My butterfly bush is not flowering.


I've had it for 3 years and every year was a little bit downhill from the previous one. Last fall, I gave it some compost and some new shoots emerged but no flowers.

I am located in Northern Virginia so it's the blooming season now. It's getting at least 2 hours of sunlight and I was hoping that the taller it gets the more sunlight it will get. The leaves seem twisted on top. What am I doing wrong?

  • I agree this is probably a light issue. Is there a way you could clear out some of the nearby vegetation? Like the virginia creeper on the fence? This will cause a little more light availability. Also, a picture of the entire plant with a little 'context' would be helpful, if you wouldn't mind. Thanks! – J. Musser Jun 29 '14 at 2:32

Yup, 2 hours of light is not enough for Buddelia. It is still small enough that I would start a trench around the drip-line. In this way you can get the bush to grow its roots within the ball and by this fall/winter, you'll be able to move it where it gets enough sunlight to flower. Its leaves are wider than normal, showing it needs more light. Is there a way to thin the tree above it to allow more light?

Also, have you been fertilizing, was the compost completely decomposed? Plants in shade require much less fertilizer, especially nitrogen. Being in the shade plus too much nitrogen would be a double whammy towards flowering. Nitrogen promotes vegetative growth (leaves), not reproductive growth (flowers).

And it is pretty common for aphids, for instance, to visit new growth in the garden to suck juices through tender, thin skin of the lamina. The physical damage and/or the bacteria the aphid has injected into the leaf while eating will cause distortion. But this is just aesthetic, very normal. You don't want insects getting out of control, it's good to be vigilant. If you see aphids, just spray with soap and water, or use Neem (use at night to avoid bees and beneficials). Don't forget to spray beneath the leaves.

  • 1
    +1 for light. But I think this bush is small enough that I would't worry about a trench. – J. Musser Jun 29 '14 at 1:31
  • 1
    Since this is probably their first plant to move it would be nice to ensure the plant makes it by taking the time to make a little trench to make more roots in the root ball. It's been growing roots for 3 years... – stormy Jun 29 '14 at 18:01

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