Butterfly Bush Alternative

Asked April 8, 2020, 3:21 PM EDT

A butterfly bush started growing in front of my gate so I moved it to the corner of my yard and it looks wonderful there. I found out that its invasive. What can I replace it with for my shade and space? I like my tranquil corner of flowering plants. I will replace it for any plant that is native to Oregon, attracts bees, butterflies, and/or birds (Humming Birds). Where can I get information for native and medicinal plants? I'm a senior citizen living on retirement so I can't afford to go out and spend a lot of money on another nice looking plant. Thank you.

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Butterfly bush (Buddleja sp) is a beautiful, colorful garden plant. It's unfortunate that it can become invasive. The Oregon Dept of Agriculture has released a list of approved cultivars which are sterile, so cannot reproduce and become invasive. This article has that list, Butterfly bush Approved Cultivars https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/NurseryChristmasTree/Pages/ButterflyBush.aspx. Nurseries and garden centers have the seedless butterfly bushes available. Since you really like the butterfly bush in your landscape (and I agree it looks great) maybe you should consider replacing it with a seedless butterfly bush. You can get small plants for less money, and it can be rewarding to see it grow up. Plants often establish better as younger plants, you just need a little patience.

If you decide to replace your butterfly bush there are several choices native to our area that attract bees, and butterflies. Ceanothus shrubs https://today.oregonstate.edu/news/drought-tolerant-ceanothus-makes-beautiful-addition-garden are beautiful with blue or white honey scented blossoms. They're very drought tolerant and easy to manage. Red-flowering current https://landscapeplants.oregonstate.edu/plants/ribes-sanguineum is a lovely, spring-flowering small tree. It blooms in April. You could also plant a native crabapple http://nativeplantspnw.com/pacific-crabapple-malus-fusca/ with spring blossoms, followed by fruit loved by birds. Vine maple trees https://landscapeplants.oregonstate.edu/plants/acer-circinatumaren't as spectacular blooming, but are small trees with a nice shape and beautiful autumn color.

Non-native possibilities that still attract bees, butterflies and other wildlife include: Glossy Abelia https://landscapeplants.oregonstate.edu/plants/abelia-grandiflora forms fragrant, bell-shaped flowers in summer through fall. It is easy to care for and has a fountain way of growing, with canes growing up from a crown base.