The Butterfly Bush Attracts Butterflies, but…

Red Admiral Butterfly

Painted Lady Butterfly

Question Mark Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

Black Swallowtail

Sulfur Butterfly

Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly

The purple butterfly bush in our backyard has only been flowering for a few weeks, yet it has already attracted quite a variety of butterflies. Although I haven’t been able to get a photograph of them all, I was able to snap some shots of the painted lady, red admiral, question mark, yellow swallowtail, sulfur, black swallowtail and monarch butterflies. It’s amazing how many butterflies find their way to the same plant.

Not being a gardener myself, I was surprised to read recently that the butterfly bush has a bad reputation. Despite doing a great job attracting butterflies, it is considered an invasive plant in much of the United States. In fact, the USDA Forest Service classifies the butterfly bush as a weed! The Ecosystem Gardening website is a good source of information on this topic.

So what should you do if you want to see butterflies to your backyard? Choosing native plants that attract butterflies is the recommended alternative to planting a butterfly bush.

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14 responses to “The Butterfly Bush Attracts Butterflies, but…

  1. Invasive bush or not the butterflies seem enthralled. Thanks for the great pictures.

  2. Nice shots! Yes, we have a Butterfly bush too, and it does attract Butterflies fairly well.

  3. Nina Whitehurst

    Great shots! I love our butterfly “weed”.

  4. Beautiful butterfly shots!

  5. I was surprised about that when I started gardening several years ago and planting native..I still have one, but I have planted milkweed and this is the second year I am raising monarchs..one egg hatched last night…Michelle

  6. Yes, it’s hard to think of this as a “weed” when it’s barely hardy for me in my zone and we have to specially coach gardeners in ways to overwinter it here. Mabe as the climate changes a bit more it will become a problem. I’ve got 3 kinds of aesclepias–the true “butterfly weed”–and the bees go crazy for that but I haven’t seen too many monarchs favoring it yet. But I don’t import them–I just let nature do its thing.

    Fabulous photos! I really enjoyed this post!

  7. It’s not considered invasive in all parts of the country. In my area, Southern California, I was told that it wasn’t. Regardless, the butterflies love it, and I’m planting it!

  8. I agree with many of the about, weed or not it looks pretty to me. A weed is simply an uncultivated flower in my book.

  9. It’s a beautiful weed though, I have to admit I have one in with my native flowers.

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