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Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) ‘White Ball’

Easy-to-grow butterfly bushes attract multitudes of butterflies all day long.


Not many plants are as prolific blooming, fun or versatile as the Buddleia or Butterfly Bush. Also called Summer Lilac, it is the one plant that can be found in almost every butterfly garden around the world as it is a virtual butterfly magnet, attracting more butterflies than just about any plant growing in temperate climates. The beautiful flower panicles that appear for several months emit a sweet honey fragrance that will be a favorite of every butterfly in your neighborhood. This week we are featuring ‘White Ball’, a new, super-compact, white-flowering Buddleia davidii variety that vastly increases the number of places you can grow a butterfly bush.


‘White Ball’ – A New Dwarf Butterfly Bush ideal for the smaller garden.


Buddleia ‘White Ball’ is a dwarf butterfly bush that can only be described as cute! The bright silver-grey foliage grows into a tight ball, only 3 feet tall and wide, half to one-third normal size. Spikes of white flowers surround ‘White Ball’ all summer – attracting butterflies for miles around. ‘White Ball’ is the longest, most prolific blooming butterfly plant we have seen. If you remove the faded blooms, ‘White Ball’ will blossom continuously from June right up to killing frost. With its silvery foliage and pure white fragrant blooms, this new hybrid is a particularly nice addition to the night-blooming moon garden. Usually relegated to the border background, now you can enjoy a handsome butterfly bush in the foreground of your garden.


Buddleias have a reputation for being easy to grow and ‘White Ball’ is no exception. Plant in a location where it will have full sun and well-drained soil. Once established, it is surprisingly drought tolerant. Cut back the branch tips in the spring for a fuller bush and improved blooms. It does not require the severe annual pruning needed by other butterfly bushes. As with all Buddleias, ‘White Ball’ is never eaten by deer.


Planting and Care


For best results plant in early spring.

Prefers full sun.

Plant 4 feet apart in well-drained soil.

Cut back lightly every spring.

Water regularly until established.

Hardy in zones 5-9.

Fertilize with Plant-Tone in early spring.

Click here to view Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) ‘White Ball’ on the Carroll Gardens website.

Propagating Butterfly Bush From Root Cuttings

Propagating Butterfly Bush from root cuttings.

The first step for how to root cuttings from the butterfly bush is to select a stem for cutting. In early Fall, choose a stem for butterfly bush propagation that is at least 6 inches long, and is new growth cut the flower off. A new growth stem will be a lighter green than old growth. Also be aware that if you live in a colder climate where the butterfly bush dies back to the ground, the whole shrub may be new growth.

Once you have selected a stem to propagate the butterfly bush, take a sharp pair of shears and cut the stem off just below a leaf node. A leaf node is where a set of leaves will be growing. The butterfly bush cutting should be at least 4 inches long and should contain at least one additional set of leaves above the selected leaf node. Snip the cutting from the stem.

Next, strip all but the top most set of leaves from the cutting. The cutting should have only two leaves left, dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone. Rooting hormone will increase the chances of successfully propagating butterfly bush, place the cutting into damp potting soil. Place the pot in a sheltered location out of direct sunlight. Check the butterfly bush cutting every few days to make sure the soil is still damp. In about 2-4 weeks, the cutting will be rooted and your butterfly bush propagation will be complete. That is all you need to know about how to propagate butterfly bushes. With a little effort and care, you can start propagating butterfly bushes for your yard or for friends and family.

Buddleia davidii, Butterfly Bush

The Buddleia plant is a genus of flowering plants and there are up to one hundred species on record. Most of these are shrubs with only a few being trees. Because the tree varieties can grow to over 30 feet, it is the shrub varieties that are more suitable for the average sized garden. Butterfly bushes (Buddleia davidii) have a prime place in butterfly gardens, and are particularly adept at attracting tiger swallowtails. But they also attract hummingbirds, making them must-haves for hummingbird gardens, too. And don’t forget the bees: butterfly bushes will also attract the bees that will pollinate other plants in your garden.

Buddleia davidii produces woody stems, it behaves like a perennial and dies back close to the ground. And just like a perennial, it makes no difference to the plant. Simply cut back the dead stems in early spring, stand back and watch the plant explode with growth. Buddleia blooms on new wood, so its floral display is not diminished by its dieback behavior. In fact cutting Buddleia back benefits the blooming and overall plant habit. Even in the south where its wood remains alive, an annual spring whacking makes for a nicer plant, blooms from midsummer until frost.

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