How to grow a buddleia tree?

Buddleja is one of the most beautiful flowering bushes and is Britain’s most popular summer shrub. It comes from Asia. There are more than hundred species of this plant that have spread from India, South Africa and China to America. Buddleias are available in beautiful colors which include, white, yellow, pink, purple, blue and red. These beautiful summer lilacs giving off a very sweet fragrance attract birds as well as pollinators like bees & butterflies. They also attract large and bright winged insects towards them.

Buddleia plants are not to be confused with spring lilacs. They are large in size with vibrant colors and sweet smell (honey like), that is why it is a best choice for the people who want to attract wildlife creatures such as birds and insects. They have honey scented gorgeous flowers that attract butterflies. It is perfect choice for nature loving people in order to bring beauty in their gardens. It should be kept in mind that its name does not indicate that it is a ‘host plant’ for butterflies. Butterfly bush does not support any kind of butterfly lifecycle and reproduction. They are a source of nectar for some adult butterflies and caterpillars do not feed on them. They bloom exuberantly during summer when many of the plants do not flower.


  1. To grow buddleia tree well in a pot, you will have to follow some steps;
  2. Choose a pot of at least 300 mm depth and width.
  3. Position the pot in sunny area.
  4. Make it sure that your plant is protected from strong winds.
  5. Fill the pot with good quality potting mix.
  6. Plant buddleia in the pot and backfill it gently with water and soil (potting mix).
  7. Feed your plant fortnightly from spring to autumn.


The original name for buddleia was summer lilac, which was changed in 1920s and was replaced with butterfly bush. The name Buddleja was given by Linneaus.

He named it after Botanist Adam Buddle and is preferred by most of the botanists. Buddleia davidii was named after Armond David who shipped live Panda from China to Paris for the very first time.

When to grow and prune your buddleia?

Plants need great care and attention. If you have no free time, do not decide to plant. In order to grow fully, buddleia needs full sun. They need warmer location to grow efficiently. They are able to withstand half shady spots too. The bushes are placed into a solitary position, ideally. Buddleia grows best in late autumn and spring seasons. They are able to withstand drastic weather conditions and is a low effort plant. They can also withstand winters.

Pruning of buddleia tree should be done in early spring season, usually in march. If you prune during early spring frost then it will cause damage to your plant.

Waiting to plant until late in summer can also be deadly for buddleia. If you are living in a colder region then you will have to keep an eye on daily weather forecast to take preventive measures. They grow in bunches of stems, prune the plant by cutting such stems in a downward direction.

Pro tips:

Size of the fully grown buddleia should be noticed while planting and make sure that you have left a plenty of space for the plant to grow fully. As you know that a buddleia tree is a fast-growing tree, you will have to do quite a bit of trimming or pruning in order to keep it clean and neat.

Do not try to plant them under other trees.

Soil Type:

Soil should be carefully chosen. Loosen and permeable soils with compost

are preferred to grow a buddleia. Constantly moist soils and heavy soils are not recommended. Too much fertilizer in the soil will promote growth of leaf over flower production. High quality potting soil will help to improve the capacity of storage of sandy soils. If you are using an ordinary balcony soil, you should make it permeable by adding an equal amount of coarse sand.


Buddleia is an invasive neophyte which can strongly spread as well as impede the growth of other plants. In order to prevent such conditions, remove the older inflorescence constantly. Buddleias can be multiplied well with regular cuttings and layers.

Diseases and pests:

Narrow leaves: This disease can be caused by viruses. Leaves become crinkled and yellow like mosaic patterns can be seen on them. This disease results when the plant is over fertilized with nitrogen. If this disease appears in your buddleia, completely remove the plant and nitrogen based over fertilization should be avoided.

There is not any other remedy.


Leaf bugs and Nematodes: An infestation with leaf bugs on buddleia plant will appear as brown yellowish spots of the leaf bugs on the leaves. Malformed blooms and shoot tips are some other indicators. The torpor parasite can be shaken on an underlayer, in order to prevent this condition. Buddleia plants that are affected should be sprayed on with a soft soap solution.

Thread worms or nematodes are considered as beneficial insects or parasites.

But in some conditions, they can also cause damage to the plant tissue. Yellowish spots appear on the leaves which become brownish later on. Such leaves will fall. Over fertilization with nitrogen is the main cause and must be prevented. Affected plants must be destroyed as it is the only remedy to fight with such parasites. Nitrogen levels should be maintained in fertilizers.

Ways to propagate buddleia:

Rather than propagating vegetatively, buddleia bushes rely on the dispersal of seeds to reproduce. They can be easily propagated by seeds, regular cuttings as well as division.

From seeds:

Buddleias are not a sterile hybrid. Each buddleia flower produces a pod full of viable seeds. So, they can easily be propagated by growing seeds, but it is easier to propagate by cuttings. Seeds can be collected when they are dried and before they spread with wind. They need to be pre-chilled for weeks before planting. Seeds require plenty of light for germination and need to be covered with soil. They take months to germinate, so you will have to be patient if you are growing buddleia from a seed. Fine seeds of buddleia must not be covered because they need light for germination.

From Cuttings:

This is an easiest way to propagate buddleia. Take a tip of the branch in summer or spring. Make cuttings of at least three inches in length. Remove the leaves from bottom. Try to make an angled cut. Angled cuttings allow better absorption of nutrients making rooting much easier. Stick the cuttings into moist and peaty sand or soil. Place in a shady area to keep it warm as well as moist.

From divisions:

Buddleias can also be propagated by root division. This needs to be done in fall or spring. Growing a buddleia depends on the area where you live. Carefully dig up bushes. Remove the excess soil or compost. You can separate the roots either by hands or by using a spade shovel. Spade shovel is used in order to divide the plants. They can be transplanted in containers or can be placed in other suitable areas of interests.

Growing a buddleia in garden:

They are a great choice for long-term rockeries and perform best when planted in sunny area or spot. Depending on a variety, you should plant buddleias 6 to 10 feet apart from each other. It will give your garden a gorgeous display. Plant them in spring or autumn and water them thoroughly. To plant buddleia tree in your garden, follow the following steps carefully;

  1. Choose a sunny place in your garden and prepare a planting area by digging in Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver.
  2. Dig a hole and place the buddleia in the bottom of it.
  3. Backfill it gently with soil and water. Chose the soil type wisely because they will not grow well if the soil tends to retain a lot of moisture in winter season.
  4. Now mulch it with an organic mulch, for example, sugar cane.
  5. Feed the plant fortnightly from spring to autumn in order to encourage healthy growth of leaves and flowers.

The buddleia plants can be planted inside the earth. Plant it as deep as it was previously inside the earth which should be pressed on and watered appropriately.

Buddleia can also be planting in a bucket due to its low maintenance nature.

Some people also turn their buddleia bush into a tree for a cascade of beautiful flowers that attract butterflies. A buddleia bush can be trained into a small tree which is perfect for a small garden.

·      Choosing a leader

Choose a young plant which is a foot tall and select the straightest upright stem as a leader. Now insert a stake next to the leader which will keep it to grow straight as well as tall. Use a nylon stocking or strips of fabrics to tie a leader with a stake. You must leave

some of the side stems. This will help the plant to gather enough energy to grow properly. Remove suckers that may form at the base. Buddleia grows quickly. Within a month, they become large enough that they require a staking.

·      Pinching and pruning to shape the tree

When your tree grows 4 feet tall, cut off all the shoots that are formed along the leader. If the bush looks overcrowded, remove the older branches completely.

·      Trimming for flowers to bloom

Pinch back the tips of buddleia branches when the head begins to round out. It will encourage your tree to grow more forming a thick display of blooms. A taller stake must be introduced in order to support buddleia when it grows. Insert the new and taller stake in the same spot. Carefully insert the new stake to avoid any kind of damage to the roots. Tie the trunk and adjust them occasionally. When the trunk of the tree becomes thicker and stronger, remove the stake. But if your tree is growing in a windy spot, leave the stake for extra support.

·      Pruning the tree to maintain its shape

Remove older branches of buddleia tree every year. Do a bit of shaping after the tree flowers and trim the sprouts. Regular cutting at the right time with right intensity is recommended because it will improve the amounts of blossoms. The shoots of the buddleia will grow more strongly. More shoots will grow with panicles. Withered shoot panicles should be removed.

How to care for buddleia plant afterwards?

  • Spread 6 inches of an organic mulch around the stump. This will help your buddleia to retain moisture and control weeds.
  • If you want to plant more new buddleia trees or bushes, plant them few feet away from the previously existing plants. You should make sure that all the plants have enough space to grow.
  • Water your plant appropriately. The amount of water depends upon the season in which they are growing. Young buddleias need to be watered thoroughly. They can

tolerate droughts but prolonged dry soil can cause serious damage. That is why, regular watering is very important and there should not be any compromise in this case. Water the soil thoroughly, so that the soil becomes moist. Before a buddleia tree blooms, water it once a week. When your tree has grown fully, it will not require a lot of watering. Water it less and check the soil regularly.

  • Avoid fertilizing too much because it will promote leaf growth over production of flowers.

These trees are very late to break their dormancy. In warmer climates, the buddleia bushes grow into trees and develop the trunks that peel

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