The Q&A Archives: Propagating Butterfly Bush

Question: Is there any way to start a new butterfly bush from one already established?

Answer: Butterfly bush is used for the common name of more than one type of plant, but I'm going to assume that you have some type of Buddleia. You can propagate it from softwood cuttings or seeds. Sow seeds outdoors. They make take 6-12 months to flower.

Let some flowers dry and ?go to seed.? As seeds begin to turn brown and fall off, hold a paper bag or container underneath and tap dry seeds into it. Or, tie paper bags over the flowerheads to catch falling seeds. Punch a few holes in the bag to provide circulation. Another way is to wait until about 10 percent of the seeds are brown and falling off. Then cut the entire flowerhead and stem, place it upside down in a paper bag, hang it in a cool, dry location and let the seeds separate on their own.

Collect seeds on dry, sunny days to avoid any excess moisture. If needed, dry seeds completely on sheets of newspaper for a week or so.

Softwood cuttings are of new growth that is not yet firm. They should be about two inches long, with two-three pairs of leaves at the top of the stem. Insert the cuttings into the planting medium, just up to the lowest leaves. Rooting hormone may be used, but is not essential. Good luck!

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