Image Gallery


The Butterfly bush is one of the most appealing choices for our gardens and landscapes when we want to attract butterflies. A wide range of cultivars are available from nurseries that provide white, blue, pink, magenta and purple flower colors and both standard and compact sizes. Most grow with an upright and arching branch habit and have pale green leaves with whitish undersides. Standard size plants can reach 10-12 ft. tall and as wide. Long panicles of colorful flowers occur in spring for an attractive garden display.

Butterfly bush is well adapted to conditions within the Inland Empire. Plant in full sun on loam-type soils and sustain with moderate amounts of supplemental water. It grows well on slopes, in raised planters and mixed in with other flowering shrubs and perennials. Some of the cultivars that can be found in nurseries and garden centers include: B.d. 'Alba' is a standard size plant with clear white flowers, B.d. 'Black Knight' grows 6-8 ft. high and 6-8 in. long upright panicles of dark purple flowers; B.d. 'Harlequin' is a smaller selection, 5-7 ft. high with magenta flowers.

Water Needs

The Butterfly bush and its many cultivars do best without too much moisture stress. Young plants need moderate amounts of moisture throughout the year; mature plants grow well with periodic deep irrigation in the summer. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water, however, the butterfly bush flowers best within the higher moisture range during the summer flowering season.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 3

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 9"-16"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous
Habit: Upright, Spreading, Robust, Mounding, Low-branching, Arching
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 8 ft. - 10 ft.
Width: 5 ft. - 6 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Purple
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Cold hardy, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Screening, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Parks and open space, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Commercial spaces, Borders, Background plant, Fragrant flowers, Attracts butterflies


Cut back heavily, either a heavy pruning or all the way to the ground, anytime over winter before spring growth begins (5). This can also be done in the fall if the plant is already looking quite worn out from the Summer heat (S).



Plant Palettes

Plant Lists