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How Are Butterfly Bushes Started, Are They By Seed?

Shirley Asked

How are butterfly bushes started, are they by seed?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Shirley: Thank you for your question. Butterfly bushes (Buddleia) are a nice addition to a-sun loving garden. Hence their name, they attract butterflies and provide mid- to late-season color with their large, prolific blooms. These herbaceous shrubs are quite easy to propagate. This can be done either by collecting seed or by taking softwood cuttings. To collect seed you will want to let the pod dry on the plant. This will happen later in the fall into the early winter. After the pods have dried, go ahead and harvest your seed. The seeds are very small, so when you go to break open the pod do not be surprised to see more of a powdery substance than any large seeds. After you harvest the seed, you can directly sow or save them and sow them next spring. They may not come true to seed, meaning you could get a different color bloom than that of the plant you harvested the seeds from. Taking a cutting is just as simple and with this type of propagation you will get the same color bloom as the plant you take the cutting from. Take a cutting of 4-6 inches from new growth and remove the lower foliage. Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone and plant them in a peat-based potting mixture. Place out of direct sunlight and keep the soil evenly moist. The cutting should root in 2-3 weeks.

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