Propagating buddleia: cuttings, layering, etc.


Selective propagation of the butterfly bush is ideal for creating a beautiful hedge or group planting. Everything you need to know about propagating butterfly bushes can be found here.

Propagating Buddleia davidii
The Buddleia davidii is a real magnet for butterflies [Photo: Tommy Larey/]

The easy-care and robust butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is not one of the most popular and best-known ornamental shrubs in European gardens for nothing. Its lush flowers vary in colour depending on the buddleia variety and form an important food source for insects in midsummer. Propagation of this wonderfully fragrant shrub can be done by various methods and is easy.

There are three simple methods that can be used to propagate butterfly bushes easily and effectively: Propagation via

  • Cuttings
  • Layering
  • Seeds

The following winter the young plants should be kept in a light, cool and dry, but frost-free room. Next spring there will be nothing to stop you planting them outdoors.

Butterfly bush in a garden
After successful propagation, the Buddleia davidii will grow quickly [Photo: Peter Turner Photography/]

Propagating the butterfly bush by cutting

Classic propagation by cutting is particularly suitable for propagating buddleia. For this, take not too soft, flowerless shoots of the mother plant. The best time to propagate butterfly bushes via cuttings is between June and mid-August. Proceed as follows:

  • Shorten the cuttings to 10 – 15 cm
  • The foliage is removed except for the 2-3 upper leaves.
  • Cut off the remaining leaf green by half to minimise the evaporation of the plant
  • Put the cuttings in growing pots and fill them with suitable substrate such as our Plantura Organic Herb & Seedling Compost
  • Last but not least, water them a little – the soil should always be kept moist
  • To increase the humidity a little, a translucent plastic bag can be put over the cutting
  • The growing container should be ventilated regularly to avoid mould growth
  • If the first new leaves form, the cutting has got new roots and the propagation was successful
  • Prick out your cuttings into larger pots if necessary
  • Next spring the young shoot of the butterfly bush can be planted out
Organic Herb & Seedling Compost, 20L
Organic Herb & Seedling Compost, 20L
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  • Perfect for herbs as well as sowing, propagating & transplanting
  • For aromatic herbs & healthy seedlings with strong roots
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Propagating butterfly bushes via offshoots

Vegetative propagation via offshoots of the butterfly bush is often used in nurseries. For this purpose, the young shoots are laid in a radial pattern around the entire length of the mother plant in spring and pinned down. Fill these furrows with topsoil. The butterfly bush offshoots, or their new shoots, will take root in the coming weeks and can be separated from the mother plant in autumn. Then pot the fresh shoots in a suitable plant pot and overwinter them in a frost-free and light place during the cold season. In spring, place the young butterfly bush plants outdoors.

Propagation from seed

Since buddleia has a tendency to self-seed, this method of propagation succeeds without any problems. One issue, however, is that you often do not get pure plants when sowing and the offspring may have a different flower colour, for example. However, this can also lead to a nice surprise.

  • When the seed coats are dry and brown in autumn, it is time for harvesting
  • The capsules are opened and the seeds sieved out
  • Place the butterfly bush seeds in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry and dark place
  • Sowing indoors can begin in March – the harvested seeds should be sown by April at the latest
  • Always keep the propagation moist and put a translucent film over it
  • Regular ventilation should also be provided here
  • When the first true leaves form, the plants are pricked out – from June they are ready for outdoors
Butterfly bush seeds
The butterfly bush can be easily be propagated via its seeds [Photo: Nahhana/]

If you want to enjoy the beautiful flowers every year, you should care for the butterfly bush properly. We explain exactly what needs to be taken into account to get it right.

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