Shrubs to attract butterflies: Growing buddlejas

By Andy McIndoe

Shrubs to attract butterflies: Growing buddlejas

Peacock  (2)

It’s been an amazing summer for butterflies here in England. Warm weather and plentiful nectar from summer flowers has brought them into gardens to feed. Buddlejas are known as one of the most attractive flowering shrubs to butterflies. The richly fragrant flowers are long panicles of tiny blossoms full of sweet nectar and butterflies love them.

Interestingly butterflies come into garden to feed and they thrive on the nectar of a wide variety of plants, both native and cultivated. They normally lay their eggs outside gardens on specific grasses and native broad-leaved plants because the caterpillars, the larval stage of the butterfly lifecycle are more fussy about their diet. Most over winter as dormant pupae; emerging to fly as winged adults the following year

.Small tortishell

Buddlejas retain their fragrance at night so their nectar is also enjoyed by night flying moths. Bats feed on moths so a buddleja in your garden can also help the bat population.

Brimstone and bee

The flowering period of a buddleja can be prolonged by dead heading. I’m amazed what a difference this makes both to the appearance of the shrub and the length of time the supply of nectar is maintained for: more flowers, more butterflies.

Deadheadin buddleja

Look out for our new MyGardenSchool course: “Gardening for Wildlife” in association with the Royal Horticultural Society coming soon. I’ll be giving you lots more ideas of what to grow in your garden to turn it into a haven for wildlife.

Andy McIndoe

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