Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) is a tough, vigorously growing shrub that thrives in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 11.
You may also hear this plant referred to as Summer Lilac, but it produces masses of beautiful cone-shaped clusters of flowers in shades of white, pink, and purple.
This pretty bush blooms all summer long and into autumn, and as the name implies, it is extremely attractive to butterflies.
Because of this, most plants that would be considered good butterfly or pollinator garden additions would be good companion plants for the Butterfly Bush as long as they can thrive in your climate.
However, remember that you should take care when choosing plants for your butterfly garden.
Many plants that pollinators love, including the Butterfly Bush, are considered invasive in some states.
Check with your local Agricultural Extension Office for advice on choosing non-invasive plants for your landscape.
Top 9 Companion Plants For Butterfly Bush
Here are the top 9 butterfly bush companion plants:
Heliotrope (Heliotropium) is commonly called White Queen or Cherry Pie.
With its dark purple blooms, this compact bush makes a beautiful companion for Butterfly Bush.
It is an excellent choice surrounding a porch, patio, or other sitting areas because its flowers emit a rich vanilla scent.
Heliotrope loves hot weather, so it is an excellent choice in the southern United States.
Lantana (Lantana selections) is a low-growing shrub or groundcover that produces masses of tiny blooms in lavender, yellow, orange, cream, red and pink throughout the growing season.
Lantana is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9 and above and can be grown as an annual in cooler climates.
Lantana is a hardy plant that likes bright sun and well-draining soil.
Verbena (Verbena Bonariensis)
Verbena (Verbena bonariensis) is a South American perennial that does well in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 10.
It has a tall, slim growth habit, standing 6′ feet high with a spread of about 2′ feet.
Verbena produces pretty bunches of tiny purple blooms from mid-summer through the autumn months. Deadhead frequently encourages abundant blooming.
Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia)
Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia) can grow up to 6′ feet high. It produces beautiful, bright orange blooms all summer long.
Like Butterfly Bush, it loves bright sun, hot temperatures, and well-draining soil. Its orange flowers make a beautiful contrast to Butterfly Bushes’ lilac blooms.
Be careful, though. This plant can also become invasive when it is just right.
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum Majus)
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) produces pretty, edible yellow, orange, or red blooms throughout the warm summer.
Its rambling growth habit makes it a nice choice as a ground cover or dangling addition to a planter or hanging basket.
The blooms attract butterflies, and the leaves make good food for caterpillars (and they can be added to salads!)
In conducive climates, Nasturtiums will reseed themselves and return year after year.
In freezing temperatures, you can just plant the large seeds directly into your garden and grow them as annuals.
Aster (Aster selections) come in many varieties, all producing daisy-like flowers in various sizes and colors.
Spring, summer, and fall asters are typically dainty in shades of white, pink, lavender, blue, purple, and sometimes red.
These perennial plants are often native and will return year after year with little or no help from you.
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) is another daisy-like perennial that looks lovely alongside Butterfly Bush.
This tall, hardy perennial is winter hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9.
Its large, attractive flowers are a dusty shade of purplish pink with deep, maroon/brown cone-shaped centers.
The blooms are attractive to butterflies and pollinators, good for use in floral arrangements, and have herbal value as tea.
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) produces daisy-like flowers in bright yellow with deep brown or black centers in the late summer and into the autumn months.
This perennial can grow about 6′ feet high and thrives in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9. This is a great choice for hot, dry climates.
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias Tuberosa)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is commonly called Milkweed. This plant has wide varieties; its height, spread, and blooms also vary.
Look for varieties of Milkweed that are native to your area. All will grow well under the same conditions as Butterfly Bush.
Talk with your local Agricultural Extension Office to choose types that will do well in your area and appeal to your local butterflies.
Get Creative With Butterfly Bush Companions
It is worth noting that many people consider the Butterfly Bush a great companion plant for many other types of plants.
Conversely, this can mean that roses are a good companion for Butterfly Bush, and take note of the nasturtiums and marigolds growing in the background.
More great companions!
Annuals Make Excellent Butterfly Bush Companions
If you like to change the appearance of your garden from one year to the next, choose from a wide variety of pretty annuals that will do well in bright sun with well-draining soil.
Examples include garden classics such as
- Sweet peas
- Sunflowers and many more
Your Butterfly Bush Will Bring Pollinators To Your Herb Garden
Remember that most herbs also like the same conditions that help Butterfly Bush thrive.
Salvia or sage is an excellent example of an herb that pairs beautifully with Butterfly Bush.
This member of the mint family is extremely easy to grow and comes in many varieties sporting pretty blooms in shades of orange, red, and pink. It’s attractive to butterflies, pleasing to the eye, and useful in the kitchen.
Create Butterfly Bush & Companion Plantings In Containers
Even if you are working with a small amount of sunny space on your porch, deck, or balcony, you can plant a dwarf Butterfly Bush variety and surround it with small, easy annuals, such as nasturtiums and marigolds.
Then, replace these with winter asters in the autumn, and bring the whole container indoors for the winter.
When choosing companions for your Butterfly Bush, pay close attention to the colors you combine.
Choose bright, contrasting colors to attract even more butterflies.
For example, combinations of red and purple combined with bright yellow or orange seem eye-catching to pollinators.
Many Ways Of Butterfly Bush In Your Yard And Garden
Mix Butterfly Bush into your hedge to add autumn interest to borders consisting of shrubs such as:
- Smoke Bush
Grow tall Butterfly Bush varieties in the back of your flowering border. They will make a lovely backdrop to other butterfly favorites such as Milkweed and Echinacea.
Butterfly Bush is an excellent backdrop for your flower, herb, or vegetable garden.
No matter where you put it, it will attract butterflies and other pollinators to delight you and help you create a thriving environment.
If you plant it around sitting areas, under windows, or near your doors, you can enjoy the scent of its lovely flowers throughout the summer months and into the autumn.
If you live in a desert setting or have a rock garden, plant a single Butterfly Bush as a colorful focal point among succulents and cacti.
Wildflowers that are native to your area are quite likely to be good Butterfly Bush companions, as well.
The bottom line is that any plant that likes heat, sun, and well-draining or even sharply draining soil will make an excellent Butterfly Bush companion plant.