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kelli_nigh

Has anyone successfully wintersown butterfly bush (buddleja davidii)?

Kelli Nigh
5 years ago

I am in zone 5b and have been unsuccessful wsowing butterfly bush seeds.

Hoping to improve seed viability, I waited later in the season (Nov) to harvest the seed. Today, I sowed the seeds on the surface of the soil, and pressed them down. They are now in their container out in the winter storm. Would love to know other gardeners' experience-


Comments (5)

  • northerner_on
    5 years ago

    I successfully winter sowed Buddliea in 2010. There were two plants which grew to over six feet tall, flowered beautifully, but died after about 3 years. I am in Zone 5A (Canada) and I think they were planted in an area which was too wet. I decided to try again and got seeds from my neighbour who has two varieties, and I sowed my seeds just last week. I pressed the seeds in the mix, then covered them with just a dusting of mix, which I moistened with a spray bottle. November is a good time to harvest the seed. If you use a magnifying glass, you can see when the seed pods are opening and collect them then. I found they attracted black swallow tail butterflies.


  • northerner_on
    4 years ago

    This is an update to my post in February, after I sowed my seeds using the winter-sowing method. I had excellent results. Out of the many seedlings I saved two pots of two, which I grew on through the summer. Although they were still quite small, two flowered in the little four-inch pots. I transplanted them to their homes in October, and since we are having very warm temperatures, they are showing signs of growing shoots. I am looking forward to their blooms, and hope they do attract butterflies. I sow many flowers for butterflies and I had NONE this year...just the little cabbage whites. We really need to become serious about saving the planet.

  • greylady_gardener
    2 years ago

    Northerner how are your butterfly bushes doing? I have never intentionally sown buddleia seeds but have had them self sow a couple of times

  • northerner_on
    2 years ago

    Hi Greylady_gardener: So nice to hear from you after all these years! I am sure I am still growing plants in my garden derived from seed exchanges with you. My butterfly bushes bloomed beautifully the first year, but did not survive the second winter. I tried again but I believe the seed was no longer viable and the original bush from which I had collected seed (a neighbour's) also died that year. I was surprised because that was a large shrub - over 6 feet tall. Perhaps they are just borderline hardy here in Ottawa. The good news, though, is that the butterflies were back last summer. Monarchs, painted ladies, and cabbage whites, and I hope this year I will have some swallowtails.

  • greylady_gardener
    2 years ago

    Hello Northerner, it has been a while! I guess we both have some of each other's plants! :). I am able to grow butterfly bush as I am in a warmer zone than you... have five in my gardens...one of them is a volunteer that grew a couple of years ago. This year will be year three for that one. I do have them because of the butterflies. I also have some different kinds of milkweed in hope that monarchs will lay their eggs on them but although I am seeing some monarchs I haven't noticed any caterpillars.not sure that I saw any swallowtails last year... normally attracted to my lilacs. Will keep an eye out for them this year.

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