Buddleia care: fertilising, watering & common diseases


The robust butterfly bush is an easy-care ornamental shrub. Nevertheless, there are a few important care measures to take in order to enjoy the beautiful garden ornaments for as long as possible.

Butterfly bush
The butterfly bush is a shrub of the summer [Photo: freya-photographer/ Shutterstock.com]

The butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is swarmed by a variety of insects, such as bees and butterflies, in late summer. Fortunately, the ornamental shrub does not require much care – but disease and pests can certainly occur and need to be treated properly.

Buddleia care: Watering correctly

Freshly planted butterfly bushes need to be watered regularly, especially in the summer months when it gets very hot. But waterlogging should be avoided at all costs. Older plants – from the second year of life – only need to be watered during prolonged dry periods, depending on the location. Ideally, buddleias should be watered in the morning and evening hours when there is no high sunlight.

Fertilising butterfly bushes

Lush flowering requires nutrients, which is why the pretty butterfly bush should be fertilised twice a season as needed. For optimal starting conditions in the new year, it is worth giving a fertiliser in spring before budding and a second fertiliser in summer before flowering. Our Plantura Flower Food, for example, is a slow-release fertiliser and provides the ornamental shrub with nutrients for up to three months.

Even in a pot, the butterfly bush needs a sufficient supply of nutrients. Our Plantura Liquid Flower Food in liquid form is suitable for this, for example. In this way, the nutrients reach the roots directly via the irrigation water and ensure vigorous growth and full flowering.

Liquid Flower Food, 800ml
Liquid Flower Food, 800ml
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  • Perfect for all flowers & balcony plants
  • Liquid fertiliser for a lush blossom throughout the season
  • Quick & easy application - child & pet friendly

Common diseases and pests on the butterfly bush

A healthy buddleia has a vigorous growth, green leaves and a multitude of flowers. Despite the conscientious choice of location and care, pests and diseases can attack the butterfly bush.

  • Butterfly bush gets yellow leaves: Yellow leaves can have a variety of causes. On the one hand, a location that is too dark can be the reason for leaf discolouration and a lack of flowers. The only thing that helps here is to transplant the butterfly bush. Furthermore, a lack of nutrients can lead to yellow leaves, which is why fertiliser applications should be adjusted. The butterfly bush is particularly sensitive to waterlogging and may even die, as it thrives mainly in dry locations. When planting the butterfly bush, make sure there is a good drainage layer at the bottom of the planting hole.
Buddleia with yellow leaves
If the leaves of the butterfly bush turn yellow, this may be an indication that something is wrong [Photo: SilkyPixel21/ Shutterstock.com]
  • Butterfly bush does not flower: If the butterfly bush is slow to flower, this may be due to a location that is too dark. Here it is important to prune the butterfly bush regularly so that you can look forward to abundant flowering. In our special article we explain step by step how to prune your butterfly bush. Also protect young and freshly planted butterfly bushes from very cold temperatures in winter with a layer of mulch, despite their winter hardiness.
  • Buddleia does not sprout: A big problem is the vole, because it loves to eat plant roots in the garden, thereby causing some plants to die. An infestation can only be detected when the butterfly bush is already dying or no longer sprouting in spring. If you know about voles in your garden, young butterfly bushes can be planted with a root barrier. Other reasons are also waterlogging and frost damage.
Butterfly bush not sprouting
A healthy butterfly bush will sprout in spring [Photo: Beekeepx/ Shutterstock.com]
  • Leaf aphids: Mainly flying, black aphids attack the butterfly bush. Infestation can because discolouration and damage to the leaves. In the worst case, the plant may die. In a healthy and strong lilac plant, its own protective mechanisms are sufficient to protect itself from pests. It is therefore essential to ensure that the butterfly bush grows in a suitable location and is cared for accordingly. If an infestation of aphids nevertheless occurs, you can resort to biological remedies, such as nettle broth.

With the right care measures, nothing will stand in the way of a splendidly flowering butterfly bush in your own garden. If you want to propagate your butterfly bush, you can resort to various methods.

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