Weeping Butterfly Bush Guide: Identify (Pics) Growing Tips, Zones, Plant Care

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | January 12, 2024

Woman holding a weeping butterfly bush flower after learning to identify butterfly bush growing zones, how to plant butterfly bushes, as well as the danger of invasive butterfly bush to pollinators and how to care for butterfly bush plants.

The Weeping Butterfly bush is a favorite among many gardeners.

By attracting pollinators like hummingbirds, butterflies and bees by producing lots and lots of nectar, these plants not only look stunning, they provide a crucial task for maintaining the health of the environment.

However, many people wonder if they pose a danger to butterflies.

And, if you’ve never seen a Weeping Butterfly Bush1 and you plan to introduce this plant into your garden, knowing how to identify the various types available and how to ensure that it grows healthy should be your first steps.

Not particularly tall even as a tree, this deciduous and sometimes semi-evergreen plant is easily recognizable by its long flowers. They bloom in summer in a range of colors from purple to white, attracting butterflies and other pollinators to your yard.

Bearing in mind that there are more than 100 species, you’ll have plenty to choose from, and this guide explains everything you need to know about growing Weeping Butterfly bush in your garden.

Weeping Butterfly Bush

(Buddleja lindleyana)

Weeping Butterfly Bush in oval frame on green background.
  • Family: Scrophulariaceae
  • Genus: Buddleja
  • Leaf: Gray-silver on one side and green on the other. Between 2-4 inches long
  • Bark: Light brown when immature, turning into a burgundy red with age
  • Seed: The seeds are extremely small, with several of them growing in one pod
  • Blossoms: The flowers bloom in the summer until the fall
  • Fruit: There are no fruits that grow from this bush
  • Native Habitat: Grows well in fields, on the edge of forests, and along roadsides
  • Height: 4-15 Feet
  • Canopy: 5-10 Feet
  • Type: Deciduous / Semi-evergreen
  • Native Growing Zone: Native to China, it has since become commonplace in North America
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Ranking

Least Concern


Butterfly Bush (Buddleja lindleyana): Weeping Butterfly Bush Growing Zone

You won’t find a Weeping Butterfly Bush just growing anywhere, but they do have a tendency to spread out in regions that support their needs.

Since their emigration from Asia to the United States in the 1800s, this plant has become invasive in zones 5-9, thriving and propagating aggressively in states with regular temperatures of 90° F.

It is common to see them merging into a green background, in California, Florida, and South Carolina, just their colorful flowers and their long, serrated leaves, separating them from the evergreen backdrop.

Winter months are also not a deal breaker as they go dormant after all the flowers and leaves have fallen away from the plants but if the weather stays moderate during these colder periods,2 the leaves and flowers may well hang around.

They can become problematic for native plants due to their capacity to reproduce quickly, their tiny winged seeds carried far on wide by the slightest puff of wind when the pods crack open in spring.

Due to their diminutive sizes and by sheer volume, there are over 40,000 on just one flower, they can dominate a landscape, the quickly maturing shrubs taking over the undergrowth within a short period.

Over 80% of those seeds germinate but even those that don’t take on the first year after being dispersed can lay dormant in the soil for up to 5 years before making a grand entrance when they burst free.

Closeup of a Butterfly Bush or Summer Lilac plant showing purple flowers with a butterfly on it.

(Image: AnRo000226)

Riverbanks, the undergrowth and the edge of forests, roadsides, and within fields are where they will be spotted as long as there is sufficient sunlight and the soil is well-draining.

Too much water in the ground and root rot will set in, not enough sunlight and the drooping flowers will be a sign that they are none too happy.

Provide those two necessities, and the plant is happy to grow wherever it can lay down its roots, even going so far as the elbow out the local vegetation to get the best sunspot.

How Fast Do Butterfly Bushes Grow? (From a Weeping Bush to a Butterfly Tree)

One of the reasons why they are classed as invasive in some states is the ability the Weeping Butterfly Bush has of growing quickly and dominating the surrounding ecosystem aggressively.

Once the roots have settled down, it is not unusual for a first-year growth spurt of 3 feet, with the second year witnessing a growth spurt 2 or 3 times as fast as that, a pace that can be overwhelming in a restricted area.

Managing them can be challenging after they have become established in the area, especially if no mitigating measures are taken. It is not uncommon to see numerous butterfly shrubs rapidly taking over a field in a matter of years.

But that’s not to say that the sight would be unwelcome as the flowers are engaging and fragrant, and a neglected land mass can be transformed into a colorful hive of pollinating insect activity in no time.3

Shrubs can grow to heights of over 10 feet and just as wide, or they can grow 2 feet high and still up to 10 feet wide. They tend to be very bushy so require, and will take, a lot of space.

As a tree, heights of 15 feet can be reached, a thin gray trunk supporting the weight of the large flowers drooping under their own weight.

It is possible to control a land invasion on your land if desired.

All that is required is to remove the heads of the flowers before the seeds are about to be dispersed and spread another ground-covering species that is not so easily pushed around.

Uprooting the shrubs is also an option to clear some space, but complete removal has to be done or they will regrow.

Even when disposing of the uprooted plant, every part of it has to be thrown away or burnt. If not, a fallen branch will seize the opportunity to regrow back into a new shrub as soon as you turn your back on it.

How To Identify Weeping Butterfly Bush

The best growing conditions for Weeping Butterfly Bush can make the shrubs grow incredibly dense and healthy, with some cultivars that have escaped into the wild flowering as early as June, and lasting all the way til October.

In your garden, this feature can create a breath of scented air that will waft throughout the area, and if you have planted strategically, the panicles can be a mixture of colors, sizes, and shapes that will enhance the entire landscape.

Weeping Butterfly Bush Flower

Undoubtedly the flowers are the centerpiece of this compact bush, ranging in colors from white, lavender, blue, purple, orange, pink, and yellow. Each distinct color has its own scent, some stronger than others, some sweet, and others mild and fresh with the scent of honey.

The nectar within those flowers is irresistible to butterflies and pollinators, all of whom don’t seem to mind that the flowers are in fact just called florets.

This is because rather than growing singly, the florets grow by the dozen on trumpet-shaped structures that are called inflorescences.4 Each floret is a tube with just 4 teeny petals to give it that flowery shape.

The technical name is a panicle and they can grow up to a foot in length and have a tendency to droop at those sizes.

With over 100 different species, the panicles are sure to have some variations. Here are just a few colorful ones:

Graphics of butterfly bush flower identification, showing Orange Ball Tree, Fountain Butterfly Bush, Tepozan Blanco, Pozancle, and Japanese Butterfly Bush images.

(Image: Orange Ball Tree Flower by ALEXNEWWORLD23 Tepozan Blanco Flower Photo by Andrew Brookes25)

Butterfly BushScientific NameDescription
Orange Ball TreeBuddleja globosaRather than displayed on a lengthy panicle, the florets are arranged in the shapes of small orange balls
Fountain Butterfly BushBuddleja alternifolia5The florets grow on racemes on small stalks called pedicels
Tepozan BlancoBuddleja cordataWhite/yellow, the florets grow in the shape of tiny bells from individual stalks from a central stem
PozancleBuddleja americanaYellow outside with a white interior, the florets have a few branches sprouting from the main stem
Japanese Butterfly BushBuddleja japonicaLilac and white, the arrangement is similar to panicles but they are formed like little trumpets

The different growing zones for Weeping Butterfly Bush, where to grow, and the amount of sunlight they receive can determine how vibrant the flowers turn out, irrespective of the shape of the panicle.

Hardy and easy to care for under most conditions, a Butterfly Bush can be grown in a corner of the garden where its growth and height can be controlled, yet it can still be an eye-catching ornamental feature that can be appreciated center stage.

Weeping Butterfly Bush: Identify With Pictures

More often than not, choosing a Weeping Butterfly Bush to incorporate into your planned landscape can boil down to the color of the flowers.

Fortunately, they are easy to care for and the aromas the different types emit are captivating.

But you don’t have to restrict yourself to just one of the many colors. Have a quick read of the small range below and implement any one of the styles to add new colors and contrasts to liven up your green zone.

Graphics of Weeping Butterfly Bush flower identification showing Queen of Hearts, Pugster White, Lilac Cascade, Honeycomb, Sangria, and Black Knight images.

Weeping Butterfly BushColorBush Size
Queen of HeartsRich purpleHeight: 2 – 3 ft.
Width: 3 – 4 ft.
Pugster WhiteCrisp whiteHeight: 2 ft.
Width: 3 ft.
Lilac CascadeVery light lilac-colored flowerHeight: 5 – 6 ft.
Width: 6 ft.
HoneycombA bright gorgeous yellow with an orange centerHeight: 5 – 7 ft.
Width: 4 – 5 ft.
SangriaPurple/red with a tinge of whiteHeight: 3 – 4 ft.
Width: 3 – 4 ft.
Black KnightDark rich purple coloring with a muted yellow centerHeight: 6 – 8 ft.
Width: 4 – 6 ft.
Flutterby Grande Vanilla NectarA muted cream-colored specimenHeight: 4 – 6 ft.
Width: 4 – 6 ft.
Glass SlippersA blend of blue and lilacHeight: 3 ft.
Width: 5 ft.
Miss MollyRich red/pinkHeight: 4 – 5 ft.
Width: 4 – 5 ft.
Sky BlueDelicate light blueHeight: 3 – 5 ft.
Width: 3 – 5 ft.
AttractionDeeply rich red/purpleHeight: 5 – 10 ft.
Width – 5 – 8 ft.
Orange ScepterBright orangeHeight: 6 – 8 ft.
Width: 4 – 6 ft.
Ice ChipBright white Butterfly Bush with a hint of green at the end6Height: 1 – 2 ft.
Width: 2 – 3 ft.
Asian MoonPurple cones with an orange center ringed with whiteHeight: 5 – 7 ft.
Width: 5 – 7 ft.
Kaleidoscope BicolorMulti-colored with yellow/orange and lavender/pink flowersHeight:6 – 8 ft.
Width: 6 – 8 ft.

A little bit of research can go a long way.

Either look online, pick the brains of experienced landscapers, or pop down to your local nursery to find out what types of trees and types of Butterfly Bushes are available in your area and, of course, which one would look good in your garden.

Weeping Butterfly Bush Seeds

If you have decided to grow your Weeping Butterfly Bush from a seed, there are a few steps to follow to make it a success, especially if you’re gathering them yourself rather than purchasing from a store.

As you’re rummaging around the ground in the vicinity of a Butterfly Shrub or tree, make sure that the seed pods you collect haven’t cracked open as the seeds may have dried out and be unusable.

To ensure they are still viable, just check that the blooms are intact and still brown then carry them indoors to eliminate any residual moisture. To do so, spread them out on a paper towel and let them air dry naturally.

Gently tap the seeds free and verify that both ends of the seed are slightly open and the brown embryo is in the center, as without the embryo the seed will be worthless and will not germinate.

Before starting the next stage, purchase a seed-starting kit beforehand and a seed-starting formula so the seeds can be bedded down nicely.

Growing a Weeping Butterfly Bush From a Seed (Growing Tips, Zones)

A few planting tips for Weeping Butterfly Bush for sowing the seeds indoors revolve around starting this process at least 10 weeks before the last frost of spring so they will emerge when the temperature has increased.

Closeup of Butterfly Bush showing clusters of purple flowers and green leaves.

(Image: István Asztalos27)

Also, set the ambient temperature between 70 – 75°F, prepare a few cells, and ensure that the soil is nice and moist in each of them before scattering a few of the seeds on the surface.

Just a few, mind. When propagating a Butterfly Bush you don’t need to sprinkle too many seeds.

If you do you’ll be spending too much time later on thinning the herd, so to speak.

  • Gently press the seeds so they are just below the surface.7 Burying them deeper is unnecessary and may well be counterproductive.
  • Cover the pot with a plastic sheet or dome to retain moisture and prevent the soil from drying out too quickly
  • Place them near a windowsill or where the containers will be exposed to indirect light
  • Between 7-21 days, the seedlings will start to make an appearance and will need 16 hours a day of good sunshine from this point of the Butterfly Bush propagation process. If not naturally, then fluorescent plant lights will be perfect substitutes
  • If possible, set them on a timer so the plants will have 8 hours of downtime in the dark which helps them to grow stronger. As they grow, increase the intensity of the light
  • When a couple of true leaves have appeared, transfer the seedlings 2 at a time into 4-inch pots. Then apply a starter fertilizer solution to prepare them to be transplanted outside
  • To prevent any shock to the system on moving to the great outdoors, acclimatize the seedlings over the course of a week by leaving them outdoors in a sheltered position out of direct sunlight and strong winds
  • If the nights are frosty, cover or shelter them indoors, and then after they have become accustomed to their new conditions a new hole in the ground can be found for them to settle down in

Knowing when to plant Weeping Butterfly Bush for the best yield is crucial for the next stage. Just as the last of the frost has vanished at the start of spring, and the hardness in the ground has softened, then the time has come.

Weeping Butterfly Bush Transplant and Plant Care

Any stress when transplanting a Weeping Butterfly Bush from a sheltered indoor environment to a less controlled,8 unpredictable location, should be avoided.

If handled incorrectly the roots can become too disturbed and that mishandling can prohibit them from becoming properly established in an unfamiliar location which will ultimately affect the plant’s growth.

Closeup of Weeping Butterfly Bush showing a stem with frost-covered flowers and flower buds.

(Image: Ptelea28)

If planting more than one seedling, consider how far apart to plant Weeping Butterfly Bush and also choose a cloudy day or a time when the sun is not blazing down at its peak intensity.

  • Prepare the site by digging the holes 5 – 10 feet apart and twice as deep and twice as wide as the root ball
  • As you turn the soil, add in compost or other organic matter.
  • When unpotting the seedling, carefully extract it from the container and gently loosen the roots from the potting soil. This will encourage the roots to grow stronger
  • Partially fill the hole but leave the soil at the bottom loose, not compacted so the roots will be freely able to expand
  • Position the root ball so it is level with the top of the topsoil. Continue to fill in the hole with the remainder of the prepared soil and firmly press down to give the seedling some stability
  • Water then spread a thin layer of mulch around the base, but not against the plant

Mulching will help to control the appearance of weeds. If any do poke through, take them out as they can divert water and nutrients away from your plant just when it needs them most.

At this stage, the watering needs for Weeping Butterfly Bush plants involve careful monitoring of the soil on a weekly basis. If the topsoil is dry 2 inches down then a dose of water should be applied.

Growing a Weeping Butterfly Bush From a Cutting

Butterfly Bush cuttings are another method of propagation that some growers prefer. It doesn’t necessarily speed up the process of how long it takes to grow Weeping Butterfly Bush, but it’s just easier to start using this method rather than foraging or purchasing seeds, and maybe going through the stratification cold treatment process.9

The advantage, however, is that with a cutting the new plant will be a doppelganger of the shrub it’s taken from.

All you’ll need to get your cuttings is a sharp, clean pair of shears and a willing donor.

  • The first thing to be conscious of is that the ideal time to take the cuttings will be in spring or summer.
  • Snip a few branches about 3 inches (7.5cm) long at an angle close to a bud
  • Strip away any leaves and dip the cut ends in a rooting hormone
  • Push a few of them into several pots filled with moist potting soil that drains well
  • As with seeds at the stage, ensure the ambient temperature is between 70 – 75°F and place them where there is indirect sunlight
  • Cover with a plastic sheet or plastic container to retain moisture and prevent premature drying out of the soil
  • A quick tip to know when to add water is when there is no more condensation on the inside of the plastic covering
  • In about 3 to 4 weeks, give the cuttings a little tug to verify that the roots have sprouted
  • Carefully transfer to individual pots which are slightly larger and overwinter indoors without the plastic coverings. Following this Butterfly Bush winter care procedure will enable the roots to become stronger.
    And then when spring rolls around, the pots can be acclimatized in your garden over a period of a week before being transplanted permanently outside.
  • Just as with growing a Weeping Butterfly Bush from a seedling, space them out accordingly in a location that is exposed to 6-8 hours of sunlight, water, and mulch around the base

Water regularly in the morning as and when needed then add a slow-release fertilizer when new leaves appear. This will help to provide extra nutrients to promote healthy plant growth.

Butterflies and the Butterfly Bush: Is There Danger?

What’s a Butterfly plant without Butterflies?

Fortunately, you’ll never have to worry about how to attract the delicate beauties to your flower bed as they are drawn towards these plants almost in a hypnotic state, the lure of the sweet nectar too irresistible.

But, there is a drawback. Although the plants are not a danger, they are invasive, and often take pollinators away from native plants.

Closeupof Lilac Cascade Butterfly Bush showing its clusters of lilac flowers with a Red Admiral Butterfly enjoying the flowers' nectar.

(Image: Krzysztof Niewolny29)

Butterflies arrive in their droves, often laying their larvae on the leaves so they will be close to a food source when they emerge as caterpillars.10

Here are a few examples of the types of butterflies you can expect to see floating from flower to flower every summer:

American Snout

Recognizable not from its dull, muted brown coloring, but the size of its long snout that enables it to those parts other butterflies cannot reach.

Black Swallowtail

Distinguishable from the other Swallowtails by the yellow spots and blue marks contrasting starkly against its black wings. Its size ranges from 2.5 inches to a respectable 4 inches.

Common Checkered-Skipper

Compared to other butterfly species, this one has small checkered wings with a white line along the edges and a much larger body covered with blue fuzzy hair.

Echo Blue

Their wingspan of just 2 to 3 inches makes them one of the smaller butterflies, yet they still manage to stand out due to their unusual bluish coloring and even more unusual triangular brown markings.


Bright orange with black markings, probably one of the most famous butterflies. With a 4-inch wingspan, habitat loss has pushed it into the endangered zone.

Mourning Cloak

Found throughout the U.S., has an almost unkempt appearance, and is one of the longest-living butterflies.

Pearl Crescent

Orange wings with black borders are this butterflies trademark look, but it’s the crescent-like shapes on the underside of the hindwing that reveals its identity.

Red Admiral

Measuring up to 3 inches wide, bright orange to red stripes form marginal bands on their fore and hind wings that stand out against the all-black base.11

Two-Tailed Tiger Swallowtail

The complete opposite of the Black Swallowtail, the Two-Tailed Swallowtail has bright yellow wings with blue and orange markings edged with a black border.

Interspersed among them, if there’s any room, you will also find the occasional hummingbird, types of bees, and wasps feasting on whatever drops of nectar remain. With all this competition and attention from pollinators, every single Weeping Butterfly Bush in your garden is sure to be a hive of activity.

To avoid the danger of distracting pollinators, make sure to control your butterfly bush. Too much spread, and you can unwittingly harm your other plants.

Companion Plants for Growing Weeping Butterfly Bush

Combining more than one Weeping Butterfly Bush inside the confines of a landscape adds a level of contrast that most other species of plants do not bring.

The sheer variety of the colors of Butterfly Bushes not to mention the size and styles of the flowers, will allow you the option of mixing and matching several different textures and scents.

Incorporating other companion plants will contribute to the landscape in other ways that will be beneficial to the entire ecosystem.


The bright vibrant colors of this stunning plant will enhance the entire landscape as will the pollinators it attracts, one of which is the mesmerizing hummingbird.


Apart from their aesthetic appeal, asters attract insects that feed on caterpillars and other invasive pests.


Planting hydrangeas is an inspired option as they make a perfect plant to introduce into your garden, creating a bold backdrop to the Butterfly Bush.

Close up view of Hydrangeas, showcasing its beautiful purple flowers which makes a great companion plant to a Butterfly Bush plant.

(Image: Karsten Paulick30)

Choose the right contrasting color, and their big round blooms will complement the long flowers of the Butterfly Shrub.

Pineapple Sage

As easy to care for as a Butterfly Bush, the Pineapple Sage attracts butterflies, and hoverflies as well as the types of birds that like to feed on nectar and the annoying pests.


This delicate plant has a long taproot that penetrates deep into the ground and is adept at drawing up beneficial amounts of nitrogen.


One of the main reasons to plant an alyssum plant in and around Butterfly Bushes is its attraction of lady beetles and pirate bugs. These particular types of insects are natural hunters of spider mites that have a tendency to plague Butterfly Plants and so they help to control any outbreaks of these pests.12

Using a wide variety of plant species will boost the health, longevity, and appearance of your well-planned landscape.

Choose wisely, and the birds and bees attracted to your garden paradise will keep your plants looking vibratious, and free from bothersome pests intent on doing them harm.

Common Pests of the Weeping Butterfly Bush (Guide)

Most parts of a tree or a bush can be under attack from pests right under your very nose if you ignore the telltale signs.

Some of them will be purely cosmetic, blemishing the leaves with a few black marks, and will not cause any major harm. At first.

The problem with letting pests have free roam over your Butterfly Bush to do as they please will start with the loss of a few leaves and end with the loss of a limb.

The Buddleja Budworm

The Brown Moth is responsible for the appearance of these larvae, laying hundreds of eggs all over the shrub’s leaves and flowers. When the eggs hatch, the larvae act as silent assassins, unseen as they shuffle among the leaves and flowers, chewing away to their heart’s content.

One of the only signs that they are present is when they have engorged themselves to such an extent that they simply fall off the bush.

Any damage is not at first noticeable until the occasional flower falls off and more and more leaves become deformed and lose their rich, green color.

If left to their own devices unchallenged, the flowering capability of the Weeping Butterfly Bush can be severely comprised as well as its overall health.


If you’re not the squeamish type, you can pick the Budworms off by hand, otherwise aggressive pruning will be your best bet. An insecticide spray made from a bacterium found in the soil called spinosad is also an effective treatment.

Within a couple of days, the larvae will begin to die off.

Spider Mites

Actually resembling spiders, they are more dangerous than their minuscule size would have you believe. Hard to see by the naked eye, the sap within the leaves is their intended target, and they feast en masse, wreaking havoc as they travel from leaf to leaf.

Closeup of a plant infected with pests, showing a web on the tip of its stem and tiny spider mites on the leaves.

(Image: Lucis31)

Females can lay 20 eggs a day that hatch in a matter of days. Over a few weeks, hundreds of tiny mites can be present, draining the life out of the leaves at a phenomenal rate.

But what’s even worse is that at the same time they are injecting poison back into the bush, causing the leaves to dry out and discolor.


Insecticidal soaps are proven natural treatments for pest control as is spraying the shrubs with horticultural oils mixed with water.13


Barely 1-2 mm long, these tiny parasites resemble worms and are a problem for Butterfly Shrubs from the ground up.

Almost impossible to notice within the soil at the base of the bush, their presence causes galls to develop on roots, and anything that adversely affects the roots is bad news.

By the time the first symptoms are noticeable, drooping foliage, and maybe a lack of growth, it’ll be far too late.


Not many insecticides are effective at eradicating these parasites. Some gardeners have stated that wood vinegar will kill them off.

Alternatively, if the infection is only small, a quick blast in a microwave of the infested soil has been reported to finish them off.

Japanese Beetles

What’s strange about these hard-shelled beetles is that they are quite attractive. Their bodies have a metallic sheen and they come in a range of flashy hues of green with copper-colored wings.

If only they were beneficial to the Butterfly Bush.

Defoliation is the main concern where they are concerned. They just don’t stop eating or multiplying, newly formed grubs eagerly joining in the feeding frenzy.

Look away for too long and when you turn back all that will be left of your beautiful Butterfly Bush will be a few stalks.


Setting traps to capture the beetles is an effective way to manage the infestation by leading them away, but has only a partial success rate. The most effective natural pest control for Weeping Butterfly Bush for killing the beetles is a healthy spraying of dish soap mixed with water or trying neem oil that will kill them off before they become adults and mate.

Alternatively, shake them loose or pick them off one at a time.


A network of slimy trails is a telltale sign that slugs are slithering all over your plant.14 Another is the large gaping holes in the leaves or huge chunks chomped out of them.

With this level of carnage, they are not easy to overlook and their presence is exposed fairly quickly.


Two novel methods of eliminating them are effective and novel.

The first involves a bowl, a hole in the ground, and a bottle of beer.

Place a steep-sided bowl in a hole with the edge at ground level. Fill ¾ of the way with beer and leave overnight.

Come morning, several slugs should be present floating belly up, drowned when they were too drunk to crawl out of the bowl.

A jar with cornmeal at the base will draw them off the leaves, the smell and lure of food drawing them into the trap. Unfortunately for them, their digestive system cannot tolerate this particular food and they will expire very quickly.

Weeping Butterfly Bush Disease, Prevention and How To Stop Weeping Butterfly Bush Disease

A major advantage that butterfly shrubs have is their resistance to diseases. They ignore some rampant infections that lay other plants low.

But even so, there are just some that the Butterfly Plant cannot evade.

1. Fungal Leaf Spot

  • Cause: Warm weather and wet leaves don’t mix. When water is poured over the top of the plant and allowed to settle, a fungus can develop.
Close up view on a leaf infected by leaf-spot disease.

(Image: Ian Alexander21)

  • Symptoms: On the upper surface of the leaves, tiny, spherical reddish-brown dots develop. Affected leaves will develop yellow, brown, or black lesions, and will eventually die and fall off. New twigs display a distorted appearance
  • Treatment: To slow or stop the transmission of the spores from one region of the plant to another, prune and dispose of the damaged segments. Remove any plant debris that has fallen around the base to prevent any lingering spores from re-infecting the bush.
    Spraying with a mixture of baking soda and water will help to eradicate any remaining spores
  • Prevention: Avoid working with moist plants and remove any contaminated plant components. Make sure there is space for lots of air movement between the plants
Close up view on a pea pod infected by Botrytis Blight plant disease, showing the rotten part with molds build up.

(Image: Schlaghecken Josef22)

2. Botrytis Blight

  • Cause: Often known as Gray Mold, it spreads quickly in humid conditions. If untreated, the mold spores attack damaged areas of leaves, flowers, or non-woody stems and move into healthy parts of the plant with bad intentions.

Plants in pots or greenhouses with inadequate air circulation are more likely to develop botrytis.15 Infected plants are fully recoverable and will not sustain any long-term harm, but the disease can be spread from plant to plant from overhead irrigation and damp leaves.

  • Symptoms: Botrytis appears as spots on leaves that are yellowing or brownish and appear to have been soaked in water. Eventually, the areas develop fuzzy-looking mold spores in a grayish-brown color.
    The plant will start to deteriorate since its capacity to photosynthesize is compromised
  • Treatment: Pruning out infected foliage, stems, or flowers as soon as possible to stop the transfer of spores to healthy areas of the plant is the simplest technique to cure botrytis blight. After using any pruners on impacted plants, be sure to sanitize them.
    In most cases, wiping the pruners with an alcohol-soaked towel is adequate. Pruning damaged wood back will help prevent fungi like botrytis from infecting your shrubs in the future
  • Prevention: Plants need space. Be mindful when planting various species together to allow for adequate air circulation between them.
    Also, be aware that over-fertilizing can be just as harmful as overwatering

3. Downy Mildew

  • Cause: Applying water from above the plant rather than directly onto the soil instigates Mildew development, especially if the weather is cool and the leaves remain wet for a lengthy period of time
  • Symptoms: The Mildew appears as fuzzy patches on the undersides of the leaves, and the veins turn an unhealthy brown color. If the entire leaf becomes brown that means it has died and it will soon fall off.
    The entire plant will soon follow suit as it will be unable to transport water upwards from the roots due to the spore invasion.
  • Treatment: Remove any branches or plants that are seriously affected and apply a fungicide. This form of Mildew is considered to be a parasite and is particularly destructive,16 often deadly.
  • Prevention: The shrubs should be kept far apart to allow for airflow, and the area around them should be kept free of leaves as much as possible. Inspect your plants regularly to catch any infections early.
Close up view of a leaves infected with Rust plant disease, showing the green leaves with patches of brown due to infection.

(Image: Mokkie24)

4. Rust

  • Cause: Wet surfaces are a common breeding ground for Rust spores in humid environments
  • Symptoms: The lowest parts of the plant and the leaves will develop tiny, dusty, reddish-yellow, or orange patches which will eventually enlarge and the leaves will begin to yellow. Plant growth is slowed down by this illness and eventually stopped
  • Treatment: Rust can be washed into the nearby soil and spread by rain or overhead irrigation. To prevent wetting the leaves, only water a Weeping Butterfly Bush using drip irrigation or soaker hoses directly onto the soil, not over the leaves.
    After diagnosis, the affected plant material should be removed as soon as possible to prevent the spores from dispersing to other shrubs
  • Prevention: In order to prevent the growth of the rust fungus, proper air movement is necessary. Avoid using high-nitrogen fertilizers as they will cause the foliage to become dense and brittle, obstructing the shrub’s ability to breathe.
    To maintain the plant’s health, consider dusting with sulfur at the start of the season

5. Phytophthora Root Rot

  • Cause: The root structure of a Butterfly Bush cultivated in a container can rot as a result of overwatering, hence its nickname of water mold.
    Infected soil or an infected plant can spread the disease from one place to another as unfortunately, plants don’t exhibit many symptoms of infection until the root system has been so severely infected that recovery is unlikely.
  • Symptoms: Yellowing leaves that start to wilt, smaller-than-usual blooms, and blackening plant stems are the symptoms that are visible above the ground. The roots underground become softer and discolored, but this goes unnoticed
  • Treatment: Water with a 3% addition of hydrogen peroxide is an effective method of killing off this pathogen. To apply, pour around the base so it will soak into the roots and delay your regular watering schedule until you are certain it has fully soaked into the infected roots
  • Prevention: The best course of action is to completely avoid the problem by making sure that your plant has adequate drainage, and that all weeds are removed. Never relocate a sick plant to a different area of the garden as all you’d be doing is transferring the pathogen to another part of the garden.17
    The easiest way to stop subsequent infections may be to dig up and dispose of the affected plant altogether

Weeping Butterfly Bush Facts

A Weeping Butterfly Bush has the ability to be all things to all gardeners.

It can be a small shrub, a Butterfly Bush hedge grown along a boundary line, or even a tree with a height of up to 15 feet.

The species can form a dramatic backdrop or stand alone as a showpiece at the same time, and many gardeners sculpt their landscape designs around this versatile plant.

If you’re planning on a garden makeover, be aware that even though the Butterfly Bush is low maintenance, it can take a bit of regular pruning to control its size, and shape, and to remove old stalks.

Let’s see what else there is to know about this fascinating plant.

  • Some cultivars of butterfly shrubs are created to be sterile, meaning that there are no seeds for reproduction. It can only do so from cuttings or by other means
  • The weeping aspect of the plant is derived from the weight of the panicles hanging downwards from the sheer weight
  • Although non-toxic, deer avoid snacking on these plants
  • Buddleia salviifolia, also known as Sagewood, is favored as the best-smelling Butterfly Bush, having a scent reminiscent of Chanel perfume
  • Some types can be grown permanently in pots, with the wisteria lane having a particular resemblance to a Dwarf Wisteria Tree and the two can easily be mistaken.

Weeping Wisteria Tree

At its core, this plant is a creeping vine that wraps itself around a structure as it grows. When it is coaxed into growing as a tree, it is a very impressive ornamental specimen.

The colors and the growth pattern of the leaves at first seem like the panicles on a Butterfly Bush, and the similarity doesn’t end there. In terms of height, the Wisteria Tree doesn’t get more than 10 feet tall, and the flowers droop in the same fashion as on Weeping Butterfly Trees.

The similarities end there, however.

For starters, the Wisteria Tree grows slower, can take 3-5 years to display the first bloom and the trunk is more gnarly and dark brown.

They can easily co-exist side by side in your garden and the mix of colors, styles, and fragrances will complement each other to elevate the appearance of your landscape to a greater level.

How Much Carbon Does Weeping Butterfly Bush Sequester?

What is carbon capture?

Every day harmful emissions are created from fossil fuels burned in factories and emitted from vehicles that are polluting the earth’s atmosphere,18 reducing the quality of the air. Just one car is responsible for 4.6 tons of CO2 gas emissions during a typical year, and there are millions of vehicles trundling up and down the highways every day.

Trees are a natural form of absorbing these harmful carbon dioxide particles that are responsible for the surge in health problems around the globe from a process known as sequestration.

Through the tree’s natural process of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere and stored within the wood, roots, and the very fiber of the tree, and the bigger the tree the more carbon that can be stored.

Age plays a significant factor as well, long-lived species capable of outperforming other species of plants that live for shorter periods.

A large quantity of greenhouse gases are retained and utilized, but about 25-50% is released back into the atmosphere, cleaned, and ready to be breathed again.

A Weeping Butterfly Bush is not a particularly big tree or long-lived.

An average tree will absorb somewhere between 10-40kg of CO2 every year, the variation down to its location, size, and longevity.

Through its lifespan of a mere 20 years, a Weeping Butterfly Bush can expect to sequester only about 200-300 kgs of CO2.

Not exactly enough to combat the harm that just one car is doing to the climate, but with trees outnumbering cars there is hope that that imbalance will be equalized.

Deforestation in certain countries is slowing down progress, but on the other hand, electric cars are becoming more popular and reducing the amount of petrol and diesel engines on the road.

Weeping Butterfly Bush Cultivars

The varieties available in this species are impressive due to the range of colors and sizes, and they have been extended from their originals by cultivars such as Hot Raspberry, Adonis Blue, White Profusion, and Kaleidoscope Bicolor.

Genetic variations have been introduced to be resistant to invasive diseases and pests, enhance the appearance, as well as extend the period when the plant remains in bloom.

There are even some breeders that specialize in Buddlejas who have created cultivars of native plants in even more incredible colors,19 that can grow up to 20 feet as well as stay small as a dwarf tree.

Some of them have discovered that they can vastly increase the vibrancy of the color, but had to sacrifice the cold hardiness of the plant. Consequently, surviving a winter below USDA hardiness zone 7 is challenging.

Understanding the impact a Weeping Butterfly bush can have on the surrounding plants is important if you plan to transplant some into your garden or yard.

Frequently Asked Questions About Weeping Butterfly Bush

How Many Weeping Butterfly Bush Seeds in a Pod?

A pod can hold about a dozen seeds but during a season 40,000 seeds can be released from one pannicle.

Are Weeping Butterfly Bush Leaves Deciduous?

Mostly the leaves are deciduous, but they can also be semi-evergreen. Occasionally, they can be low-maintenance evergreen shrubs depending on the climate that they are growing in.

How Much Sunlight Does Weeping Butterfly Bush Need Each Day?

A Weeping Butterfly Bush needs between 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day.

What Is Weeping Butterfly Bush Symbolism Meaning?

A firm favorite of butterflies,20 this plant symbolizes rebirth and new beginnings.

Read More About Weeping Butterfly Bush


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2Longstroth, M. (2013, January 16). Winter dormancy and chilling in woody plants. MSU Extension. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/winter_dormancy_and_chilling_in_woody_plants>

3IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY. (2023). Potential Pollinating Insects. Idaho State University. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://www.isu.edu/biology/potential-pollinating-insects/>

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10University of California. (2023). Managing Pests in Gardens: Pest Identification: Foliage Feeding Caterpillars—UC IPM. UC IPM. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/INVERT/ID/idfolfdcaterpillars.html>

11Florida Museum. (2023, April 19). Red Admiral – Florida’s Wildflowers & Butterflies. Florida Museum. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/wildflowers/butterfly/red-admiral/>

12Beers, E. H., & Hoy, S. C. (1993). Spider Mites | WSU Tree Fruit | Washington State University. WSU Tree Fruit. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://treefruit.wsu.edu/crop-protection/opm/spider-mites/>

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19Tangren, S. (2023, February 15). Cultivars of Native Plants. University of Maryland Extension. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://extension.umd.edu/resource/cultivars-native-plants>

20Smithsonian Institution. (2023). BugInfo – Butterflies. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://www.si.edu/spotlight/buginfo/butterfly>

21Leaf Spot on Oak in Gunnersbury Triangle Photo by Ian Alexander / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leaf_Spot_on_Oak_in_Gunnersbury_Triangle.jpg>

22Erbsen Botrytis cinera JS-1 Photo by Schlaghecken Josef / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Erbsen_Botrytis_cinera_JS-1.jpg>

23Orange Ball Tree Flower Photo by ALEXNEWWORLD. Resized and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 12, 2023 from <https://pixabay.com/photos/orange-ball-tree-flowers-plant-6350644/>

24Leaves with Rust Infection Photo by Mokkie / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leaves_with_Rust_Infection.jpg>

25Tepozan Blanco Flower Photo by Andrew Brookes. CC0 1.0 Deed / CC0 1.0 Universal. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 12, 2024 from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buddleja_cordata_flowers.jpg>

26Buddleja davidii Photo by AnRo0002 CC0 1.0 Deed/ CC0 1.0 Universal. Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:20130906Aglais_io_on_Buddleja_davidii3.jpg>

27Butterfly Bush Lilac Cascade Flower Photo by István Asztalos. Resized and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 12, 2024 from <https://pixabay.com/photos/organ-ny-buddleja-davidii-spring-329719/>

28Lindleyana flowers 1 Photo by Ptelea / CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lindleyana_flowers_1.jpg>

29Lilac Cascade Butterfly Bush Photo by Krzysztof Niewolny. Resized and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 12, 2024 from <https://pixabay.com/photos/red-admiral-butterfly-butterfly-bush-7387825/>

30Companion Plant of Butterfly Bush Photo by Karsten Paulick. Resized and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 12, 2024 from <https://pixabay.com/photos/hydrangeas-flowers-purple-hydrangeas-3523579/>

31Spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) on a gardenia bush Photo by Lucis / Public Domain. Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved July 4, 2023, from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spidermites-gardenia.jpg>