Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii)

Butterfly Bush

Buddleja davidii


  • Can grow up to 5 m tall with very long, opposite, green-silver leaves
  • Showy long, spiked, light-dark purple bunches of tiny flowers
  • The center of each tiny flower is typically bright orange
  • Young stems appear green but with maturity will develop into a grey-brown
  • Establish in sunny, well-drained sites

Introduction and spread

  • Native to central China
  • It is a popular ornamental flower that gardeners have planted, and now it has jumped the garden fence.
  • Excels at seed production and dispersal. A single flower spike can produce over 40,000 seeds
  • Seeds can remain viable for up to 5 years in soil
  • Cut stems can sprout again
  • Very invasive on the West Coast
    Photo Credit: ThurstonCo

Consequences of invasion

  • Outcompetes native shrubs and plants, which are essential food sources for caterpillars.
  • Can clog river systems.
  • May alter soil nutrients

Status in the CKISS region

  • There is currently insufficient information about butterfly bush in the CKISS region to assign it a management category on the CKISS Annual Priority List.

  • There is insufficient information for this species on its distribution, impacts, potential for spread, and/or feasibility of control.
  • CKISS plans on carrying out inventory as required, monitoring known locations, and/or finding out more information from other regions.
  • To learn more about how CKISS classifies and manages invasive species, see our Invasive Species Priority Lists page.

Integrated pest management options



  • Seeds and roots can be manually removed. Make sure to extract all the stump and roots, minimize soil disturbance, and prevent seed spread.
  • Areas around the removal site should be planted with a native ground cover to prevent future seedling germination


  • No biocontrol currently available in BC.


  • It may be an option and is best after cutting the trunk off at the base. Contact a professional to see if it’s right for your area.


  • Goats can be a helpful control method as they will graze on butterfly bush, however they will not completely kill the plant.


Additional resources