Butterfly Bush (Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Butterfly Bush (Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’)

Butterfly bush, scientifically known as Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’, is a spectacular flowering plant that has gained immense popularity among gardeners and landscapers. This plant is well-loved for its vibrant and fragrant blooms, which attract a variety of pollinators, particularly butterflies. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various aspects of the butterfly bush, including its culture, uses, maintenance, and landscape benefits.

What is Butterfly Bush (Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’)?

The butterfly bush, or Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’, is a flowering shrub that belongs to the Scrophulariaceae family. It is a deciduous plant native to Asia, Africa, and the Americas, with most species being found in the Himalayas. This plant is renowned for its stunning, cone-shaped flower clusters that bloom in a myriad of vibrant colors such as pink, purple, red, and white. One of the most popular cultivars of butterfly bush is ‘Miss Molly’, celebrated for its deep, velvety red flowers that are highly attractive to butterflies and other pollinators.

Key Takeaways – Butterfly Bush (Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’)

Before delving into the specifics of Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’, let’s take a look at some key takeaways that will be covered in this comprehensive guide:

  • Culture: Understanding the ideal growing conditions for the butterfly bush.
  • Uses: Exploring the diverse uses of Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ in garden landscapes.
  • Water: Learning about the plant’s water requirements and best watering practices.
  • Sunlight: Understanding the sunlight needs and preferences of the butterfly bush.
  • Fertilizer: Exploring the fertilization needs of Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’.
  • Soil: Understanding the soil preferences and best soil practices for this plant.
  • Pruning: Exploring the essential techniques and timing for pruning butterfly bushes.
  • Propagation: Learning about the various propagation methods for Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’.
  • Container Popularity: Understanding the versatility of growing butterfly bushes in containers.
  • Common Diseases: Identifying common diseases that affect butterfly bushes and their management.
  • Common Pests: Understanding the pests that are known to infest butterfly bushes.
  • Botanist’s Tips: Insights and tips from botanical experts for growing and maintaining Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’.
  • Fun Facts: Discovering intriguing and lesser-known facts about the butterfly bush.
  • Links to External Resources: Accessing additional information and resources for further exploration.

Having established the core areas we will be exploring, let’s delve into the specifics of each aspect of this exquisite plant.


The culture of the butterfly bush plays a pivotal role in determining its overall health, growth, and blooming potential. Understanding the ideal culture for Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ is essential for cultivating thriving and vibrant plants.


Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ boasts a range of versatile uses that make it a standout choice in garden landscapes. Some of the notable uses of this plant include:

  • Ornamental Purposes: The vibrant and fragrant blooms of Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ make it an exceptional addition to gardens, parks, and landscapes.
  • Butterfly and Pollinator Gardens: This plant is a favorite among pollinators, particularly butterflies and hummingbirds, making it a valuable asset in butterfly gardens and naturalistic landscapes.
  • Cut Flower Arrangements: The striking flowers of ‘Miss Molly’ are popular choices for cut flower arrangements, adding a touch of color and fragrance to indoor spaces.


Proper watering is crucial for the health and vitality of butterfly bushes. Understanding the water requirements and best watering practices is essential for cultivating thriving plants. Here are some key considerations for watering Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’:

  • Water Requirements: Butterfly bushes prefer moderate watering, especially during dry spells. While they are generally low-maintenance plants, they benefit from regular watering, especially during periods of drought.
  • Best Watering Practices: When watering, aim to moisten the soil around the plant’s root zone, ensuring that it is neither waterlogged nor excessively dry. Watering in the morning can help minimize moisture-related diseases and ensure that the plants have ample hydration for the day.


Sunlight is a fundamental factor that influences the growth, blooming, and overall vigor of butterfly bushes. Understanding the sunlight needs and preferences of Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ is essential for optimal plant performance. Consider the following aspects related to sunlight requirements:

  • Sunlight Needs: Butterfly bushes thrive in full sun, requiring a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily for prolific flowering and robust growth.
  • Sunlight Preferences: While they prefer full sun, butterfly bushes can tolerate partial shade. However, reduced sunlight may result in decreased blooming and overall vigor.


Proper fertilization is key to promoting healthy growth and abundant flowering in butterfly bushes. Understanding the fertilization needs and best practices for Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ is crucial for ensuring optimal plant health. Consider the following fertilizer-related aspects:

  • Fertilizer Requirements: Butterfly bushes benefit from a balanced, slow-release fertilizer applied in early spring, before the start of active growth. A 10-10-10 fertilizer or a formulation specifically designed for flowering shrubs can be suitable.
  • Application Practices: Apply the fertilizer evenly around the base of the plant, ensuring that it is well-watered afterward to promote efficient nutrient uptake.


The soil composition and quality play a pivotal role in the overall health and performance of butterfly bushes. Understanding the soil preferences and best soil practices for Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ is essential for cultivating thriving plants. Consider the following soil-related aspects:

  • Soil Type: Butterfly bushes thrive in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (pH 6.0-7.0). Loamy and sandy soils are generally suitable, provided they offer good drainage.
  • Soil Moisture: While they prefer well-drained soil, butterfly bushes can tolerate a range of soil moisture levels, provided they are not consistently waterlogged or excessively dry.


Pruning is a critical aspect of maintaining the shape, size, and blooming potential of butterfly bushes. Understanding the essential techniques and timing for pruning Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ is key to promoting healthy growth and prolific flowering. Consider the following pruning-related aspects:

  • Pruning Timing: Butterfly bushes are typically pruned in late winter to early spring before the onset of new growth. This timing allows for the removal of dead or damaged wood and promotes the development of new flowering shoots.
  • Pruning Techniques: When pruning, remove any dead, damaged, or weak stems, and aim to shape the plant to maintain a tidy and compact form. Additionally, deadheading spent blooms can encourage the production of new flowers.


Propagating butterfly bushes allows for the expansion of plantings and the cultivation of new specimens. Understanding the various propagation methods for Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ is essential for successfully propagating and establishing new plants. Consider the following propagation-related aspects:

  • Propagation Methods: Butterfly bushes can be propagated through softwood cuttings taken in late spring or early summer. Additionally, they can also be propagated through semi-hardwood cuttings taken in late summer to early fall. Rooting hormone application can aid in the successful establishment of cuttings.

Container Popularity

The butterfly bush’s adaptability to container cultivation makes it a versatile and appealing choice for gardens, patios, and urban spaces. Understanding the best practices for growing Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ in containers can open up new possibilities for adding vibrant blooms to confined spaces. Consider the following aspects of container cultivation:

  • Container Selection: Choose a large container with adequate drainage holes to facilitate proper drainage and root aeration.
  • Growing Medium: Use a well-draining potting mix suited for flowering shrubs, and ensure that the container allows for the free flow of water and air to the roots.
  • Maintenance: Regular watering and fertilization are essential for potted butterfly bushes, given that container cultivation can result in quicker drying of the growing medium.

Common Diseases

Like any other plant, butterfly bushes are susceptible to certain diseases that can impact their overall health and vitality. Identifying common diseases that affect Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ and understanding their management is essential for preserving the plant’s well-being. Here are some common diseases to be aware of:

Disease Diagnosis

  • Powdery Mildew: This fungal disease manifests as a powdery white coating on the foliage of the plant, potentially leading to stunted growth and decreased flowering. Adequate air circulation and spacing between plants can help minimize the risk of powdery mildew.
  • Leaf Spot: Leaf spot diseases can cause the development of dark spots on the foliage, leading to premature leaf drop and reduced vigor. Removing and disposing of infected plant material can help manage leaf spot diseases.

Common Pests

In addition to diseases, butterfly bushes can also be affected by certain pests that can impact their growth and flowering. Understanding the pests that are known to infest Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ is essential for timely intervention and management. Here are some common pests to be aware of:

  • Aphids: These small insects can congregate on the tender growth of butterfly bushes, sucking plant sap and potentially causing distorted growth. Insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils can help manage aphid infestations.
  • Spider Mites: Spider mites are tiny pests known to feed on the undersides of leaves, leading to stippling and discoloration of foliage. Regular monitoring and the application of miticides can aid in managing spider mite infestations.

Botanist’s Tips

Insights and tips from botanical experts can provide valuable guidance for growing and maintaining Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ with success. Here are some expert tips to consider when cultivating butterfly bushes:

  • Maintain Good Air Circulation: Ensuring adequate air circulation around the plant can help minimize the risk of foliar diseases such as powdery mildew.
  • Monitor Moisture Levels: While butterfly bushes prefer well-drained soil, it is essential to monitor soil moisture levels, particularly during dry spells, to ensure consistent hydration.
  • Promote Pollinator Habitat: Apart from their ornamental beauty, butterfly bushes play a crucial role in providing nectar for butterflies and other pollinators. Planting a variety of nectar-rich flowers can create a diverse and attractive habitat for pollinators.

Fun Facts

Uncover intriguing and lesser-known facts about the butterfly bush, including its natural characteristics, cultural significance, and ecological contributions. Here are some fun facts about Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ and butterfly bushes in general:

  • Butterfly bushes are renowned for their ability to attract a wide array of butterflies, hence their common name. These plants serve as valuable nectar sources for numerous butterfly species.
  • The genus name “Buddleja” pays homage to Reverend Adam Buddle, an English botanist known for his contributions to natural history and botanical exploration in the 17th century.
  • Butterfly bushes have been widely utilized in traditional medicine for their purported cosmetic and therapeutic properties.

Links to External Resources

For further exploration and in-depth information on butterfly bushes and Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’, consider accessing the following external resources:

  1. Miss Molly Buddleja – The Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment
  2. Buddleja davidii ‘Miss Molly’ – Missouri Botanical Garden
  3. Growing Butterfly Bushes – Penn State Extension
  4. Buddleia ‘Miss Molly’ – Royal Horticultural Society
  5. Butterfly Bushes for Pollinators – University of Florida Extension

In conclusion, Buddleja ‘Miss Molly’ stands out as a charismatic and enchanting addition to garden landscapes, not only for its captivating blooms but also for its role in supporting pollinators and adding vibrant beauty to outdoor spaces. By understanding its culture, maintenance requirements, and ecological significance, gardeners can cherish the splendor of this remarkable plant and create inviting habitats for butterflies and other pollinators.

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.