Should you grow Buddleia in your garden?



July 13, 2022

Fun, colourful and large, the buddleia (or buddleja) is a beautiful masterpiece in any garden. The peppery smell of it alone can bring back sunny childhood memories. But, does this charming “butterfly bush” have a darker side?

Buddleia, Buddleja - Invasive Species

Buddleia is considered an invasive species! 

Choosing to have buddleia in your garden can cause problems with masonry and brickwork. In fact, the butterfly bush, as it's commonly known, is considered an invasive species in the UK.  However, it is not illegal to have it in your garden and you can buy a variety of buddleia in garden centres and nurseries nationwide. "Buddleja Daviddi" is very popular. 

Buddleia Gallery

Butterfly on buddleia
Butterfly bush also known as Buddleia, Buddleja
Beauty and the beast - butterfly bush

Here, we break down the reasons for and against having buddleia in your garden. 

Reasons for growing a butterfly bush

  • There are many reasons for having buddleia in your garden. 
  • Obviously, it looks and smells absolutely gorgeous!  
  • Plus, it is easy to grow for gardening novices, and thrives well in many conditions. 
  • Finally, and perhaps most crucially, buddleia is a key player in wildlife conservation. 

Not only does it offer essential nectar for its namesake – the butterfly – but also moths, bees and a myriad of other insects. So yes, buddleia is a pretty, pro-wildlife plant to have in your garden. But is this enough to outweigh the problems it can cause?

The negative effects of growing buddleia

Once you realise buddleia can cost you a small fortune in repairs, you may not think so fondly of it. It is no Japanese knotweed, but here are several reasons against having this invasive plant in your garden:

  • Buddleia can flower in ridiculous places. Think chimneys and even halfway up the wall of a building!  In reality, the wind and birds will carry its seed anywhere.
  • They can weaken most built structures, meaning their roots can penetrate the walls of houses and other buildings if given half the chance. With enough time, buddleia can damage the very structure and stability of your home, leading to expensive repairs.
  • Buddleia can “suffocate” smaller plants due to the fact that they can grow up to five metres tall. 
  • They spread easily; it doesn’t take long for buddleia to overwhelm a garden.
  • On a wider scale, buddleia wreaks havoc on our railway lines and waterways, causing blockages and leading to delays and flooding.

Learn more about the pretty - but pretty invasive - plant with our short buddleia guide.  For more specific advice and help about how to remove buddleia from your land, contact the TCM team who will be happy to share their expertise about this and other garden invaders!