Buddleja is a very common garden plant, which is attractive to butterflies - hence its common name butterfly bush. It is frequently seen as an established weed along roadsides and is found in virtually any habitat.


Buddleja is a vigorous primary coloniser of disturbed sites where it forms dense and extensive self-replacing thickets. It can thrive virtually anywhere and is able to tolerate poor soils, frost, shade and full sun. It usually forms a multi-stemmed bush and each branch can grow several centimeters a day. The bush can reach a height of 4 m in just two years. In ideal conditions, Buddleja will flower before it is a year old. Its fine seeds are distributed very widely by the wind.

Infestations along streamsides and riverbeds can alter water flow, causing silt accretion and flooding. Buddleja is also an important weed in exotic forest plantations where extensive infestations may impact upon timber yields.

Buddleja is a deciduous multi-stemmed shrub up to 4m tall. It has leaves that are willow shaped and finely toothed with a velvety surface. The flower head (up to 30cm long) is a distinctive dense cone shape with numerous small fragrant purple or white flowers that are orange inside. Flowering occurs from December through to March.

Management and control 

Pull or dig out small plants and mulch. Otherwise application of the herbicides Glyphosate or Tordon should provide suitable control.

Disclaimer: Mention of product tradenames does not endorse these products nor implies criticism of similar products not mentioned Although this fact sheet has been prepared in good faith we do not give any warranty that the information is accurate or complete or that it is suitable for all circumstances.

Use herbicides at application rates recommended by the manufacturer and wear protective clothing.

Control of a pest plant is not a one-off task. Follow up action must be regularly undertaken, including checking a cleared site for regrowth and seedling establishment. Cut stumps can resprout. 

View our factsheet on Buddleja.

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