What’s in Bobbie’s Garden?

We asked Bobbie Tracy, Frisella Nursery Landscape Designer and our resident butterfly and pollinator plant enthusiast, to share with us what’s growing well in her backyard. This week she is sharing the Butterfly Bush.

“Did you know there was a Butterfly Bush debate? According to Butterfly Gardener magazine, there are concerns about the butterfly bush (from China) being invasive as a non-native shrub. While butterfly bushes provide necatar for pollinators, should we have this non-native buttefly magnet in our garden? I went to Tom Mee, one of our plant experts, for the answer and this is what he said:


“Rest assured oh worried gardener. First, many of the plants sold at local nurseries are sterile and second, our Missouri environment does not allow butterfly bushes to propagate uncontrollably (you may have a couple of stray seedlings to pull if they do not freeze out.) Because of this, they are not very winter hardy. I nest mine in oak leaves to help protect them. I have a mix of varieties, traditional purple and some hot pink (Miss Molly). Oh, and deer have not touched them! At least not yet,” said Tom Mee. 


Keep in mind, while butterfly bushes ring the dinner bell for hungry pollinators like this fella I caught a picture of, it is not a host plant for butterfly caterpillars. So be sure to include caterpillar foodplants in your flower garden such as a variety of milkweed. There are also native shrub varieties that are caterpillar food plants that include Ninebark and Spicebush. Bring on the butterflies!!”

st. louis butterfly bush

If you would like to learn more about butterfly bushes, visit our online plantfinder, or stop in and speak with one of our plant specialists.

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