Non-invasive Bushes For Butterflies
Q: I really want a butterfly bush but have read that they are invasive. What are your thoughts?
A: Just because it is called a butterfly bush does not mean it is the best or only choice for a butterfly garden. There are many other plants that are just as good or better and that you don’t have to worry about becoming invasive. Here are some great nectar plants: ironweed, butterfly weed, Joe-pye weed, creeping phlox, abelia, liatris, Mexican sunflower, coneflower, and single-flowered zinnias. Remember that if you want a successful butterfly garden, concentrate on larval host plants. They are the ones butterflies lay their eggs on and that the caterpillars eat. Most butterflies have specific needs and will only lay eggs on one type or family of plants. Adult butterflies will pass over a garden overflowing with flowers to get to one of their larval host plants. I know that other states have declared the butterfly bush, Buddleia davidii, to be invasive, but the Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council does not list it as being problematic at this time. I’ll take their word for it. I note that several new butterfly bush hybrids are described as sterile. An online search yields more than a dozen.