Beautiful Buddleias: Garden friend or foe?

September 20, 2021

Buddleias are beautiful, hardy shrubs yet so often we are asked to remove them from gardens. Which made me wonder, why do so many people hate them?

Researching this article threw up all sorts of articles talking about the ‘problem’ of buddleias calling them invasive, damaging to buildings, out of control and claiming that they look messy longer than they look good.

From our perspective, they are one of the most common plants clients ask us to remove from their gardens, unhappy that they dominate the space.  

Yes, they are incredibly resilient and grow happily in the poorest of conditions - you only need to look along railway lines to see that for yourself. In fact, I remember my nan saying they reminded her of the war as they would grow out of piles of rubble. Maybe that’s something that  resonates with others.

But does that justify their reputation?

The case for buddleias

Also known as the ‘Butterfly Bush’, one reason to love beautiful buddleias is that they really are such a wonderful plant for bees, moths and butterflies. If one of the things you love about gardening is to sit back and watch Mother Nature working her magic in your garden, buddleias will attract endless butterflies, moths and bees.

As already mentioned - buddleias are an incredibly hardy shrub happy to grow in even the most inhospitable of soils and not being particularly precious about how you look after them! They also come in a wide variety of colours -not just the lilac variety you may be most familiar with. 

Finally, as gardeners we love nothing more than filling our gardens with plants we’ve nurtured from seed or from a cutting and buddleias are really easy to take a cutting from. 

The potted picture below shows some cuttings I took from an overgrown garden. One is a vibrant yellow variety and one is a ‘Black Knight’ which will bloom in  a stunning dark purple colour . So save yourself a few pounds and take a cutting if you see a good one!

If you dream of a low cost, low maintenance garden, loved by pollinators and full of colour - choose a buddleia. In fact, our chief garden designer Claire, thinks all gardens should have one!

Managing buddleias

As easy as they are to grow, buddleias are equally easy to manage. If you’re concerned that they will look messy after flowering, keep deadheading them. This will remove the brown flowers and allow the plant to put its energy into producing more flowers. 


Like all shrubs, much of the size management will come from understanding what good pruning looks like. When it comes to pruning buddleias - don’t be afraid to prune hard in late spring. This will prevent them from becoming too unruly in your garden and help to keep them in a pleasing shape. 

Do you need a helping hand?

If you need help managing the shrubs in your garden and want to be confident your plants are in safe hands, get in touch with Claire today, simply call 023 8063 2600 or email