3 Native Flowering Shrubs to Replace Butterfly Bush

Jun 9, 2015 | Blog

3 Native Flowering Shrubs to Replace Butterfly Bush

Jump to our list of 3 Native Flowering Shrubs to Replace Butterfly Bush.

You’ve probably heard by now that butterfly bush is junk food for butterflies. Butterfly bush or Buddleja davidii may look beautiful in your yard and it’s nectar will attract adult butterflies but it won’t create a sustainable habitat for butterflies or other species in your yard. The shrub is actually considered to be invasive, meaning it competes with the native plants in the area and will continue to spread and be harmful to the local eco-system. It is important that we keep plant diversity in our yards so they can support more than just one species. Not only is butterfly bush harmful for the eco-system but it’s also an ineffective host plant for butterflies despite the name. A good host plant will support the entire life-cycle of a species and the butterfly bush only supports the adult stage for butterflies. With no acceptable habitat for butterfly reproduction or leaves for their offspring to feed on, don’t expect to see a thriving butterfly community with only butterfly bush in your yard. To achieve a thriving butterfly community in your yard it is important to include plants that produce nectar and attract adult butterflies as well as and plants that are larval hosts for their offspring.

The good news is that there are plenty of replacements for butterfly bush and below you can find 3 of our favorites and as always they’re native!

Here are 3 of our favorite native plant replacements for butterfly bush.

1. Clethra alnifolia Sweet Pepperbush

This beautiful shrub has fragrant white or pink flower spikes in the late summer and will  grow in sun, part shade and shade as well as with clay soil. The plant will attract butterflies as well as birds including hummingbirds! 


Clethra alnifolia

 2. Cephalanthus occidentalis Buttonbush

This shrub can grow from 6-12ft tall and has white or pale-pink blooms that can last from June to September.  Buttonbush is deer resistant, a good nectar source and will attract birds, bees and butterflies to your yard.

attract butterflies, native plants

Cephalanthus occidentalis

3. Ceanothus americanus New Jersey tea

New Jersey tea is a deciduous shrub that has white flowers which bloom in March and April. The flowers not only attract butterflies but the shrub is also an effective larval host plant as well. It’s thick roots make it able to withstand drought conditions but hard to transplant.

attract butterflies, native plants

Ceanothus americanus

We hope this post was helpful and wish you good luck with your gardening! Look out for more posts from us coming soon.



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