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How To Propagate Butterfly Bush? 3 Ways To Do It!

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A butterfly bush is a flowering shrub native to the eastern coast of the United States. It is also called Buddleia davidii, a member of the buttercup family. These plants can grow well in USDA hardiness zones 3-9, which means they can grow well throughout North America.

Butterfly bushes are often used in landscaping because they attract butterflies and bees to the garden. This versatile shrub is also good for removing air pollution from urban areas. Consider growing butterfly bush if you want year-round blooms that the entire family can enjoy. 

There are many ways to propagate a butterfly bush, i.e., seed division and cutting. Continue reading this article to know how to propagate butterfly bush.

How To Propagate Butterfly Bush
Propagate Butterfly Bush via Reddit

How To Propagate Butterfly Bush?

Before jumping into our discussion of propagating a butterfly bush, let’s see what is meant by propagation or plant propagation.


Plant propagation is the process of creating new plants from plant parts. You can do it by either sexual or asexual methods. Sexual methods use natural pollination to create seeds, while asexual methods produce new plants from plant parts such as cuttings, leaves, and stems.

Butterfly bushes are invasive plants that will grow and spread wildly if not controlled. They will also propagate and expand naturally, working best in rural areas. This natural propagation of butterfly bushes is a great way to resist the invasion of foreign species in your native habitat.

You can also induce artificial propagation to these plants, and the best time to propagate a butterfly bush is in spring or fall when the plant is dormant.

Necessary Tools

  • Garden Clippers
  • Rooting hormone
  • Disposable plate or cup
  • Plant Pot
  • Perlite or peat moss
  • Sticks
  • Plastic bag

1.     Propagate A Butterfly Bush Through Seeds

The most common method of asexual propagation is by taking a cutting of a healthy plant and planting it in moist soil or sand. Here it will root and grow into an identical clone of the original. Butterfly bushes are among the most popular garden plants, but they are notoriously difficult to grow from seed.

They require a consistent and steady temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit, plenty of sunlight, and ample water to grow from seeds. Moreover, this process is quite long. Here is an easy process to propagate a butterfly bush from seeds:

  1. Butterfly Bush is a self-seeding plant so that you can take its seeds.
  2. Take the seeds, and here you need to give them cold treatment (stratification) for a minimum of two weeks. The stratification process mimics the naturally stimulating seed conditions of the winter season. It means the process helps them break dormancy and initiate germination.
  3. After giving this cold treatment to seeds, you can plant them in any soil.
  4. Find a pot that has drainage holes and fill it with soil.
  5. Dig a hole in the soil about 3 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Ensure that the hole is large enough for your butterfly bush to grow into.
  6. Place your seedling into the hole and cover it with soil.
  7. Add water to help settle in any loose dirt around it and then water again every day.
  8. After a few months, the plant will be well rooted and grown and ready to be transplanted anywhere!

2.     Propagate A Butterfly Bush Through Cuttings

Cutting plants is a very common practice, but not all plants are suitable for propagation through cuttings. The most popular plants for propagating by cuttings are herbaceous perennials, woody shrubs and vines. Butterfly bush is an herbaceous perennial which can be propagated through cuttings.

The best time to take its cuttings is in the fall or winter when the plant has gone dormant. However, make sure they are covered with green leaves, and the ground is not frozen.

All the tools you use in taking a butterfly bush cutting must be clean and sterilized. Read the following tips to propagate a butterfly bush through cuttings rightly:

  • First of all, select the right cutting with a healthy green stem. It would be best to select a new growth as such cutting would be easy and fast to root.
  • Make sure the cutting is about 3-6 inches long.
  • Cut the leaves through the bottom of the stem with the help of sharp scissors.
  • Also, cut the flowers and leaves tips to initiate root growth instead of flower growth.
  • Take a pot with peat moss or perlite and make a hole in it. Dip the stem ends into the rooting hormone to initiate growth. Fix that stem inside the potting soil.
  • Refill the hole with the soil and tap the soil with your palms.
  • Now fix a stick in the mid of the pot to make a small greenhouse.
  • Take a plastic bag and cover your new plant. You may cover it up till the end of the pot so that it doesn’t blow away with the wind.
  • Water your newly planted pot and make sure it is placed in the shade.
  • Let it rest for about three weeks to root properly.
  • Your new butterfly bus is ready to be transplanted outside!
  • Keep adding fertilizers after, but remember, overfertilizing can be harmful.

3.     Propagate A Butterfly Bush Through Division

Propagating a butterfly bush with division takes a plant and cuts it into sections to create new plants. In simpler words, you have to divide the roots.

The best time to do this is in the early spring or late fall. To propagate a Butterfly Bush with Division, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Select a mature and healthy butterfly bush and dig it up carefully.
  2. Cut your plant into sections, ensuring that each section has at least one branch and at least 3 leaves.
  3. Put some potting soil in the bottom of your pot or container.
  4. Place your plant sections on top of the soil with roots facing down and leaves facing up.
  5. Cover up your sections by adding more potting soil on top until they are completely buried and no longer visible.
  6. Be sure to add fertilizer to promote growth.

Caring For A Propagated Butterfly Bush

A butterfly bush is a flowering perennial often planted in home gardens. Butterfly bushes also require very little maintenance and have been proven to be very resilient plants. There are, however, some things that you should know about caring for them properly:

  • Give them plenty of light but indirect sunlight
  • Keep the soil moist by regular watering. Apply the water slowly and deeply to help the new plant establish deep roots.
  • Give fertilizers to promote growth
  • Keep pruning the leaves regularly
  • That’s it!


There are many reasons you should consider planting some Butterfly bushes in your garden. They are beautiful, attract butterflies, and act as a natural insect repellent. You can propagate butterfly bushes by taking cuttings and sticking them in moist soil or seeding and division methods.

So now you know that propagating this durable and beautiful shrub is quite easy to do, and let us know if your attempt was successful. Have fun trying cutting propagation out for yourself, and don’t forget to leave us a comment!