The Butterfly Bush

The Butterfly Bush  Buddleja Davidii the ultimate nectar source for Butterflies!

Most of us will have heard of this species and may already have a couple of bushes planted in the back garden.

Buddleja or Buddleia as you often see it misspelt is a magnet for butterflies and insects. Buddleja Davidii comes in a number of colours and names such as Black Knight which produce dark purple flowers and Golden Glow which produce Orange flowers are all readily available from garden centres or internet plant suppliers.
A top tip for encouraging this plant to flower in profusion is to cut it back hard to 1/3 of its height in late March.

I stagger the pruning which allows my bushes to flower at intervals throughout the summer. Therefore I prune some earlier and some later.

My record butterfly count on a single bush was recorded just 5-6 years ago and at one time I had 18 Red Admiral, 6 Painted Lady, 5 Large White, 3 Peacock, 2 Silver-Washed Fritillary and 2 Hummingbird Hawk moths feeding on just one bush at the same time!

A common question I have been asked a few times is which colour is best for attracting butterflies? I think the answer is they all do but I stick with the common variety as shown in the picture and in my observations over the years this colour has attracted the greatest numbers of butterflies and insects. The RHS based at Harlow Carr did a few experiments a couple of years ago and noted that all varieties were attractive equally. Personally I have never found this and find that the white variety is the worst at attracting and used to have a white and standard bush planted next to each other. The White would be empty of butterflies whilst the other bush was full of insects, this was always the case!

Don’t forget to look at your bushes at night; they remain attractive to many species of nocturnal moth species and other insects.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of seeing a day flying Hummingbird Hawk moth in your garden the Buddleja provides the answer. If Hummingbird Hawk moths are in your area they will find it. Summer just wouldn’t be the same without my buddleja bushes and their fragrance drifting in the breeze on a summer evening, coupled with the myriad of butterfly and insect species they attract.

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