Butterfly Bush in Zone 4

What is the secret to growing the beautiful butterfly bush zone 4? You might be wondering if you can grow this evergreen plant in your area. Will a butterfly bush grow in Zone 4?

Putting in a butterfly bush, particularly the Buddleja davidii, in your yard or garden will prove to be a difficult challenge, but it can be done. Most types grow in USDA zones 5 through 9, although most prefer zones 7 or 8 to really be called an evergreen.

You can still opt in for a butterfly bush although you’ll need to do some extra work. Or, consider a hardier variety such as Buddleja Buzz species and the very durable Butterfly weed.

Does the Butterfly Bush Do Well in Zone 4?

butterfly bush zone 4

Zone 4 gardeners and plant enthusiasts should know off the bat that the butterfly bush is rated in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9.

By nature, butterfly bushes require a warm climate and won’t likely survive a zone 4 winter. This applies to most of the buddleja davidii variety- they will act as deciduous instead of evergreen when placed in such conditions, but they’ll still live.

But the truth is that you can still grow butterfly bushes in zone 4, although it might be easier to start with a different species. However, if you’re still determined to have it in your garden, there are growing and care tips that we’ll outline in the next section. Or, you can choose a hardier variety and one that’s suited to survive zone 4 winters (more on this later).

When to Plant Butterfly Bush Zone 4

butterfly bush zone 4

The best time to plant the butterfly bush in zone 4 is during early spring through fall. You’ll want to choose a location that gets full sun to get the most flowers when blooming time comes.

You can start as soon as the ground is pliable and warm. Space them about 12 feet apart from each other, and dig up a hole that’s double the size of the rootball. Disturb the thick roots, then settle them gently into the ground, then fill up the rest with soil and make sure to press firmly in order to prevent sinking and settling.

Butterfly bushes can tolerate a wide variety of soil types, but it should be well-draining. It leans more towards the moist side than dry, so you should water them well especially during summer and hot weather.

Butterfly bush won’t be evergreen in climates colder than zone 5. They will likely die back to the ground and possibly regrow later into spring or summer. The secret to having it thrive in zone 4 is to prepare well ahead of winter, as frost is its biggest enemy.

Weeks ahead of frost, it’s recommended that you apply a 6-inch layer of bark mulch around your butterfly bushes’ root system to keep it warm and protect against cold winds and freezing temperatures. Don’t be surprised to see the leaves and stems die back- with a bit of luck, it will spring right back once the cold season has passed.

How to Care for Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bushes grow vigorously and with little help from you. In fact, some states consider them to be an invasive species.

Aside from regular watering, you’ll want to deadhead the flowers as soon as they’re spent to keep them from spreading to other areas in your home. You’ll also want to trim and prune to encourage new stems and more flowers in the process. They aren’t particularly susceptible to pests as long as you keep them happy. They’re not too picky about fertilizers either, and are happy with the organic type application every now and then.

If you want a butterfly bush that’s more adapted to zone 4, then consider the Butterfly Weed. It has the same requirements, e.g., full sun and moist soil, and is far less invasive compared to buddleja davidii. It also produces beautiful, butterfly-loving flowers that are colored red, yellow and orange.

Buddleja buzz cultivars are similar to the butterfly weed in that they can grow in zone 4 regions. Regardless of species, you’ll want to put in the 6 inch mulch around the bush to keep them warm when winter comes.