Butterfly lilac, Buddleja davidii - planting time, plants and care

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Butterfly lilac, Buddleja davidii - planting time, plants and care: Buddleja

A lilac loved and visited by so many butterflies fully deserves its name butterfly lilac. He is a living invitation to these winged beings. As soon as he blossoms, they are buzzing around him. This sight is reason enough to give him a place in the garden. After all, nature is not just there for us humans.

Growth and flowering

The shrub from the family of the brown-wort family easily reaches a height of two meters. In width Buddleja davidii easily develops to one meter. The butterfly shrub is regularly cut strongly, but the cut does not diminish its appearance in the long run. He is good again. After just a few weeks of growth, he has grown back into a beautiful bush. At the end of the branches flower spikes form, which bloom from July. The flowers delight until the first frosts. Depending on the variety, the summer lilac blooms in white, yellow, pink or blue violet. He is known among hobby gardeners under many names: ordinary summer lilac, butterfly shrub or lilac spear. The summer lilac is already available in more than one hundred species. With good care he will be at least ten years old.


The summer lilac feels at home in sunny places. A peripheral location with enough space right and left, where he can unfold unhindered, is ideal for him. At the garden border he forms a nice screen, but also as a specimen plant in the middle of the bed he is a great appearance. He loves warmth, but arranges with half shady places. Even with modestly dosed sun he unfolds all his magic. Only the full shade should not be expected of him as a flowering shrub. It would be a pity if he offered only a meager image of a butterfly bush. He may like to have green trees in his back, as long as the other side remains free and gets plenty of sun unhindered. Its rich flower color is even more effective against the rich green background. Here the shrub is also somewhat protected from the wind. Its new branches are thin and can easily be bent by strong winds.

soil quality

Summer lilac - Buddleja

Your summer lilac you should offer optimal soil conditions, so he can flourish accordingly optimally. Do not worry, such a place can be found in any garden, or set up with a little work accordingly. If the soil itself is not ideal, soil improvement measures can work wonders here. The soil on which the butterfly lilac develops particularly well is light and permeable. He should also be dry because the lesser spear neither needs nor likes excessive humidity. The annual flowering mass is dependent on sufficient nutrients, therefore, the soil should not be barren in this regard. Luckily, it can also be helpful with plenty of compost. It tolerates acidic and calcareous soils as long as they are not moist and heavy.

to water

The summer lilac likes dry soil, but still needs regular water in its growing season, to create the enormous increase in branches, leaf mass and last but not least flowers in record time. In the summer months, its soil must always be moist. However, standing water must be avoided. If the soil is permeable, this is easy to follow. A little sand, mixed in when planting, avoids waterlogging later. This lilac likes calcareous water. If you want to pamper him with rainwater, you should first mix it with some lime to meet his needs. Rainwater is not particularly calcareous by itself. After planting, you have to devote even more attention to the casting of the lilac, until it is rooted correctly.


Even if the roots of the butterfly lilac are rich in nutrients in the surrounding soil, it is advisable to fertilize them easily. Especially if the lilac has been at this location for a few years, it will have already brought many nutrients up from the ground. The soil should be re-enriched in the spring after pruning with nutrients. A nitrogenous fertilizer is optimal for this flowering shrub.


Buddleja davidii grows very easily in summer. All that is needed are well-developed, annual shoots of the plant. Of them, only the tip is used, which should be about 15 cm long. Any existing flowers are removed with the secateurs, as well as the bottom pairs of leaves. Two further measures promote rooting:
  • shortening the remaining leaves to about half
  • Use of a special rooting powder
After the rooting treatment, you can plant the branches immediately.

1. Fill a flower pot with a mixture of sand and peat.

SecondInsert the branches a few inches into the ground.

3. Pour the cuttings well.

4. Place a glass container over the cuttings to increase the heat.

5. Place the planter in a light but sun-protected place.

6. Remove the glass regularly to ventilate. Otherwise mold can quickly form due to high humidity.

7. Pour the cuttings so that they are moist but not wet.

8. When the cuttings are rooted, which will be the case in the autumn, the small plantlets can be planted in the garden.

9. Give the young plants a suitable location and prepare the soil.

10. Lay out brushwood or foliage around the planting area. This layer needs young plants in the first three years of life to survive the winter unscathed.


Summer lilac - Buddleja

It's best to buy a butterfly plant in the spring and put it straight into the garden. It comes at a suitable location in well-loosened soil, which was previously enriched with compost. The young plant is kept moist until it grows. Self-grown small plants from cuttings can already be set in the garden in the fall. It is also possible to wait for the coming spring. In this case, the young plant should overwinter in winter quarters. The butterfly shrub also likes to reproduce itself through its seed. Those who want to prevent "wild" sowing should cut off and dispose of timely blooms.

bucket attitude

A butterfly lilac is just beautiful. If you have fallen in love with this colorful shrub, you do not want to give it up. Not even if he can not be offered a garden. This wish can be fulfilled, with a balcony and a sufficiently large bucket. In winter, a cool wintering room must be available. Unlike many plants, the butterfly lilac is non-toxic and can therefore be safely cultivated by families with children or pets in the immediate vicinity.

To cut

The summer lilac grows more beautiful and flowers more splendidly if it is cut regularly. Although the cut is not mandatory, it should be done regularly for these reasons. If there is no time for that, it does not have a bad impact. Next time, the cut can be made up. It does not have to wait long, because the butterfly lilac can be cut in winter and summer. The winter cut primarily serves to rejuvenate the plant, while the effects of the summer cut on the flower are clearly visible. Regardless of when the cut is made, a few basic rules should be followed:
  • Cut off dead branches on the heel
  • even sick branches have to be cut at the base
  • cut sick parts of the plant immediately, regardless of the time
  • sharp and cleaned tool is required
  • variable cutting heights allow for a denser crown
  • the fewer eyes remain, the more dense the lilac grows
  • ground-level radical section is possible
  • Radical section inhibits growth, leaving abundance of flowers

winter pruning

In a winter cut, old branches have to make way for new shootings. That's why it's already cut in the cold season, even before the growth begins.
  • ideal period is November to March
  • on frost-free days
  • the day should not be sunny
  • all branches are cut back
  • Cut last year 5 cm into old wood
  • with older shrubs all old branches should go away
Tip: In winter, a lilac shrub that has become too powerful can also tolerate a radical cut.

summer pruning

A properly executed summer cut extends the fragrant floral pleasure. In about May or June, the shrub can be cut in half. The flower will then appear at a later date, on the other hand remains longer. Until October, such a pruned butterfly bush can spray its colorful charm. A second option for a summer cut is offered as soon as this butterfly magnet is blooming. In the months of June and July, all faded panicles should be removed consistently. The individual branches are cut by half. Under optimal conditions, this section follows a second flowering period. Depending on the weather, this is expected in August or September.
Tip: Do not put faded panicles on the compost pile. The seeds can survive well there and later, when the mature compost is applied in the garden, sow in unwanted areas again.

Wechselblättriger summer lilac

Summer lilac - Buddleja

This variety can easily be recognized by its overhanging growth. It blooms on two-year shoots, which is why the cut must be done differently. After flowering, the plant is only slightly lighted. Older shoots are then cut directly at the neck. In addition, no further cutting measures are required. If for some reason a strong pruning is required, you will have to do without the next flower round.


The summer lilac is irresistible not only for the butterflies. Even green bugs like this shrub. But unlike the pretty butterflies, the green bugs are not attracted by delicious nectar. They cause direct damage to the summer lilac. And unlike the butterflies, they are hardly noticeable to the human eye. Their green color turns them into invisible beings on equally green leaves. Caterpillars and birds in turn have this pest on the menu. They support the gardener without being asked, even before he has noticed the infestation at all. If the diligence of the natural bugs killer is not enough, the owner of the summer lilac can intervene supportive. There are several natural methods available for controlling this plague. To swing here with a chemical club is unforgivable for nature. Just try it in the following way:
  • Prepare lubricating suds
  • spray on the affected areas
  • spray early in the morning
  • repeat after a week
  • alternatively or if soft soap is not sufficient: treatment with neem oil,
  • is also called Niemöl
  • acts stronger than soft soap
Tip: Neemöl is available in garden shops and pharmacies.


Narrow leaf foliage of the summer lilac is caused by a virus. The leaves curl and show yellow spots. If you discover these signs of their lilac, you and the butterflies sadly before a sad farewell. This virus can not be effectively controlled, the Buddleja is nothing more to help. The complete plant must be disposed of. Of course not in the compost, where never belong to sick plants. The residual waste bin is the right place to go.


Every spring, the butterfly lilac repeats and blossoms on these new impulses. It therefore does not require large protective measures in winter. An exception are young plants that have not been outdoors for long. They did not have enough time to become hardy enough. But with additional measures, they also come through the winter well. These should concentrate on the root area and protect the root ball from big frosts. Cover the ground early in the fall with a thick layer of brushwood or foliage. Summer lilac kept in a bucket can wait for the coming spring in a cool room.

Video Board: How Do I Plant & Care for a Butterfly Bush? : Garden Savvy.

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