Butterfly Bush (Buddleja Davidii ‘Evil Ways’)

Plant: Table of Contents

The Beauty of Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii ‘Evil Ways’)

Introduction to Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii ‘Evil Ways’) is a stunning perennial shrub that belongs to the Buddleja genus. Widely recognized for its vibrant and fragrant flowers, this plant is a favorite among gardeners and landscapers for its ability to attract various pollinators, particularly butterflies. The ‘Evil Ways’ cultivar is a modern and captivating variation of the traditional butterfly bush, offering unique features and characteristics that set it apart from other Buddleja davidii cultivars.

Key Characteristics:

  • Latin Name: Buddleja davidii ‘Evil Ways’
  • Common Name: Butterfly Bush
  • Origin: China
  • Plant Type: Flowering shrub
  • Key Features: Fragrant flowers, butterfly attractor, pollinator-friendly, low-maintenance, ornamental, nectar-rich
  • Cultivar: ‘Evil Ways’
  • Hardiness: Zones 5-9

As a plant scientist, it is essential to delve into the various aspects of this remarkable plant, including its culture, uses, and maintenance requirements. Let’s explore the captivating world of butterfly bush and uncover the secrets of cultivating and caring for this extraordinary garden plant.



Butterfly bush is a relatively low-maintenance plant when it comes to watering. Once established, it exhibits a good level of drought tolerance and can thrive in moderately dry conditions. However, it is important to provide ample water during the initial stages of growth and establishment. A regular watering schedule, particularly during hot and dry periods, will promote healthy growth and abundant flowering.


One of the key requirements for butterfly bush is ample sunlight. This plant thrives in full sun, requiring at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Inadequate sunlight may result in reduced flowering and overall plant vigor. When selecting a planting location, it is crucial to choose a spot that receives adequate sunlight throughout the day.


While butterfly bush is not overly demanding in terms of fertilization, providing it with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring can help support healthy growth and abundant flowering. A general-purpose fertilizer with a balanced N-P-K ratio (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) can be applied around the base of the plant, following the recommended dosage according to the product instructions.


Butterfly bush thrives in well-draining soil and is relatively adaptable to different soil types. It prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 6.0-7.0) and can tolerate a wide range of soil textures, including sandy and loamy soils. It is crucial to avoid waterlogged or poorly drained soil, as this can lead to root rot and other issues.


Pruning is an essential aspect of butterfly bush care, contributing to the plant’s overall health, shape, and flowering performance. Pruning should be carried out in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. The primary objectives of pruning butterfly bush are to remove dead or damaged wood, promote new growth, and maintain a tidy and compact shape.

Timing: Late winter or early spring

Method: Remove dead/damaged wood, shape the plant

Frequency: Yearly pruning is recommended


Butterfly bush can be propagated through several methods, including:

  • Softwood cuttings: Softwood cuttings can be taken in late spring or early summer and rooted in a suitable growing medium.
  • Semi-hardwood cuttings: These cuttings are taken in mid to late summer and require a slightly more mature growth stage for successful propagation.
  • Division: Mature butterfly bushes can be divided in early spring to create new plants.

Container Popularity

Butterfly bush, including the ‘Evil Ways’ cultivar, is well-suited for container gardening, making it an excellent choice for individuals with limited garden space or those looking to add a splash of color to patios, balconies, or small outdoor areas. When grown in containers, it is important to ensure adequate drainage and provide regular watering and fertilization to support the plant’s growth and flowering.

Common Diseases and Pests

Common Diseases

Butterfly bush, while generally robust and disease-resistant, may occasionally face certain issues, including:

  • Powdery mildew: A common fungal disease that appears as a white, powdery coating on the foliage. Adequate spacing, good air circulation, and proper sanitation can help prevent powdery mildew.
  • Botrytis blight: This fungal disease can cause gray mold on buds and flowers, particularly in damp and humid conditions. Removal of affected plant parts and proper air circulation can mitigate the risk of botrytis blight.

Disease Diagnosis

Identifying plant diseases can be crucial in implementing timely interventions and preventing the spread of infections. Visual symptoms, such as unusual spots, discoloration, wilting, or unusual growth patterns, can indicate potential diseases. Regular inspection of the plant, particularly the leaves, stems, and flowers, can aid in early disease detection.

Common Pests

Butterfly bush is relatively resistant to many common pests; however, it may attract certain insects, including:

  • Aphids: Small, sap-sucking insects that can cluster on new growth and flower buds.
  • Spider mites: These tiny arachnids may cause stippling and webbing on the foliage, particularly in hot and dry conditions.

Pest Management

Integrated pest management (IPM) practices, such as regular monitoring, using natural predators, and employing insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils if necessary, can help control pest populations while minimizing the impact on beneficial insects and pollinators.

Botanist’s Tips

1. Attracting Beneficial Insects

Butterfly bush is renowned for its ability to attract various pollinators, including butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. By incorporating butterfly bush in garden designs, individuals can contribute to the conservation of beneficial insects and support local ecosystems.

2. Pruning for Success

Regular pruning not only maintains the shape and size of the plant but also encourages robust flowering and overall plant health. Proper pruning techniques, such as removing spent blooms and shaping the plant in late winter, can enhance the visual appeal of butterfly bush.

3. Environmental Considerations

As a non-native plant, it is important to be mindful of the potential impact of butterfly bush on local ecosystems. In regions where butterfly bush is considered invasive, proper management and containment practices should be followed to prevent its spread into natural areas.

Fun Facts

  • The ‘Evil Ways’ cultivar of butterfly bush is celebrated for its unique and captivating dark purple blooms, adding an intriguing element to garden landscapes.
  • Butterfly bush is often associated with the presence of colorful and fluttering butterflies, creating enchanting displays of natural beauty in outdoor spaces.
  • With its fragrant and nectar-rich flowers, butterfly bush serves as a beacon for pollinators, contributing to the vitality of garden ecosystems.

Links to External Resources

Explore more about butterfly bush and its cultivation through the following external resources:

  1. Royal Horticultural Society – Butterfly Bushes
  2. The Old Farmer’s Almanac – Growing Butterfly Bushes
  3. University of Florida IFAS Extension – Butterfly Gardening

In conclusion, butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii ‘Evil Ways’) stands as a captivating and pollinator-friendly plant that enriches outdoor spaces with its fragrant flowers and vibrant charm. As a plant scientist, understanding the culture, uses, and care practices for this beloved garden plant is essential for promoting its vitality and maximizing its ecological benefits. By incorporating butterfly bush into diverse landscapes and implementing proper maintenance strategies, individuals can foster thriving habitats for pollinators while enjoying the beauty and allure of this remarkable flowering shrub.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.