I received an interesting comment on my post about Invasive Species Awareness week. Wanda said:
I can’t belive butterfly bush is on that list. I’ve just sent that web site to all my garden club members!!! I have a purple and white butterfly bush at my house in NC and I just love to watch the butterflies have a feast every summer.
Yes, Butterfly Bush (Buddleia spp) is an invasive plant. Oregon has even banned the sale of this plant. I’ve seen it in action myself as it is blocking out fragile dune vegetation on the beaches in Cape May, NJ. I’ve also seen it taking over an entire streambank for miles along a stream in the Poconos of Pennsylvania.
Now, I know that this may seem like some confusing information because almost every book and magazine article you may find recommends planting Butterfly Bush to attract butterflies to your wildlife garden.
Why do they recommend this plant?
Well the butterflies do like to nectar at this plant, that’s true. But responsible wildlife gardeners also need to look at the consequences of our decisions in our gardens on the surrounding ecosystems.
In order to prevent Butterfly Bush from escaping out of your garden and into the nearby natural areas, you really need to dead head every bloom, and never let it go to seed. This can be almost a full time job because as you’ve probably noticed, this plant has TONS of flowers.
Trying to keep up with this one garden chore is the whole reason I have removed all of the Butterfly Bushes from my gardens and replaced it with native plants that provide lots of nectar to attract butterflies, but that also support other wildlife and do no harm to the natural ecosystems around my home.
Where is Butterfly Bush invasive you ask? Check out this map. It’s considered invasive in each of the green shaded states. If you’re not in one of these states, I’d still exercise a huge amount of caution, because it may be only a matter of time.
Rosemary at Toronto Gardens has written a wonderful piece about native alternatives to the invasive Butterfly Bush.
I certainly don’t want to be responsible in any way for contributing to any more damage to the environment. How about you?