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The Truth About Butterflies and Buddleja vs. Native Plants

By clintbrown
December 8, 2013

I recently learned that some native plant promoters are claiming that gardeners should not grow Buddleja (Butterfly Bush) because it fools butterflies into thinking it is a host plant. They claimed that the butterflies would deposit their eggs on the Buddleja and the offspring would die because Buddleja is not a proper host plant. However, I researched this claim and found it to be 100% FALSE!

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Name: BrendaVR
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Dragonflies Butterflies Region: Canadian
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BrendaVR
Dec 15, 2013 12:11 PM CST
Edit: Sorry Clint did not read the other thread before posting. Quote from you in the other thread "There was a speaker that goes around "educating" people about native plants that said it. "
That's very sad that someone would do that. I certainly would hope they have some research paper to back them up before spreading info like that.

I certainly hope the misinformation gets bunked before it goes to far!
Thanks for debunking it! (before I even heard it in my area even;p )

Original comment:
That's an odd claim. I've never seen it claimed that butterflies would be 'tricked' to lay their eggs on butterfly bush. I don't know of any host plant that it is even remotely related to so why would a butterfly even try? They are very host specific.

Sad to see that people would fall for such an odd claim. Good to see it clarified.

There is some really odd misinformation generated out there. Where in the world do people come up with these things???!

My issue with it is that it takes up valuable space that could be given to more beneficial plants, like host plants, and that most varieties do produce copious amounts of seed and are invasive. So invasive they have been banned from many states. If you want nectar there are plenty of non invasive nectar plants out there, many that ALSO are host plants.

If you just must have a buddleja then at the very least get one of the 'sterile' plants (but even they produce around 2% viable seeds so you do still have to be responsible in where you plant and maintain.)
If we had no holes in our leaves we would have no butterflies!
[Last edited by BrendaVR - Dec 15, 2013 12:22 PM (+)]
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Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
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Chillybean
Jul 29, 2015 9:42 AM CST
I found this when searching for something else.

I agree with this statement:
My issue with it is that it takes up valuable space that could be given to more beneficial plants, like host plants, and that most varieties do produce copious amounts of seed and are invasive. So invasive they have been banned from many states. If you want nectar there are plenty of non invasive nectar plants out there, many that ALSO are host plants.

I read something recently that said NOT to plant Butterfly Bush, not because butterflies are fooled, but only because of that fact it was food for the adults and not a host plant. I have to admit, the Butterfly Bush is pretty, but I am not tempted to plant it. I've got plenty of Blazingstars, different Milkweeds, etc. I really like the Ironweed right now. That has got to be my favorite color!

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