree more. This species sometimes displaces food plants for the butterfly larva when in escapes into disturbances wich themselves are all the more frequent, so IMHO it may be better for the butterflies if you planted natives.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 9:53PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

It's all about food for the larvae of the butterflies....buddleia is not a larval food for butterflies. Sure..adult butterflies land on it...but in the long run, someone would be better off finding out what native plants are food for the larvae of butterflies. That's what really matters. April

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 11:20PM
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MarcR(z 8 OR)

The only rampantly invasive Budleja ('Butterfly Bush')is B. davidii. There are many others available like B. globosa, and B. marrubifolia, which are well behaved and to butterflies and people as the invasive ones.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 3:46AM
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Vera_EWASH(z5 EasternWA)

A little late too post, but had to disagree with the comment regarding Butterfly Bush having never been added to any weed lists...there are a few states that have added it to Noxious weed lists....including WA state that has added it as of this year...B. davidii


    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 9:43PM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

My mother and I have had it in our gardens in central Jersey for twelve years or so - I've seen two seedlings in that time and we aren't great about deadheading. Clay soil if that matters. It is a great attractor for tiger swallowtails - twenty or so flitting around is a sight. Never seen any Lochinch seedlings at all.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 12:38AM
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Buddleja davidii has been listed as invasive in PA.

Here is a link that might be useful: Weeds Gone Wild

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 9:51AM
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loris(Z6 NJ)

Butterfly bush (Buddleja) is listed in "Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas". The authors define mid-Atlantic as "Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia". I suppose it's possible it's not a problem in all the states listed, but this does put enough of a doubt in my mind that personally, I'd rather not have it in my garden (I was actually glad when some careless workmen trampled a small one I had).

I'll also mention that sometimes seedlings from invasives may show up far from the parent plant, but not near it when spread by wildlife.

Please do not get bent out of shape at this posting. I'm trying to share information, not tell people what to do

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 10:40AM
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Joepyeweed said it best--the butterflies ignore the butterfly bush and head right for the natives. Take out the bush and put in a nice big clump of ironweed, liatris, NE aster, bergamot, little bluestem. You'll see a lot more butterflies over a much longer period.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 2:38PM
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