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Where hosts of delicate butterflies swarm around lavish blossom candles, a butterfly bush adorns the summery garden. The popular ornamental tree is not only beautiful to look at and easy to care for, but also easy to propagate. These instructions explain in a practical way how to grow buddleia from a cutting.

The butterfly bush is easy to propagate from cuttings

Cutting and preparing cuttings - how to do it right

Since propagation by cuttings is so promising, it is practiced by gardeners and gardeners alike. The time window for this method is open in the middle of the flowering period, when life pulsates in the butterfly bush right up to the shoot tips. A day between the beginning of July and mid-August is ideal so that the cuttings can take advantage of the summer weather for rapid rooting. That is how it goes:

  • Take semi-lignified, non-flowering head cuttings that are 10 to 15 cm long
  • Start the cut a short distance below a leaf node
  • Remove all leaves from the bottom half
  • Halve the top 2 to 3 pairs of leaves to reduce evaporation

If you are growing young plants from a cutting, there is no need to invest in a rooting powder. The butterfly bush has a vital vigour, which makes such tools superfluous.

Potting and caring for cuttings - This is how the roots sprout

A seed tray with a transparent lid is perfect for stimulating offshoot growth. Alternatively, use 9 or 10 pots (€16.68) made of plastic, which have several openings in the bottom for water drainage. As a substrate, we recommend lean pricking soil, which you enrich with sand to a third. Coconut fiber substrate, perlite, or a mix of peat and sand are also good choices for growing cuttings in. How to proceed:

  • Lay a thin layer of expanded clay (19.73€) or grit on the bottom of the pot or seed tray as drainage
  • Fill in the growing substrate over it, leaving a pouring edge free
  • Pre-drill a planting hole for each offshoot with a pricking stick
  • Insert the cutting two-thirds into the soil and press it down lightly
  • Spray the substrate with water
  • Set up in a partially shaded, warm and wind-protected location

In the propagation box, the task of the lid is to create a warm, humid microclimate. You can do this with pots by putting a plastic bag over them. Two long matches prevent contact between the cap and the scion, which could result in rot. Until the cuttings come through, care is limited to regular watering and airing. Fertilizer is not applied at this stage.

With the growth of the first leaves, the cover can be removed. Once the cuttings have developed a stable root system, they are planted out in a bed or bucket.


Sowing seeds of a buddleia gives us unexpected results that are not always worth seeing. Among the multi-faceted varieties, there is of course an outstanding candidate with the change-leaved summer lilac (Buddleja alternifolia), whose seedlings thrive as a single variety and thus have the same wonderful attributes of the mother plant.

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