Are Butterfly Bushes Bad for Bees? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

If you have a butterfly bush around your garden or your yard, then you might wonder if these butterfly bushes are bad for bees and other pollinators around you.

Butterfly bushes are not bad for bees. Quite the contrary. These bushes are well liked by bees and other pollinators because they provide nectar for them and also helps them to mature and grow naturally.

This piece would talk about butterfly bushes, pollinators like bees, and the impact these butterfly bushes have on these pollinators like butterflies, including monarchs and swallowtails with bees too. Stick along and find out more.

What is a Butterfly Bush?

Are Butterfly Bushes Bad for Bees

Butterfly bushes are strong magnets for pollinators like butterflies, bees, and even hummingbirds.

These butterfly bushes have attractive flowers.

The issue with these butterfly bushes is that growing them has a lot of controversies with people worldwide.

It would be best to consider the drawbacks and benefits of growing your butterfly bush at home.

The following pollinators are some of the ones that love butterfly bushes

  • Bees
  • Butterflies
  • Hummingbirds

All you need to know about Butterfly Bushes and their effect on bees

According to the taxonomy of plants, butterfly bushes are known as Buddleia davidii.

Various gardeners enjoy these butterfly bushes because, as flowers, they last throughout the year.

Speaking botanically, these butterfly bushes, which are suitable for bees, are known to be shrubs.

There are several cultivars of butterfly bushes. These exact traits vary from various cultivars to the next.

Butterfly bushes need bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies to pollinate them. Without this, these plants would not grow to their original mature size.

Another reason why butterfly bushes are good for bees is that their bees help them mature and grow naturally.

These butterfly bushes grow to be around six to twelve feet tall.

They have a spread of around four to fifteen feet. Butterfly bushes that aren’t pollinated by bees end up having cultivars that stay smaller than the usual size and height.

Some blooms develop and grow using clusters of orange, red, white, pink, or even purple lax panicles.

There could be beautiful, attractive colors in the middle of the flowers in the butterfly bushes.

These are the reasons bees and other pollinators get attracted to these flowers.

The butterfly bushes bloom all through the summer if they get deadheaded. Some leaves are grayish-green and lance-shaped on their undersides. These grow fast with branches that arch.

A popular cultivar of these butterfly bushes includes Black Knight. It has intense purple blooms, which look very dark. You might mistake these flowers to be nothing but black flowers.

Which types of pollinators do butterfly bushes attract?

Butterfly bushes, because of their beauty, attracts pollinators like bees, monarchs, and swallowtail.

It also attracts beautiful little birds like hummingbirds.

These pollinators come on, pollinate the butterfly bushes plants, and several other plants around. Butterfly bushes are resistant to deer and rabbits.

Why should you plant a butterfly bush?

You could try selecting a butterfly bush because of how beautiful they are and because of the beautiful array of colors in the flowers.

If you do this, your garden will end up becoming an equivalent of an eatery botanically where various nectar transporting insects like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds would come and pollinate your butterfly bushes and other shrubs around.

Pollinators like bees would do their usual job of keeping these butterfly bushes pollinated because the butterfly bushes have a lot of nectar which these bees enjoy.

Getting help from hummingbirds and butterflies would end up being a successful job cause all these pollinators would be working hand in hand with one another.

What is the relationship between the color of butterfly bushes and bees?

The eyes of bees can only detect colors like green and blue. Bees can also see ultraviolet light.

Whenever bees see red flowers from butterfly bushes, they look like green leaves.

These red flowers attract bees which have ultraviolet markings on their petals and their centers.

Just like light along the landing strips of airfields, these markings cannot be seen by the average human eye, but they end up guiding the bee to the nectar or pollen of the plants of your butterfly bushes.

These are why butterfly bushes usually attract bees that have blue, violet, or purple flowers.

The next type of plants that attracts bees are those which have orange or yellow blooming flowers.

Bees are incredibly attracted to beautiful colors provided by the plants of these butterfly bushes.

The plants of butterfly bushes bloom in various colors that are loved by any garden palette.

Non-invasive and petite Blue Chip (a type of butterfly bush plant) has flowers that scents like vanilla and are blue-lavender.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on can bees be kept in a residential area

Which type of Butterfly Bushes plants should you get if you want them to attract bees?

If you want to attract bees to your butterfly bushes, you should try getting the Honeycomb Butterfly Bush Plant (Buddleia x weyeriana “Honeycomb”).

Honeycomb has a twelve-foot shrub that has spheres of orange-eyed, yellow buttered flowers.

You could also get the Bicolor butterfly bush plant (Buddleia “Bicolor”).

This has six to eight-foot shrubs. It also has yellow-peachy raspberry-lavender flowers, which would hurriedly attract bees for pollination.

Apart from some drawbacks, many people feel differently whenever they want to have a butterfly garden.

One of the first plants they want to get is those that could gather and become butterfly bushes.

These butterfly bushes are loved by several pollinators, including bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

If you want to grow an excellent butterfly bush, you should try planting Buddleia davidii.

You’ll get very long branches that arch to about eight feet or more.

Are your butterfly bushes harmful to bees and other pollinators?

Though these butterfly bushes aren’t edible, they are just as toxic as any other plant in the garden. They do not harm any pollinators.

On the contrary, pollinators love butterfly bushes. These butterfly bushes are safe to plant at places where kids, cats, dogs, and other animals stay.

Bees are in love with butterfly bushes because they offer high amounts of nectar.

There these butterfly bushes end up becoming highly attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies.

The butterfly bushes distract these pollinators from several other flowering species. If you want to have a butterfly garden, butterfly bushes are the best things to grow.

Yes, these butterfly bushes have a fast growth rate speed. The butterfly bushes reach a height of around six to ten feet tall in a single or double growing season.

The wand or cone-shaped flower head grows from five to twelve inches long, and then it blooms from summer all through fall.

Needing the aid of bees and other pollinators is essential. Without these pollinators, butterfly bushes wouldn’t mature fully.

Are there any Negative Impacts of Butterfly Bushes on Bees?

The only negative impact of butterfly bushes on bees is that it only benefits bees at a single stage of their life cycle.

After butterfly bushes attract bees by owning many nectar and pollen, these bees need plants to lay their eggs and for the new eggs to feed on.

The eggs of bees and caterpillars from butterflies cannot survive after consuming the leaves of butterfly bushes.

We think that’s around the only negative impact these butterfly bushes have on bees and other pollinators.

If these butterfly bushes were typical garden plans, you wouldn’t need to stress this negative impact.

Because of the high rate of reproductive success and speed of dispersal, butterfly bushes quickly replace all other native shrubs around the garden.

Butterfly bushes grow at places where these native plants would have grown.

 And these native plants are essential for the growth of caterpillars. In the absence of caterpillars, there wouldn’t be butterflies.

In the absence of eggs, there wouldn’t be bees. In the absence of caterpillars, hummingbirds wouldn’t survive.

That’s why there’s a need for both normal shrubs and butterfly bushes to be available in your yard or garden.


Butterfly bushes are not bad for bees. These butterfly bushes are great for bees as a result of the copious nectar available.

The only issue includes the fact that the eggs of bees or caterpillars cannot eat butterfly bushes, plants, and leaves.

To solve this problem, you should have some natural plants or shrubs around your garden.

So caterpillars and bees’ eggs would have what to feed on to grow to become bees and butterflies that would help the pollination of your beautiful butterfly bush plants.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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